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> M/T vs A/T Pickup Truck Tires

M/T vs A/T Pickup Truck Tires

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Many of the most popular tires for pickup trucks can be divided into two categories: all terrain and mud terrain (A/T and M/T). Whether your truck will be spending its time off-road, on the highway, or on a combination of terrains, choosing the right tire is vital to getting the ride characteristics you desire. We’ll examine the differences between M/T and A/T tires, helping you decide which tire will best suit your driving style.



Mud Terrain (M/T) Tires


Image of a Nitto Mud Grappler M/T tire
A Nitto Mud Grappler M/T tire. Note the tread overlapping the side of the tire.
A mud terrain tire is designed with off-road capability as the foremost consideration. A mud terrain tire will typically feature a small number of large tread blocks with relatively wide channels between them. The tread blocks are aggressively textured to provide maximum traction in dirt and mud. These tires often feature large sidewall lugs extending from the tread pattern as well, giving it an excellent grip on gravel and rock trails.

M/T tires such as the Nitto Mud Grappler will help transform your truck or SUV into a track-and-trail ready, off-road beast. However, it’s important to note that the no-compromise design of an M/T tire means that it is not optimal for highway use. On the road, an M/T tire can be very loud and less responsive to braking than an A/T or highway tire would be.

Pros

  • Ideal for dirt, mud, and rocky conditions
  • Maintains traction in off-road environments
  • Aggressive appearance

Cons

  • High amount of road noise
  • Harder on brakes
  • Lower mileage than highway and all terrain tires

All Terrain (A/T) Tires


Image of a Nitto Terra Grappler G2
All Terrain (A/T) tires provide a great balance of highway and off-road characteristics.
Designed to provide a compromise between off-road and highway tires, all terrain tires offer the best of both worlds. The tread blocks on an A/T tire are smaller and more plentiful than those on an M/T, with narrower channels between them. This results in quieter operation on the road, while still offering off-road traction and excellent performance in muddy terrain.

The less aggressive tread blocks and narrower siping channels don’t come without trade-offs. While suitable for both off-road and highway use, an A/T tire isn’t optimized for either, meaning an M/T will be more capable in the dirt and a highway tire will provide better mileage and handling on the road. However, if your truck is going to frequently see both types of terrain, an A/T tire such as the Nitto Terra Grappler G2 will give you the versatility you need.

Pros

  • Better mileage than M/T
  • More responsive and less noisy on highway and pavement
  • Suitable for both off-road and highway use

Cons

  • Less capable off-road than an M/T
  • Less mileage than most dedicated highway tires



Other Tread Patterns


Image of a Nitto Dura Grappler tire
The Nitto Dura Grappler is built to excel in wet and rainy conditions.
While A/T and M/T tires represent the most popular pickup truck tires on the road today, other tread patterns are available as well. The Dura Grappler is engineered with circumferential grooves that slice through rainwater to provide unparalleled performance on wet pavement, while other tires are designed specifically for sand, snow and other environments. If you have questions about these or any other tire formulations, contact our team of experts today. They’re standing by to help you choose the best rubber for your ride.