All Terrain Tires vs. Highway Tires: Pros and Cons

Are you torn between which tires to buy for your car- All terrain tires or Highway tires? Here’s a complete guide to help you make an informed decision.

You’ll find the pros and cons of both types of tires, so you can be sure to pick the right one for your needs.

When it comes to tires, there are many different types and brands to choose from. For those looking for an upgrade in performance or who often drive off-road, all terrain tires may be the ideal option. On the other hand, highway tires can provide a smoother ride and better gas mileage for those who do mostly driving on paved roads. This guide aims to explain the pros and cons of all terrain vs. highway tires, so you’ll know which type is best for your needs.

Both all terrain and highway tires share some common characteristics–they both must provide traction in dry conditions, provide good cornering ability, resist wear, etc.–it’s more a matter of the focus. All terrain tires are designed to handle rough surfaces such as rocks, gravel and dirt without sacrificing too much traction on paved roads while highway tires prioritize smoothness over grip in off-road situations.

Explanation of tires

Tires are an essential component to any car and they need to fit both your vehicle and the type of driving you plan on doing. All terrain tires are designed for using in off-road terrains while highway tires are intended solely for smooth road surfaces. In general, all terrain tires provide stronger traction and stability than highway tires but come with the extra cost of heavier wear and increased fuel consumption. By understanding the attributes of each tire type, buyers can make an informed decision about which type is best for their needs.

All terrain tires have an aggressive tread pattern with large gaps between tread blocks meant to provide adequate grip when utilizing multiple uneven surfaces. These deep lugs on all terrain tires accelerate tire wear due to contact with pavement, but their construction provides outstanding handling in dirt, sand and light snow.

Highway tires feature symmetrical patterns with smaller round lugs shaped to reduce rolling resistance meant to maximize fuel economy in most common road conditions. They also have sipes that enhance wet handling performance and decrease braking distances during slippery conditions as well as larger land-to-sea ratios giving them a quiet ride compared to other types of tires. However, these features come at the tradeoff that they can’t handle rough or uneven surfaces as well as all terrain tires can due to their rounded carcass design.

Importance of choosing the right tire for your vehicle

Choosing the right tires for your vehicle is an important task that requires careful consideration. All terrain (AT) and highway (HWY) tires, while similar in many ways, are designed to meet different needs and offer different benefits. Most vehicles come with either all-terrain or highway tires as a standard option, but which one you choose depends on your driving style, vehicle type and usage.

For vehicles that are primarily used on asphalt surfaces like roads, highways and urban streets, highway tires are likely the best option. They have a rounder tread pattern with large interconnected grooves and siping that enhances grip on dry surfaces. Their wider ribs also give strength to provide good lateral stability at higher speeds.

On the other hand, if you mostly drive off-road and need extra traction in deep mud or rocky terrain, then all-terrain tires will be suitable for you. All terrain tire’s tread patterns are more aggressive than highway tire’s which give them excellent grip in muddy conditions and over uneven surface area; ideal for hardcore off-roading such as rock climbing or wheeling along beaches or over rough terrain with plenty of accessories like snorkels or winches.

All Terrain Tires

All Terrain tires are designed to work in a variety of conditions and can typically handle dirt, gravel and wet conditions better than the more specialized highway tires. These are great for drivers who use their vehicle for both on- and off-road driving, but they also come with some trade-offs.

All Terrain tires usually feature an aggressive tread pattern that allows for excellent grip in a variety of terrains. However, due to their design, these tires tend to generate more road noise than highway tires. This can make extended highway driving uncomfortable. Additionally, the aggressive tread pattern will create more drag when driving in wet or dusty roads which may cause poor fuel economy.

Due to their tough construction, All Terrain tires are generally thicker and heavier than Highway Tires so they can suffer from decreased performance. The thicker rubber compound used on all terrain tires provides excellent durability but it also means less contact with the road which could lead to decrease handling performance compared to a thinner highway tire design.

