Most of the time, when you buy a new UTV, it comes with tires meant for all-terrain or general-purpose use.
Such tire types are better equipped for handling different kinds of terrain and obstacles, which are not aggressive.
For instance, for the 1000cc sports models, most of them, when bought, sport the all-terrain or general-purpose tire. I am talking about the likes of Can-Am Maverick and Polaris RZR XP 1000.
In contrast, some UTV comes with tires only useful for a particular terrain type. Such as the UTV model Can-Am Maverick X-mr has deep lugged tires, and together with other particular components, it is capable of plowing through muddy bogs.
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Why Choose the Right Type of UTV Tire
The general-purpose UTV tire has the capability of allowing you to have lots of fun driving and cover a lot of ground.
However, if you happen to take plenty of time driving on a particular terrain type, then it is only right that you use specifically designed tires.
Using the wrong tire for a terrain can:
• Slow you down
• Cause excessive wear and tear of the UTV
• Accelerate tread wear
• Lead to tread and or tire damage
• Make you spend a lot of time trying to get your UTV out of messy situations.
• Pose danger to your health.
For achieving the most fun driving experience, it is strongly recommended you only use side-by-side UTV tires appropriately suitable for the terrain type mostly used.
Consequently, below are the main different tire types for UTV.
The tires are great for those who ride on different terrain types regularly.
For getting a great all-terrain tire, better than the one a new UTV comes with, you will need to do some shopping.
General-purpose tires feature a typically aggressive design with its thick, rugged lugs, even though mud tires benefit from a more aggressive look.
The lugs are spaced apart, essential for providing a better grip, mainly when dealing with rocks and logs.
The spacing of the lugs is also beneficial in providing traction in different terrains like snow and self-cleaning against rocks and sticks.
As well, the general-purpose tire makes use of sturdy sidewalls to resist potential puncture from rocks and sticks.
Some examples of all-terrain UTV tires, they include the Maxxis Bighorn, TM-440, 350 Super Mag, and Pro Terrain.
• Can handle being driven in terrains an average user uses.
• The tire type is universal, meaning you can choose from a vast selection of brands.
• Not the best tire for the most aggressive terrains like mud and snow.
• Some people may find them a bit noisy when used on dirt roads.
If you spend most of your driving time on muddy, sloppy, and wet terrain, then mud tires are the best fit for your UTV.
Mud tires have aggressive tread patterns, with large, wide-spaced lugs. The result of such a design is better gripping, enabling plowing through any tricky and muddy situation. As the tire rotates, the soft mud can easily slip right out.
The mud tires also implement the directional design useful in delivering superior wet traction and efficient self-cleaning.
With the self-cleaning design, as the tires rotate, the gravel, mud, or dirt under action is quickly cleared to provide a new grip surface.
Some examples of UTV mud tires include the Ocelot P341, Big Foot, Sedona Mudda Inlaw and Maxxis Zilla.
• It provides superior wet traction.
• Not great for hard terrains driving not only because of the loud and rough ride but also the UTV may be difficult to handle, and tires may suffer from damage.
UTV sand tires, just like mud tires, come with pronounced paddles, giving them a distinct look. The uniquely shaped tread design is excellent as it is effective in “scooping” the sand on the terrain when driving.
And it is not only the tread pattern that makes sand tires unique. As well, they specifically involve the use of a rear tread style, which is entirely different from the front tires.
The design style of the sand rear tires is broader and lighter weight for producing the ability to literally “float” on the sandy terrain. You will not get stuck when driving across the sand.
Also known as paddle tires, sand tires have deep treads or large scoops, which deliver the right level of traction and control.
The paddles operate like rotating shovels, making it possible for the tire digging into the sand and, as a result, propel your UTV forward.
Moreover, because all the traction emanates from the paddles, between them is bare, helpful in keeping the weight down.
For the front sand tires, usually, there is different styles implementation such as:
a. Ribbed with particles– The design is useful in making the UTV front carve into turns and hence, gives you more control and better front end feel. Nonetheless, the main problem you may encounter is the tires throwing up plenty of sand possible to reach the driver and passenger.
b. Spiked– As the name suggests, they tend to be similar to ribbed UTV tires, and have rubber spikes, resembling the spine of a dragon, wrapping around the tire.
c. Completely smooth- Better for high-performance UTVs. Smooth tires are suitable for a driver engaging in plenty of straight uphill climbing or drag racing and, thus, desire a lighter tire.
