ATV Tires Buying Guide: Crucial Factors to Consider 

Last Updated on November 19, 2023 by ATVNotes

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With the overwhelming variations and Types of ATV tires, choosing the perfect one for your ATV can be a tall order for a new ATV owner. Tires usually come in many sizes, materials, treads, shapes, etc. Weeding through these options can be as hard as finding a needle in a haystack. Here, we have compiled an ATV tire buying guide for choosing the right tires for your ATV model to enjoy better braking, cornering, and handling when riding it on various off-road trails. Read on to know what factors to consider when purchasing your next set of ATV tires.

When should I purchase new tires?

Your ATV tires hunt better start with the knowledge when you need to get new tires. Ideally, if you maintain your tires well, they can last for about 4 to 5 years.

The terrain, dunes, and hard rocky off-road trails you will ride on from time to time. But you can only purchase new tires after the stated duration as the dirt can be washed away, restoring or keeping it pristine. However, some symptoms signal you to swap the existing tires with aftermarket ones immediately. Get prepared to invest in new tires when the current,

  • ATV tires have started to have knobs in various sections – very common with old worn-out tires. 
  • ATV tires have started to fade or weather.
  • Tires offer little traction on the road. 
  • Tires are showing up cracks. Tires having cracks will offer compromises structural integrity affecting your ATV day-out fun.

Crucial Considerations when purchasing an ATV tire

Since you already know the symptoms of when you should purchase new ATV tires, it is time to know the considerations you ought to make to get value for your hard-earned dollars. The key factors to consider when purchasing a new ATV tire include the following:

Different ATV tire sizes

1. The size of your ATV tire

ATV tires come in several sizes. Therefore, you need to know how to determine ATV tire size to get it right. In most cases, the size of your ATV tire is usually displayed in a 3-number format that is usually separated using ‘X’ or ‘-‘ or both.

For instance, you can see an ATV tire with the following reading on the sides: 25-12-12. The first digit refers to the tire’s height once you inflate it. The second digit refers to the width of the tire after inflating it. And the 3rd digit refers to the diameter of the ATV’s wheel.

Supposing the tire is made using radial construction, you might spot an ‘R’ between these digits. In this case, you will find the following readings on your ATV’s tire; 25-12-R12.To be safe, check the user’s manual to get the correct dimensions for your ATV. You can also read your tire’s sidewall and establish the right size for your ATV.

2. The terrain that you frequent

Unlike conventional vehicles, an ATV can be ridden or driven in various terrains, and you may prefer only some terrains to ride on. So, you should know how your chosen terrain matters to determine your tire style. 

  • Muddy terrain

As the name suggests, you should purchase the kind of ATV tires if you are fond of riding on soft and muddy terrains. To get it right with muddy terrains, ensure your tire is stiff and aggressive. The tire should also have good traction when used on such terrains. Besides this, the tire should be resistant to punctures.

  • Sandy terrain

Besides the muddy terrain, you can ride your ATV on sandy terrain. In that case, your ATV tire of choice should be aggressive and be able to paddle through sand more effectively. Unlike other tires, this one has a flexible structure and is ideal for those who want to ride even over dunes. However, this tire is less resistant to punctures.

  • Snow terrain

Although no tires are meant explicitly for riding on the snow, be sure that mud tires can work well on such terrain. If you want to enjoy better traction, consider adding some tire chains to your tires, and you will be good to go.

  • Rocky terrains

If you usually like riding on top of hard rocks, consider choosing an ATV tire with lugs on its shoulders. Additionally, the tire should come with tread patterns that are tight enough.

  • Racing terrains

Supposing you are an avid racer, the best ATV tires to invest in are the racing ones. When purchasing these tires, ensure that your tire of choice has a flat top. Moreover, the tire should come with a knobby tread. With these features, the ATV tire can perform the best even when you cruise at high speeds. Such tires are usually available in 2 to 6-ply ratings.

  • All-weather terrain

If you usually like riding on dirt trails or those trails that pass through deserts or sections with little mud, consider purchasing trail tires. In fact, these tires are commonly known as all-purpose tires. Since they can be used on various surfaces, they are ideal for those general-purpose riders. When choosing these tires, ensure that your preferred tire comes with a minimum tread depth of 0.5″ or around. That will last the longest and perform the best without requiring a replacement model sooner.

