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4WD tyres: the different types & how to choose the right ones

If you go bushwalking, would you wear a pair of thongs? You wouldn’t wear a pair of hiking boots at the beach, would you? The same principle applies with four wheel driving and 4x4 tyres. 4WD tyres are specially designed, manufactured, and constructed for long-distance travelling, off-road mud, rock driving and about anything that falls in between the two.

A guide to 4x4 tyres

Generally, there are four types of 4x4 or 4WD tyres:

Highway Terrain

Called HT, this tyre is typically 90% road and 10% off-road. This is suited for 4WDs that spend most of their time on paved roads and just a limited time on unpaved roads. These tyres provide good ride comfort, paved road speed durability and road handling. This type of tyre only gives limited off-road driving capability.


This type of tyre is 60% road and 40% off-road. It’s used for 4WDs that spend the most time on paved roads and some time on light off-road travel. This tyre is a good all-rounder for versatility on a wide range of surfaces, both dry and muddy; and its extra void and tread pattern improves grip on unsmoothed surfaces.

Mud Terrain

This tyre is 15% road and 85% off-road for 4WDs allowing for driving on mud and dirt surfaces due to the large and chunky tread patterns. This type of tyre has a good grip and can handle severe and off-road driving even in the roughest and steepest conditions.

Light Truck Rated

Some 4WD tyres are rated as LT or for light trucks. The tyres have a heavier construction, higher load rating and deeper tread pattern, making them more resistant to accidental punctures. They are almost similar to all-terrain tyres because they can be used in rugged and off-road terrain.

Top brands of 4WD tyres

Some of the top 4WD tyre brands typically featured in reviews for 4WD vehicles include:

  • Achilles
  • BF Goodrich
  • Bridgestone
  • Continental
  • Dunlop
  • Falken
  • Federal
  • Firestone
  • Good Year
  • Hankook
  • Mastercraft Tires
  • Maxxis
  • Michelin

Finding the right 4WD tyres for your needs

If you’re a novice in the world of 4WD tyres, the number of options as well as name brands may seem overwhelming at first. The brands mentioned above are high quality but you can’t just choose based on a brand name, no matter how good it is. Finding the right tyres for your needs will depend on your lifestyle, driving conditions and vehicle type.

When finding the right 4WD tyres, remember to use TCC: Tread Design, Carcass Construction, and Compound:

  • Tread Design – For improved traction and protection, good tread design means looking for flex grooves, mud scoops, release dimples and raised rubber ribs. You can also look for tyres with micro-gauge sipes to avoid water build-up in tyre treads.
  • Carcass Construction – This is the tyre’s tensile strength and if the tyre is equipped with angle ply technology. On the tyre’s sidewall, also look for sidewall biters and extra protection against obstacles.
  • Compound – This means selecting tyres for specific driving conditions. This is where the selection of HT, AT, MT, and LT tyre types come in. Using the best tyre for a particular condition also means better handling and braking performance.

Our 4WD Tyres at Transtate Tyre & Suspension Services

We have been in the tyre and suspension industry for more than 40 years in the Canberra and ACT areas. We take pride in our high quality and professional service to ALL our customers. And our competitive prices won’t burn a hole in your wallet. Aside from providing a wide range of top-quality brands for 4WD tyres and other tyre types, we also offer tyre fitting, wheel alignment and balancing, suspension servicing, brake servicing and much more.

You can call our Belconnen or Tuggeranong offices, or our New South Wales office at Queanbeyan. You can also visit our website for more details at