Examples of the rear sand tire and front sand tire are the GMZ Sand Stripper HP Full Paddle Tire and STI Sand Wedge Front Tire, respectively.
Besides, remember that before you go for a driving action with your UTV, equip yourself with the appropriate desert and sand dune riding tips. That you do for safety, security, and enjoyment.
• Uniquely shaped tread for both the rear and front tires to offer better maneuverability.
• Because there is scooping of sand, the driver and the passenger may receive their share.
Snow and Ice Tires
The tire design offers deep snow traction, great for those in areas experiencing a lot of winter conditions. As a result, you can stay afloat on the snow surface top. There is no digging into the snow terrain by the wheels.
Snow tires are wider and have tread paddles, or radially running independent blocks across the tread. You will be just skidding over the snow and ice terrain, and there is no causing of snow to fly everywhere.
Tires made for winter condition are generally made of softer rubber compound to create better grip in cold weather where the rubber gets harder due to the cold.
Before going for a drive, make sure you familiarize yourself with the UTV winter driving tips. You have to winterize the vehicle and take the necessary precautions to have an excellent snow driving experience.
• It makes your winter ride more joyful because of the significantly improved traction and control.
• Maybe more expensive compared with other types of UTV tires.
These types of UTV tires are different since the specific design incorporated is for delivery of robust and constant response in grip and steering on trails and harder terrains. Accordingly, typically, the racing tire comes with sharp-edged tread patterns.
The design for the tires is great for competitive (not recreational) use in racing compacted surfaces.
In terms of the tread pattern design, they tend to vary according to the particular racing terrain. If you are an experienced racer, you will know the specific tires to choose from.
Some examples of UTV racing tires include the Trail Warrior and OTR HP-009.
• Because the tire is lightweight, the vehicle moves faster.
• Most tire brands are DOT-rated; therefore, you can also employ their use on highway or street.
• Since there is the use of different tread designs, depending on the racing surface, you must be a racer with experience to know what you should buy.
When Should You Replace UTV Tires?
Before you go for any UTV ride, confirm if there are cracks between treads or the sidewall. Furthermore, check for missing/worn tread lugs, bald spots, uneven wear, and rubber punctures.
All of the above signs indicate when replacing the UTV tires becomes necessary.
Do You Balance UTV Tires?
Whether your UTV tires need balancing or not depend on the riding surface/conditions, the riding type, and tire in use.
It may be an excellent idea for balancing your UTV tires when:
• Riding on paved roads and smooth trails and at speeds beyond 30 MPH.
• Using on-road or smooth tread pattern tires.
On the other hand, you may not require the balancing of your UTV tires when:
• Most of the time, you are riding on rocks, debris, and mud.
• Riding off-road with below 30 MPH speeds.
Are UTV And ATV Tires The Same? What Is The Difference?
When looking at the tires of the two outdoor vehicles, you will see that they appear strikingly similar, which is not really the case.
ATV tires are generally smaller when you compare them to UTV tires since they are meant for use by a single rider or two riders.
The Right UTV Tire Pressure
Regularly checking and taking care of your UTV tire pressure can help in boosting its functionality and lifespan.
The right UTV tire pressure should be as recommended by the manufacturer. Likewise, the terrain and load size are two other essential factors to consider.
For instance, for achieving optimal performance with a single rider and zero loads, use the recommendation of the manufacturer. In contrast, if carrying extra load such as camping gear, you have to increase a bit the tire pressure.
Why UTV Front UTV Tires are smaller
As I had touched on this a bit in the sand UTV tires section, smaller front UTV tires serve the purpose of giving you more responsive steering and better maneuverability.
Ensure that the type of UTV tire you are using is equipped to hand the driving terrain type. Only use all-terrain tires if you do not ride on more aggressive surfaces needing specialized, the right size, and correct tread pattern tires.
For more UTV tire basic information from a company that I have used many times in the past, check out the video below. Also you can order UTV tires from Rocky Mountain ATV/MC.