Mud tires for ATV’s are big business and fortunately for us, blackwater cowboys, ATV tire manufactures over the last few years have been developing tires that are 100% geared for swamp conditions.
ATV mud tires made it onto our Top 10 ATV Mudding Accessories feature and it’s no surprise because…if you don’t have the right tires you’re wasting your time.
So what makes a good mud tire for your 4×4 quad? We’ll start with the construction of the tire. While I’m a big advocate for 8 ply tires, 6 ply tires are actually better for extreme mud conditions. 8ply tires are extra thick and are best suited for rocky conditions. When the mud starts to cake up on the treads of an 8 ply tire they become too heavy. This will cause extra stress on steering components and the axles causing them to wear prematurely. 6 ply tires will offer plenty of puncture resistance and are easier for the quad to spin when it’s knee deep in sticky mud.
Recently tire manufactures have been designing tires so that the tread continues down the sidewall of the tire. This is a new feature that will become a staple on all extreme style ATV mud tires. It’s a great element that will help the quad get traction when its high sided in a deeply rutted trail.
Be aware, if you’ve never had a set of true mud tires, they’re not meant to ride smooth on hard pact surfaces. While some tread designs give the tire a little more forgiveness, most ride similar to a tractor tire. You can feel each tread make contact with the surface. Newer high end model 4×4 ATV’s such as Can Am Outlander, Polaris Sportsman XP, Yamaha Grizzly 700, Suzuki King Quad, Arctic Cat 700 and the Kawasaki Brute Force 750 offer better quality independent suspensions and steering components that help combat the vibrations & strenuous handling characteristics of these tires.
If you want to install larger mud tires without having to add a lift kit, we recommend only going 1 inch larger in height and width from the stock tire size. If the ATV is stock with 25x8x12 on the fronts and 25x10x12 on the rears you could install 26x9x12 fronts & 26x11x12 rears. That will increase the height and width by 1inch giving the ATV a more aggressive look while increasing ground clearance and footprint for added performance. Some quads are able to fit tires 2 or 3 sizes larger than stock. If 1inch bigger isn’t enough, check your machine’s clearance. You can do this by turning the tires all the way one way or the other and check the clearance you have from tie rods, shocks and any other components that might rub the larger tires. Normally, any ATV mud tire bigger than 28 inches will need to be installed with a lift kit.