Tips for choosing all-terrain or off-road tires

StatePoint Media
What tires should you invest in for a little or a lot of off-roading?

■ StatePoint Media / Contributed

Love driving off-road? Before heading out for the great wide open, be sure your vehicle is equipped with the right set of tires.
Big. Wide. Knobby. Some believe this is all you need to look for in an all-terrain or an off-road tire. But there’s much more to quality all-terrain and off-road tires than meets the eye.
To choose the proper tire for your adventures off the beaten path, the first question to ask yourself is, “How much on-road driving will I be doing?” This is a critically important question because many off-road specific tires lack the on-road manners to make highway travel, or even a daily commute, comfortable. Off-road tires can be quite loud, can reduce fuel economy significantly and their softer rubber compounds can wear more quickly than tires designed for highway use.
To solve this problem, Cooper recently unveiled the all-terrain Discoverer AT3 family of tires, which are designed to handle well on the highway and also provide the durability needed for leaving the pavement. You might be lugging a heavy load on the highway or going off-road for a last-minute fishing trip – and the versatility of these tires provide consistently powerful performance.
When shopping around, another question to ask is, “What types of surfaces will I be driving on?” Gravel roads are one thing, foot-deep mud is another. Throw in snow if you’re doing a lot of winter exploring, or loose sand if you’re heading to the desert or coast, and you have different tasks for different tires. A tire professional can explain the benefits of different tires for different types of terrain and help you choose the ideal one for your driving needs and lifestyle.
If you are planning to have more serious off-road adventures, the durable construction of the Cooper Discoverer STT Pro is designed to handle even the most extreme conditions. It’s a good choice if you will be encountering mud, rocky trails or other tough obstacles. Then, when it’s time to return to civilization, its versatility makes for well-mannered and quiet handling on highways and city streets.
After you’ve identified the type of tire you need, size becomes the next question. Here, it’s important to look to the vehicle specs, or those that correspond to any modifications you’ve made to your vehicle’s suspension, body height or wheel wells. It can be tempting to simply cram in the largest tire you can bolt on, but bigger isn’t always better — particularly if it means tires that rub while turning or bite into the fender when encountering a large bump. Poor fit can lead to tire damage or unnecessary tire wear. And that’s not what you want for a new set of tires.
Helpful tips and guides for purchasing and maintaining tires can be found at
When shopping for off-road or all-terrain tires, keep these factors in mind to find the ideal tires for your vehicle and your sense of adventure.

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