Definition and characteristics

All-terrain tires and highway tires are two distinct types of tires. All-terrain tires are designed to handle rough terrain, mud, sand, gravel, and other off road conditions. These tires have a special tread pattern that ensures reliable performance on uneven surfaces. Highway tires, on the other hand, are designed mainly for use on paved roads. They have relatively smooth tread patterns with high silica or low rolling resistance compounds that help reduce fuel economy and provide better grip on dry or wet roads. This article will discuss the features of each type of tire and provide an overview of the pros and cons associated with each option.

The key features to look out for in all-terrain tire designs include deeper tread depths for better traction in mud; a high void ratio which helps disperse mud from the contact patch; aggressive lugs which provide enhanced grip when cornering; siping which offers extra biting edges for traction on loose surfaces; noise insulation technology for quieter operation; and robust construction that resists damage caused by uneven terrain and jagged stones.

Do You Really Need All-Terrain Tires? Pros, Cons, and What They're Actually Good For - Mortons on the Move

Highway tire designs typically feature wide contact patches for superior wet grip; shallow tread depths resulting in lower rolling resistance which improves fuel economy; low noise tread patterns generated by 3D sipes or laser-etched technology; tapered blocks with varying shoulder angles held together by high tensile cords that give greater stability while cornering at speed; heavy reinforced sidewalls to protect against punctures when driving off-road; and special silica compounds designed to minimize wear and improve handling even in tough driving conditions.


There are a variety of advantages to using an all-terrain tire over a highway tire. All-terrain tires have thicker tread blocks, giving them better grip in most terrains. This increased grip and superior performance can translate to improved safety in most road conditions, especially if you are driving on wet or off-road terrain.

Additionally, all-terrain tires often feature larger voids between the tread blocks that help with mud and snow traction as well as sand and dirt adherence. The aggressive look of all-terrain tires also makes them popular with pickup truck and SUV owners seeking a specific aesthetic.

Off-road capabilities

Off-road tires are designed to handle different terrains from mud, snow, and loose sand. These tires also have a more aggressive tread pattern than highway tires, allowing them to cut through deeper terrains and achieve better traction for any terrain you decide to take on.

The stronger construction of all-terrain tires also allows them better durability when tackling tough conditions, such as rocky hills or miles of dirt roads.

All in all, if you are looking for a tire that can take you off the beaten path, an all-terrain tire is the way to go.


When considering the durability of tires, it is important to look at both the tread life and the sidewall strength. All-terrain tires typically have a more aggressive tread pattern than highway tires, resulting in increased durability. All-terrain tires also tend to have a stiffer sidewall for better handling and resistance to damages that can occur on off-road terrain such as rocks and logs.

The tradeoff with these benefits comes from the fact that all terrain tires tend to wear faster than highway tires, especially when used on paved roads. They are also noisier due to their more aggressive tread pattern. Highway tires are designed for long life under normal road conditions and provide good traction on wet or dry pavement, but they offer less protection against damage from off-road elements.


No tire is without some drawbacks, and this holds true for both all terrain and highway tires. All terrain tires can be noisy on the highway, as they are designed to provide strong grip in diverse off-road conditions. This isn’t an issue if you don’t plan to regularly drive on pavement. Additionally, although all terrain tires are becoming more fuel-efficient due to advanced rubber compounds and tread designs, they still tend to be slightly less fuel efficient than their highway counterparts. This is because all terrain tires have a deeper tread depth and wider contact patch area than highway tires, making them slightly less fuel efficient due to increased rolling resistance.

Highway tires have their own significant cons as well, with the most significant drawback being lack of traction in off-road conditions such as mud or sand. Additionally, although more fuel efficient than all terrain tires due to their shallower tread depths and narrower contact patches compared with all-terrain models, highway tires still fare badly compared with more modern “low rolling resistance” (LRR) tire options designed for maximum efficiency in city environments.


