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Tyre Types And Characteristics

Tyre Types And Characteristics

Road Tyres

Road tyres are designed specifically for use on tarmac. The tread is close with thin grooves cut in, allowing for water to be displaced/channelled away whilst maintaining a maximum amount of tyre in contact with the road surface. They're predominantly long lasting, quiet, smooth running and give optimum braking ability. However, the tread being close together fills in easily with mud reducing traction and grip.


All Terrain Tyres

These tyres are a combination of a road and mud tyre and would perform better than a mud tyre in sand. They're an excellent compromise for on and off road use but performance on tarmac will be slightly impaired and they will wear faster than a road tyre. Manufacturers however, do place emphasis on certain tyres being more road or off road bias which can be seen in the tread pattern.


Mud Tyres

Tyres designed specifically for use in mud and clay, they have bold, open tread patterns with sharp right-angled edges. The tread pattern is swept back narrow blocks which allow the tyres to 'self clean' during rotation, therefore, it's important to fit them in the correct direction of travel. Grip on wet tarmac is poor and heel and toe wear will shorten tyre life. Mud tyres are noisy and have limited speed ratings.

Some mud tyres are "uni-directional" (such as Yokohama Geolander MTs) and have a chevron type tread pattern. These should only be fitted with the point of the chevron rotating in the forward direction. It has been suggested that 2 spare tyres are needed if running this sort of tyre, as when swapping a wheel from one side of the vehicle to the other its tread pattern will be running in reverse and handling will be compromised.


Sand Tyres

The tread on sand tyres is similar to that on mud tyres but the tread blocks are shouldered to compress the sand into 'cups' assisting in the floatation and traction instead of cutting through the sand. They work well in all types of sand and strong enough for all desert terrain. They give poor handling on wet tarmac and do not perform well in mud.


Snow and Ice Tyres

These tyres have small, bold tread that are a bolder version than that of a road tyre. Some have the option of allowing studs to be fitted. They have good road handling (negative studs) but not as good as road specific tyres.


Extreme Tyres

These are a new breed of tyre (i.e. Simex and Insa Turbos) that have come about with the rise of off road competitions and the need for superior traction and self cleaning in muddy environments. The tread patterns on these tend to be massively aggressive with large grooves cut between tread blocks. Great for clearing mud from tyre, but makes the tyres loud, rough and grip on wet tarmac (or dry..) is very bad, due to having a very small amount of rubber in contact with the road. They also wear very badly on tarmac, being designed for soft terrains.


Tubed or Tubeless?

Tubeless tyres come as original equipment on most modern vehicles. They can save weight and they puncture less dramatically than tubed tyres. However, should a tubeless tyre need repairing and replacing, a consideration for Land Rover drivers who may be miles away from a garage is that large amounts of high pressured air and specialist equipment are required to fit a tubeless tyre to a wheel. There are methods that can be used to replace a tubeless tyre but will not be advised here due to potential injury that may occur.

Repairing a punctured tubed tyre is relatively simple using tyre leavers, a standard puncture repair outfit and standard tyre foot pump or compressor.

Tubeless tyre puncture repair kits are available should you be travelling far from the beaten track.

If changing from tubed to tubeless or vice versa, only wheels made to accept that type of tyre should be used.

Tyre Markings Explained

The chart below shows what each marking on a tyre signifies.

tyre chart.gif

Fitting Larger than Standard Tyres?

A common practice among Land Rover enthusiasts is to fit larger than standard tyres. If this is done, it alters vehicle speed at a given rpm, the rpm at a given speed, and the gear ratio, which in will affect both acceleration and fuel economy. Tyre size, gear ratio, mph and rpm are all related to performance. Change one and all four are affected.
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