How would you like to be able to drive your car through the mud and come out on the other side with no problem? You might think that this is an unlikely scenario, but it’s not. There are some amazing tires designed specifically for just that purpose.
The article will introduce these amazing new products designed for deep mud and give a few options of what brands are available so you can find one that suits you best!
If you are a full-fledged off-road enthusiast, having a set of mud tires for your 4×4 is essential. Mud-terrain (MT) tires are the go-to choice for your Jeep, SUV, or 4WD truck if you frequently find yourself driving through muddy trails.
If mud tires are designed to be more durable, can they keep up with the damage caused by rocks? No. It’s like comparing apples and oranges. A tire tread pattern will always be better at covering ground on a specific terrain than in another. However, one must consider that mud tires are less flexible as well as stiffer compared to the standard motocross/sx/dirt bike tire. This characteristic will also play a role in how the mud tires will react on rocks.
As you already know, the best off-road tires are all about compromises – it’s never going to be perfect for every terrain. If you want less vibration, you’ll be sacrificing mud traction. If you want more rock durability, the tires won’t handle as good in mud or sand.
I’ve ridden with many different brands and models – here’s what I think are some of the best, based on my experience.
These tires have uniquely chunky tread patterns, which help to provide excellent traction, even in the most wet and slippery conditions out there. In addition to the aggressive tread pattern, mud-terrain tires are also made with incredibly durable sidewalls, which ensure that they can handle the harshest of terrains. Moreover, mud-terrain tires are also great for rock crawling.
But, we know how much of a chore it can be to find some good mud tires for 26-inch rims. Worry not, however, since this article is basically dedicated to what we consider to be the best mud tires that money can buy for your 26-inch rims.
Best Mud Tires for 26-Inch Rims
1. Nitto Trail Grappler M/T
The Trail Grappler is the perfect blend of superb off-road performance and on-road comfort. Not only does it offer excellent traction on off-road terrains but also a smooth, and most importantly, comfortable ride on paved roads. This combination alone makes these tires some of the best in the market.
More often than not, the unique patterns of mud tires that enable them to provide the best of traction lead to an unpleasantly high production of noise when on the road. The people over at Nitto handled this well, however. These tires produced approximately 36% less tire noise than your regular mud tire at highway speeds.
You can pick from two different sidewall designs. Both feature specially-made central siping and shoulder groves, which help to minimize hydroplaning and increase traction. A simple google search of these tires will show you that customer reviews are strongly positive. Most clients focus on the superb levels of traction in their reviews and the, somewhat surprisingly, low noise levels.
- Great off-road performance
- Reduced tire noise
- Low rolling resistance
- Excellent traction and grip even at higher speeds
- Subpar wet road performance
2. Toyo Open Country M/T
The Toyo Open Country mud-terrain tires are made with a focus on off-road performance without compromise. They feature some of the market’s most aggressive tread patterns, which result in some of the best off-road traction.
The tread design bites strongly and ensures that the treads stay clear of dirt, snow, and mud at all times. The inclusion of over-the-shoulder treads helps to increase grip in deep mud and snow and to maintain a strong grip to the surface regardless of speed or maneuvering.
Then there is the strong reinforcement that these tires have, which makes them quite durable. Most people who have these tires are quite happy with their superb performance, but some also wish for an overall quieter ride.
- Superb traction on dry and muddy terrain
- Excellent performance on wet surfaces
- Noisy on road
- Not fuel-efficient at all
3. Crosswind Mud-Terrain Tires
These Crosswind mud-terrain tires are the perfect choice for both SUVs and light trucks. Their tread pattern features wide grooves, which provide good traction as well as help minimize hydroplaning.
The tread pattern basically features wrap-around shoulders, which contribute greatly to the off-roading capabilities of these tires.
Back to the wide-open grooves, they also help to move out any mud or snow quite easily, making your ride the smoothest and safest possible. The tread pattern is of the directional kind, which helps to improve responsiveness as well as overall driving stability. Additionally, the compound used to manufacture these tires is cut and chip-resistant.
Lastly, these tires are 6-ply rated, and you can only grab them in sets of four.
- Wide tread pattern
- Sturdy, directional pattern design
- Enhanced and durable tread compound
- Wrap-around shoulder design
- The Crosswind MT tires tend to be noisy.
4. Maxxis Bighorn I
This was Maxxis’ first attempt at a true “out of the box” mud tire. It has decent size lugs and large voids between each lug, making it very flexible and durable in wet or muddy conditions. The lugs soak up rocks, logs and other obstacles with ease.
Overall a very good tire for the money considering it’s reliable enough to work in almost any terrain. In desert conditions, you’ll want to air down 30% but that’s about it. I like the Maxxis Bighorn I because it grips well in wet conditions and the price is right.