Noise is one of the biggest distinctions between all-terrain tires and highway tires. All-terrain tires come with a beefier, more aggressive tread pattern than highway tires. This type of tread helps to grip the surface, especially when driving off road, but also creates more noise on paved surfaces. The result is increased noise both within and outside of your vehicle while cruising on the highway.

In comparison, highway tires are designed to create less noise while still providing good traction on pavement and wet road surfaces.

Reduced fuel efficiency

When choosing tires for your vehicle, it is important to consider the different pros and cons of all terrain tires vs. highway tires. One major factor to consider is the impact that tire selection has on fuel efficiency.

All terrain tires are designed with greater grip and traction in mind, and tend to feature wider, more aggressive treads than normal highway-only tires. This additional grip comes at a price: all terrain tires are less fuel efficient than regular highway-only tires due to their increased rolling resistance. The rolling resistance of an all terrain tire is approximately 10 – 20% greater than that of a traditional tire, meaning that you’ll burn more fuel when driving an SUV or Truck on these types of tires.

How Wheel Size Affects Off-Road Performance

All terrain tires create extra drag as they rotate, which can cause your vehicle’s engine have to work harder in order to propel your vehicle forward – reducing overall fuel economy as a result.


In conclusion, when it comes to choosing between all terrain tires and highway tires, the decision should come down to the type of vehicle you have, the type of driving you’ll be doing and your personal preferences.

All terrain tires generally provide great performance in a variety of different environments including gravel roads, dirt roads and wet pavement. But their extra traction can reduce fuel economy and make for a rough ride on smooth surfaces such as highways. Highway tires offer better gas mileage but also have less off-road capability than all terrain tires.

It is important to remember that all tire models are different and the pros and cons can vary based on make and model. We recommend researching models for your specific vehicle before making a purchase to ensure maximum performance at an affordable price.


Which tyres are better all-terrain or highway terrain?

The answer to this question depends on your specific needs and driving habits. If you frequently drive on unpaved roads, in mud or snow, then all-terrain tires may be a better choice. However, if you primarily drive on paved roads and want a smoother, quieter ride, highway terrain tires may be the better option.

Are all-terrain tires good for highway driving?

Yes, all-terrain tires are designed to perform well on a variety of surfaces, including highways. However, they may not provide the same level of comfort and handling as highway terrain tires.

What are disadvantages of all terrain Tyres?

Some disadvantages of all-terrain tires include increased road noise, decreased fuel efficiency, and a rougher ride compared to highway terrain tires. They may also be more expensive than highway terrain tires.

Do highway tires last longer than all-terrain tires?

In general, highway terrain tires may last longer than all-terrain tires because they are designed for smoother, less aggressive driving conditions. However, the lifespan of a tire depends on many factors, including the brand, quality, and maintenance.

How long do all-terrain tires last on highway?

The lifespan of all-terrain tires on highways depends on various factors such as driving style, maintenance, and the quality of the tire. However, on average, all-terrain tires may last around 50,000 miles on highways.

Are all-terrain tires harder to puncture?

All-terrain tires are typically more durable and resistant to punctures compared to highway terrain tires. However, they are not indestructible, and sharp objects can still cause punctures.

What type of tire is best for highway driving?

Highway terrain tires are the best for highway driving as they provide a smoother ride, better handling, and increased fuel efficiency. They are designed for high-speed driving on paved roads and are ideal for daily commuting or long road trips.

Why buy all terrain Tyres?

All-terrain tires are ideal for those who frequently drive on unpaved roads or in off-road conditions. They offer improved traction, durability, and performance in mud, sand, snow, and rocky terrains.

Can you mix highway tires and all-terrain tires?

It is not recommended to mix highway terrain tires and all-terrain tires on the same vehicle. The different tire types have different tread patterns and handling characteristics, which can affect the vehicle’s performance and safety.

Are all-terrain tires good in rain?

All-terrain tires can provide good performance in wet conditions, but they may not be as effective as highway terrain tires. They have larger tread blocks that can increase the risk of hydroplaning on wet roads. It is important to drive with caution and adjust your speed and driving style in wet conditions.

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