There are different types of tires, serving different uses. If your car is brand new and has had no tire changes, it’s good to go for highway driving.
However, for all-terrain tires, you can drive both on the highway and on other types of terrain. They are usually called “jack of all trades” because you can drive them just about anywhere.
Having said that, not everybody knows the advantages and disadvantages of driving on the highway with all-terrain tires.
In this article, we’re delving deeper into whether all-terrain tires are good on the highway.
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Are All Terrain Tires Safe on the Highway?
For long-distance travel on the highway, safety is a big concern. If you’ve got all-terrain tires, are they safe on the highway?
The general answer is yes, because all-terrain tires are usually equipped for all types of surfaces. They can usually drive well on soil, gravel, and sand with no issues.
The type of tires you need in your vehicle depends on how and where you drive most. Even though you might be using your vehicle for off-roading only once in a while, all-terrain tires can accommodate that.
For off-roading, all-terrain tires give plenty of traction on the surface, but can also mess with airbags unintentionally.
This is because, when off-road, the surface is uneven and prone to mini bumps. These bumps may be interpreted as a crash by the airbag sensor which then deploys the airbag.
Because all-terrain tires soften small bumps when driving, the airbags are sometimes not deployed. This is clearly a safety issue because that “small” bump might be a crash.
One of the best advantages of all-terrain tires is traction and grip. All-terrain tires provide an excellent grip on the highway and reduce tire slipping and skidding.
Another great benefit of these types of tires is side-wall support. The added support on A/T tires means cars can carry heavier loads.
Side-wall supported all-terrain tires are common on campers and pickup trucks that usually have heavy loads to carry.
All-terrain tires usually have deeper tread patterns, which take longer to wear off. Tire changes will be less frequent, meaning less cost on tire changes.
With that said, all-terrain tires do have their cons, one of the biggest being fuel efficiency. All-terrain tires use way more gas.
This is because these tires grip the road more and therefore have more drag.
It’s important to know what types of surfaces you’ll mostly be driving on.
Maybe you only off-road once in a while or your area snows a lot during winter. Knowing this will establish what types of tires are right for you.
However, for those who are occasionally off-roading but also use the highway on a daily basis, all-terrain tires are ideal.
You should find out if Teslas are more efficient in the city or on highways.
How Fast Can You Comfortably Go With All-Terrain Tires
With a myriad of benefits of all-terrain tires, it’s only fair to ask if they will slow you down. In most cases, all-terrain tires do not affect how fast a vehicle can go.
If you’re used to driving at 60 miles per hour on the highway, having A/T tires will not mean you should drive slower. You can go as fast or as slow as you need.
In some cases, these tires can make the car vibrate and cause loud noises when going at high speeds. Improper tire balancing is usually the cause when a car with all-terrain tires vibrates.
Some mechanics can incorrectly install the tires, which can lead to louder or vibrating tires. A professional should always do wheel balancing and installation.
It’s also important to note that mechanical issues usually don’t show symptoms at lower speeds. If the car vibrates at lower speeds too, the most common problem could be your all-terrain tires.
Vibration is felt in the steering wheel when the wheels are not properly balanced and rotated. Above 40mph, the steering starts to shake, and the noise gets louder.
One of the best ways manufacturers and dealerships diagnose and solve this problem is by rotating the tires.
For all-terrain tires, rotating the tire about 180 degrees on the rim gets the problem solved.
Some complainants were told to drive on the highway at speeds that the vibration occurs, then advised to shift into neutral if in a manual transmission. This will tell you if there’s an alignment issue with your tires.
There might be other issues at play if the tires are new and properly installed. Other causes of vibration might be due to transmission issues, engine issues, or brake components.
If you consistently go off-roading with your tires, a good cleaning might solve vibration issues. Overall, all-terrain tires are pretty good on the highway.
How Noisy Are All-Terrain Tires At Highway Speeds?
All-terrain tires are known to have some noise coming from them when newly installed. If all is well with your all-terrain tire installation, you might still have some noise coming from the tires.
Because of the tread design and pattern, all-terrain tires are louder than regular tires.
Open-tread design improves grip and traction but also comes with a bit of noise. A/T tire treads are arranged in open blocks and have channels between them. The noise is made when air is forced through these grooves while driving.
When it comes to traditional highway tires, the grooves on the tire are slightly smaller. The smaller channels in the tire lead away from the center, resulting in a smoother and quieter ride.