- Best value for the money
- Does well on rocks & logs
- Not as good a mud tire compared to Kenda Tires
- More prone to punctures than other brands
5. Maxxis Bighorn II
This is basically a beefed up version of the 1st generation Maxxis Bighorn. It has larger lugs and more voids which give it great ground penetration compared to most other mud tires (more on that later). The tread pattern isn’t very wide but as long as you have the proper backspacing and tire pressure, it will give you great results whether you’re racing or trail riding.
The Maxxis Bighorn II because they’re light for a mud tire, have high clearance and good sidewalls. I personally used to like the bighorns because of their stiffness (they don’t fold on you), weight, toughness, etc.
But they do tend to break down quicker than other tires, especially in the center tread. With a little help from Dan Kennedy they can be made pretty good but still not as good as some mudder or street tires like PR2s.
- 2nd generation of Maxxis Bighorns (larger lugs and more voids)
- Great ground penetration
- Good durability
- Reasonably priced for what it offers
- Doesn’t work well on rocky surfaces
- Not as good in mud as the Kenda K270, but better than most.
Features To Consider When Buying A Mud Tire
Mud tires feature an aggressive tread pattern that usually provides great grip. The thickness of the tread itself ranges anywhere from 6 ply up to 10 ply. The deeper the ply patterns are, the more likely the tires are to eject any mud and unwanted objects. It also helps to prevent any potential cuts or punctures from rocks and such.
In order to ensure that you get the most out of your mud-terrain tires, make sure to look for a product with the thickest sidewalls possible. This is because while driving off-road, your tires will go through numerous rocks and sharp objects, which can puncture the sidewall of the tire at any given moment.
We have already established that mud-terrain tires are subjected to an exceptional amount of abuse. As a result, you want to grab tires with a tread pattern that wraps around the shoulders. This grants the tires a wider footprint which grants you more grip in tight turns.
Some brands even go as far as having elevated treads on the shoulders to further improve power and control.
Another thing that you need to focus on is whether there is enough clearance between your car’s fender and the tires or not. Off-road trucks usually have enough space to support larger than usual tires, but an average SUV might not.
Mud-Terrain Tires FAQs
Can You Use Mud Tires On The Road?
No, not really. Mud tires are designed to be used exclusively on off-road terrains where rocks, mud, sand, and loose soil are kings. MT tires are usually heavier than usual and quite hard to balance. In other words, they would lead to a noisy and challenging ride on the road.
Are Mud Tires Less Durable?
Yes, but only if you don’t use them where they don’t belong. You see, mud-terrain tires wear just fine if they always run off-road. On asphalt and concrete, however, they will wear faster due to the nature of their design.
Do Mud Tires Make A Lot Of Noise?
Yes, they are. This is due to the air that constantly gets trapped and released in the grooves of the tire. If you grab mud tires with a directional tread, they might become noisier down the road as they wear. Non-directional ones, on the other hand, won’t be as noisy with wear, but they still are noisy in comparison to regular tires.
Do Mud Tires Have An Effect On Gas Mileage?
The mud-terrain tires’ aggressive tread pattern can hurt gas mileage due to its increased rolling resistance. So, if you’re planning on using your mud tires for the road, make sure that they are inflated just right. This is because lower inflation leads to lower mileage and more wear.
Can I Use Mud Tires When It’s Raining?
It all depends on the road, really. If you drive them on well-paved concrete or asphalt roads, you might find the car trickier to handle in rainy, wet conditions. Still, they perform as intended in the rain off-road, but if you insist on using them on the road, you can get them siped.
Can I Use Mud Tires When It’s Snowing?
Driving in the rain and in snow are two very different experiences. If you happen to live in areas where heavy snow is commonplace, you will need a set of tires that plant themselves properly unto the surface and expel any snow and slush out of the way. Most mud tires are very much capable of doing so due to their unique tread design.
Main Takeaways – Best Mud Tires For 26-Inch Rims
They provide a lot more traction than others that we’ve tested in this article, which is great for those who want to have an easier time driving through rough terrain without getting stuck. This particular set of all-terrain tires also offers excellent durability because they were built with some tough rubber materials that will resist cuts and tears better than most competitors on the market today.
If you don’t need as much power out of your vehicle’s engine when going up hills or if you just want something reliable for everyday use, these may be worth considering over other options on my list.
I hope that our reviews have been helpful in helping you make the decision about which of these tires to purchase. The best thing is, we’ve made it easy for you!
All three are available on Amazon so with a few clicks and some patience, your next set of mud tires will be on their way to your door. Happy trails! What’s the one thing all 3 of these types of mud treads share?
They’re fast enough for any terrain or surface. For example, an ATV tire can get up to speeds of 50 miles per hour while still providing traction when needed thanks to its deep-lug design and slick surfaces that suck in dirt like a vacuum cleaner sucks up dust bunnies from under your couch