3. Motocross ATV tires

Come with stiff knobs that help you negotiate corners even at high speeds. These tires are also characterized by tread patterns spaced out so that you can enjoy the much-needed grip when you start accelerating your ATV. Moreover, a good grip becomes instrumental when you are riding your ATV in places that have obstacles or jumps here and there.

4. Off-road ATV tires

Have the same features as those found on All-purpose ATV tires. However, these tires have a stronger tread that makes them unique from the all-purpose ATV tires. When it comes to durability, these tires hardly disappoint. These features make them a sure bet when it comes to off-road trails.

5. Pavement tires

As the name of these tires suggests, they are ideal for use on pavement sections. In fact, they are ideal for those who use their ATVs at home. Unlike other ATV tires, these come with shallow treads.

The treads of these ATV tires are usually close to each other, allowing you to enjoy a smooth ride even when passing on the pavement. Surprisingly, these ATV tires resemble those found on a typical lawn mower.

6. Winter Tires

Depending on when you are going to use your ATV tire, choose the correct ATV tire model so that you can get the value for your hard-earned bucks. For instance, if you are going to use it during the winter season, consider choosing a tire for cold temperature adaptations. A good example is investing in winter tires can be helpful as these are usually made from rubber that remains soft and flexible even when the temperatures get low. This way, the user will surely enjoy more traction on various trails. You can also get a studded ATV tire to improve your traction whenever you are riding on top of the ice.

7. Construction of the ATV tire

Radial vs Bias Ply ATV tire

Radial vs. Bias

Besides the factors discussed above, you should feel free to check your tire’s structure when purchasing one. As far as ATV tires’ structure is concerned, there are two types of tires that you can find in the market. These include bias and radial tires. You can choose any of these tires depending on how you utilize your ATV and other preferences.

If you are fond of aggressive undertakings, consider choosing radial tires. Unlike their peer tires, these offer the much-needed traction to help you enjoy your ride even on naturally rough trails. However, these tires could be better to use on muddy terrains. You better consider investing in bias-ply ATV tires to get the max on muddy terrains.

Ply Rating

Ply rating tells you how resistant your ATV tire is to punctures and the weight limit your ATV tires can carry at a go. ATV tires ply rating features even numbers starting from 2-12. Most ATVs come with a 4-8 ply rating – a go-between of softness, traction, and puncture resistance. The lower the ply number, the softer the tire is. Softer tires tend to puncture easier and reduce load capacity but offer increased traction. 

ATV tires ply or load range

You do not have to worry about its puncture resistance unless you are riding your ATV on terrains with thorns, large sticks or cactus plants, or pebbles. Here an ATV tire with a lower ply-rating tire rating will work magic. However, if you are riding in a group or with family and your ATV on places with rougher terrains, consider purchasing an ATV tire with a higher ply rating like 6 ply or 8 ply ATV Tires– for higher load capacity and puncture resistance.

As for load capacity, check your ATV tire user’s manual. If you do not have this manual, consider looking for such details from the manufacturer’s website, or consult your dealer.

Tread Depth

Commonly known as the lug, this feature will always inform how aggressive your ATV tires will be on various terrains. For instance, if your ATV has a tread depth of 1 inch and below, it will be ideal for general or turf use. When it comes to muddy, soft or snow terrains, consider choosing ATV tires with 1-1.5 inch treads. However, if you are riding your ATV in soft or poor conditions, consider choosing models with a tread depth of more than 1.5″.

ATV tire tread depth


Depending on your budget, you should choose one that will not make you dig deeper into your pocket. But if you can afford the upfront cost of high-end tires from trusted manufacturers, you will save money in the long run. The top quality ATV tire will influence future expenses by not wearing out earlier than you had planned.

Whether you want a tire for one matching your budget or invest in a costly high-end one, do not avoid comparing the prices of various dealers to make the best bargain. If you are a novice starting out in this sector, you can start with the most affordable 2 ply or 4 ply tires. You can go for higher tires with time and upgrade your level.

Warranty Type

This is another consideration that you should make when purchasing ATV tires. This is because adding accessories or parts to your ATV can affect the warranty from the manufacturer. Therefore, before you start looking for a new ATV tire, establish with your dealer whether the initiative will affect the warranty or not. After that, make an informed decision.

Bottom Line

From allowing you to enjoy a better ride to preventing potential accidents, investing in the right ATV tires has many benefits. When buying ATV tires, check their size, construction, ply rating, price, warranty issues, and load capacity, among other factors mentioned above, and you can get it right. Since you have the ATV tire buying guide, it is time to step out and purchase your desired ATV tire!

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