New owners of all-terrain tires find them louder for the first few miles and the noise drifts away after some time using them. It gets really annoying on long-distance drives for new owners.
The traction and grip provided by all-terrain tires offer improved handling on the road. Better handling on highways means you can take curves at faster speeds.
With that said, if the noise is really loud and gets worse with speed, there might be other issues at play. To minimize this, rotating the tires every 8,000 miles may help reduce noise.
Is Driving With All-Terrain Tires Hard
When driving a car with all-terrain tires for the first time, you likely won’t notice anything. But if you go from normal tires to A/T tires, you can usually tell there’s a difference.
All-terrain tires feel pretty much the same as normal tires. However, a slight vibrating feeling on the steering wheel will give them away.
We’ve already outlined that all-terrain tires provide better traction on the highway. This offers the driver better handling when taking corners and curvy roads.
The steering wheel will be a lot harder to handle because the car will want to stick to the road. Momentum, when the car turns, is felt in the steering wheel.
The gripping of the tires on the road means you have to work much harder to keep the car in control.
For long-distance drives, this might be hard for lengthy periods.
Another not-so-great benefit of all-terrain tires is “tire scalloping”. This is when tires wear out unevenly. Rubber treads in the tire wear out in an unusual pattern.
Tire scalloping leads to an uneven ride and might make it hard for drivers to focus on long drives.
All-terrains tend to have rougher and deeper tread patterns but are softer than normal tires. Softer rubber that grips the road better leads to it wearing out faster than other tires.
Tire tread wearing out is called tread erosion and is more common in A/T tires. This does not necessarily make the car harder to drive, but it does mean more precaution is needed.
How Stable Are All-Terrain Tires on the Highway?
Even though all-terrain tires perform relatively well in different seasons and surfaces, they still need to be stable for highway driving.
One of the most concerning cons of all-terrain tires is that they are prone to vibration. Vibration can be caused by several issues with the tires or wheel-alignment issues.
Vibration is a huge issue if it suddenly occurs during highway driving. The driver might lose control of the vehicle if the vibration is rough enough.
Possible Causes of Vibration With All-Terrain Tires
- Bent wheels
- Uneven wear
- Mud and debris
- Tire pressure
- Improperly inflated tires
Vibration can cause a lot of instability on the highway. All-terrain tires need to be performing at optimum levels.
A long-distance drive with all-terrain tires must have gone through a rigorous pre-trip inspection of the wheels and surrounding components.
It’s also advised that a driver has driven the vehicle on normal roads before in order to get used to the tires.
The handling, acceleration, and braking of all-terrain tires are different from normal highway tires. A/Ts have greater traction and grip on the road and therefore the braking will be sensitive.
Sensitive brakes might lead to instability if the driver is not careful operating a vehicle with A/T tires.
Instability often occurs straight after the tires are replaced. The tires might have been improperly inflated or improperly balanced. This will result in an unstable and rough ride, especially at highway speeds.
With that said, one benefit of A/T tires is that it’s adaptable to all seasons. This results in great stability on highways under snowy or rainy conditions.
Light snow or rainy conditions are not great for driving, but with all-terrain tires, it’s much safer. However, this is not a substitute for snow tires that work best in heavy snow conditions.
How Many Miles Can You Get With All-Terrain Tires?
It’s no secret that tires must be changed regularly for optimum performance. This is no different for all-terrain tires.
All-year operability is one of the factors that separate all-terrains from normal highway tires. They have the capability to last all through snowy winters and hot summers.
But how long do they last if driven all year round?
You can get about 40,000 miles with all-terrain tires. This depends on a lot of other factors, such as the quality of the materials.
The tread pattern and rubber material affect how long your all-terrain tires will last.
A rigid tread pattern on the tire gets a better grip and traction on the road, but also means it wears out faster. Wearing out faster will mean a change of tires is just around the corner.
Manufacturers also cut costs on the rubber compound, and other materials used to manufacture the tire. Cheaply made tires don’t last as long and result in a replacement being needed sooner.
More focus should be given to where the vehicle is driven the most. If there’s light off-roading, less frequent tire replacements will be needed.
A lot of off-roading results in quicker wearing and more frequent tire replacements. To get maximum mileage, you need to figure out what kind of surfaces the tires will drive on most.
Highway tires, on the other hand, wear out at about 60,000 miles and need regular maintenance just like your A/T tires.
Regular tire maintenance would mean checking tire pressure and rotating the tires. Taking good care of your tires reduces incidents and saves on repair and maintenance costs.
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