Are All-Terrain Tires Bad For Your Car? (Explained)

All-terrain tires are one of the most popular vehicle tires in the auto industry.

They have acquired quite the reputation and different tire brands now have them right in the front rows of their stock. 

These tires are known for their ability to traverse different road conditions, from paved highways to unpaved off-road conditions.

They are often used on light trucks, pick-up trucks and large SUVs and they make for improved traction across surfaces. 

Now, while A/T tires offer loads of benefits, is there any chance that they could actually be bad for your car? This article hopes to explore the question satisfactorily from different angles. 

Here’s the Short Answer to Whether All-Terrain Tires Are Bad for Your Car:

All-terrain tires are great and very beneficial tires to have. However, they could be bad for your car based on the car’s class, your driving needs and the road conditions you frequently drive through. 

Can All-Terrain Tires Affect Your Car in a Negative Way?

Truth is, all-terrain tires have a lot of goodies to offer your vehicle. However, they also have some very major downsides, some of which are:

  • Increased noisiness and shakiness
  • Decreased tread life and overall durability
  • Poor fuel efficiency

So, while they can traverse different road conditions to your car’s benefit, they could also be harmful to your car as seen in the points above. 

Can All-Terrain Tires Work on All Types of Cars?

All-terrain tires are not meant for all types of cars. Manufacturers of A/T tires say they are designed for trucks, SUVs, campers, 4WD cars and even 2WD cars. 

Basically, they are better suited for larger and heavier cars; the types of cars you would prefer to drive off-road. This means all-terrain tires may be a misfit for light cars. 

Related: Are All-Terrain Tires Good On The Highway? (Solved)

What Are the Pros and Cons of All-Terrain Tires?

Like we have mentioned in most of the article, all-terrain tires have upsides and downsides. Below are the pros and cons of all-terrain tires:


Here are pros of all-terrain tires:

Open Tread Design

All-terrain tires have an open tread design that makes for superior traction and grip on off-road conditions and great handling in normal road conditions.

This means that you can expect a decent enough performance from A/T tires on a paved highway road and an unpaved muddy road.

Sidewalls With Extra Strength

All-terrain tires come with reinforced sidewalls, which means they are super strong and can help improve your car’s hauling/towing capacity even in extreme conditions.

They basically ensure that your car can endure a great deal of roughness and ruggedness without sacrificing stability. 

Non-Seasonal Usability

One of the most impressive things about all-terrain tires is their year-round usability.

Since they can handle virtually all road conditions to a decent degree, there will be little need for weather-specific or condition-specific tires. 

If you have all-terrain tires, you most likely would not have to change your tires to winter tires during winter time. Not unless you are going to be dealing with very extreme weather and road conditions.

Related: Are All-Terrain Tires Worth It? (Explained)


Here are some disadvantages of all-terrain tires:

Noisy Treads

Thanks to the open tread design, air doesn’t flow through the grooves as smoothly as it does in regular tires. This causes increased noise level while driving and can be really irritating and uncomfortable. 

Depleted Fuel Efficiency

If you own a truck or a large SUV, chances are, your gas mileage is mid-tier or downright terrible. And, adding new sets of all-terrain tires will likely further deplete the car’s fuel efficiency. 

The reasons for this include increased wind resistance of the tire, the grip and tread patterns and their heavy-duty characteristics. 

Shorter Tread Life

Another downside to having all-terrain tires is the relative brevity of their tread life. So, while the tread design and soft rubber help to improve traction, they also affect the tire’s durability with an expected life mileage of 40,000 miles or less.

Related: Are All-Terrain Tires Good For Towing? (Explained)

Do All-Season Tires Wear Out Faster?

All-season tires basically combine features of summer and winter tires to make them balanced enough to drive during different times of the year.

They are “Jack of all trades, master of none” tires and they afford year-round usability even though they may falter in extreme conditions. 

They have a generally longer tread life than summer tires, winter tires and even all-season tires. This means they do not wear out faster than the other tire types.

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