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10 ATV/UTV Tire Tips

Updated: 05/07/2014 @ 3:20pm

ATVs and UTVs are progressively important tools on the farm. As their popularity increases, so does the number of accessories and potential uses for these versatile machines. To get the most out of an ATV or UTV in different applications, you need to select the proper tires. 

These 10 pointers will help you find the right tires for your farm.

1. Know the intended use. “The main thing when selecting a tire is to fully understand what your intended use of the vehicle is going to be,” advises Joe Greving, co-owner of Cedar Rapids Tire in eastern Iowa. “Then match that intended usage to the type of tire.”

Consider the different environments and seasons when you use your equipment. Do you mainly run during winter in snow? Do you use your UTV on rugged, rocky terrain? Do you splash through a lot of muddy trails? Do you take your machine out in a variety of conditions?

2. Select the correct type of tire. There are four main types of ATV and UTV tires:

  • All-terrain or trail
  • Snow or mud
  • Racing
  • Sand

If you are the thrill-chasing type and use your machine on some recreational trails or dunes, you may want to check out the racing and sand tires. However, for most purposes on the farm, you’ll want to focus on the first two types.

All-terrain tires do just what the name implies – they perform well in a variety of conditions. These are most commonly chosen; they have better vertical and lateral stability than other options. However, these will not perform as well in mud or snow. 

Mud and snow tires usually have deeper lugs that are spaced farther apart, which gives them better traction in slippery conditions. While mud and snow tires are great for their intended uses, they will not perform as well on turf or hard surfaces.

3. Look at the construction. Like most types of tires, ATV and UTV tires have two categories of construction: bias and radial. 

Bias tires perform well on steep inclines and rough terrain, while radial tires provide a smoother ride on paved or flat roads.

Radial tires are more difficult and expensive to repair than bias tires, but they will also last longer when maintained and properly used.

4. Pick your ply. The ply rating on tires will help you determine the puncture resistance and load-carrying capacity of tires. Most machines come with a ply rating of four, although some UTVs are now coming standard with a six-ply tire. 

“Unless you are going to be using the vehicle where there are thorns, cactus, or large sticks and you need to worry about puncture resistance, the four-ply tire will be just fine,” explains Greving. “If you are going to travel in the mountains or somewhere with rough terrain, you need an eight-ply rated tire that has greater puncture resistance.”

In general, the higher the ply rating, the tougher the tire.

5. Match the load-carrying capacity. Know the maximum load-carrying capacity for your machine. If you don’t know, consult your owner’s manual, look online, or ask your dealer. Then, match this to the tire capacity. 

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