4x4 tyres from National
National sell a vast range of 4x4 tyres from well known, premium brand manufacturers including Avon 4x4 tyres, Bridgestone 4x4 tyres, Continental 4x4 tyres, Dunlop 4x4 tyres, Goodyear 4x4 tyres, Michelin 4x4 tyres and Pirelli 4x4 tyres to economy ranges such as Barum 4x4 tyres and Westlake 4x4 tyres which offer value for money and outstanding performance.
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What are 4 x 4 tyres?
Tyres are one of the most important parts of a vehicle; they are the only part to be in contact with the road and help you steer, brake and corner safely so it’s paramount that you select the right kind of tyres for your vehicle.
4x4 tyres are different from standard passenger tyres, as they are generally bigger with large rim diameter sizes and are designed to perform at higher speeds and cope on different terrains.
Most 4x4 vehicles are fitted with 18 or 19 inch 4x4 tyres fitments and have Y rated speed ratings which means they are capable of speeds of as much as 186mph. Some 4x4 tyres are as much as 22 inches.
To make sure you get the most from your 4x4 tyres you need to make sure you select the right type of 4x4 tyre for your needs.
4x4 tyres generally have two purposes, on-road and off-road use, so to choose the right 4x4 tyre you need to identify how much on and off-road driving you will do.
There are two main types of 4x4 tyres - all-terrain tyres and mud-terrain tyres.
All-terrain 4x4 tyres
All-terrain 4x4 tyres (AT tyres) are designed for both on and off-road use (50% / 50% split). These are a good choice if you do a lot of driving and for a mixture of purposes, both on-road and also off the beaten track.
Since they are designed to cope with uneven ground they tend to have chunkier tread designs and offer a less comfortable ride but offer acceptable grip for both on and off-road use.
Compared to standard tyres, all-terrain 4x4 tyres have a more robust pattern to minimise any impact from driving off-road.
Mud-terrain 4x4 tyres
Mud-terrain 4x4 tyres (MT tyres) are designed more for off-road than off use – about 80% off-road and 20% on-road. They are called mud-terrain as that is literally what they are designed for – to throw mud off and keep traction in the tyres.
This means they do well in uneven terrain so are the perfect choice for off-road driving enthusiasts. They are designed to have very deep tread, with wide gaps in between to give excellent grip on an uneven surface.
However this impacts upon other factors such as comfort and noise levels. Mud-terrain 4x4 tyres are also less good at performing on smoother surfaces, e.g. tarmac as braking distances greatly increase and they are less responsive with this type of tyre pattern.
Therefore they are not recommended for drivers who do a lot of on-road driving on-roads and motorways. Mud-terrain 4x4 tyres are also noisier due to their aggressive tread design.
While there are two main 4x4 tyre types, the popularity in 4x4 vehicles and the variety of their uses has meant that manufacturers have developed tyres to cope in different circumstances.
For these reasons, 4x4 tyres can be broken down into smaller sub groups according to requirements. These are:
Luxury 4x4 tyres
In recent years, the demand for 4x4 tyres had increased dramatically as it’s become fashionable to driver large vehicles, with luxury 4x4 the vehicle of choice for families as they provide extra space and improved safety features.
These types of vehicles are primarily for on-road use and as such require features of more standard tyres which provide excellent comfort, grip and stability and low noise, with very limited off-road ability (generally 80% on-road and 20% off-road).
Luxury 4x4 tyres tyres will have a more standard tyre pattern with fewer tread blocks to meet these demands.
Performance 4x4 tyres
Many 4x4 vehicles are designed with performance in mind which means the 4x4 tyres must be able to cope well at high speeds and in fast manoeuvres. These are generally for on-road use with a 95% on-road versus 5% off-road split.
The main requirement for 4x4 tyres like this is that they must offer car like performance (albeit high performance) but of course are fitted to a much larger, heavier vehicles.
To combat this obstacle, the tyre pattern is designed with directional tread patterns providing excellent performance in wet and dry and also includes special ingredients in the tyre tread such as silica technology for improved grip and handling.
However 4x4 tyres of this sort are not suited to winter weather, particularly snowy conditions, or off-road driving where they can more easily slip and lose grip.
Top Tyre Tip for 4x4 Tyres
Always fit the same type of 4x4 tyre on all wheels including the spare – fitting different types of tyres will seriously affect your vehicle’s handling, could risk your and safety and is illegal.
Like any tyre, 4x4 tyres need to have the tyre pressure, tread and general condition checked to ensure they meet legal requirements. Read about tyres and the law here.
Upsizing and 4x4 Tyres
Drivers of 4x4 vehicles are often car enthusiasts and enjoy improving the aesthetics and performance of their vehicle. For example, many choose to upgrade their vehicles to larger 4x4 tyres (which is called upsizing).
Upsizing your 4x4 tyres can be the simplest way to upgrade the performance of your vehicle. While the vehicle manufacturer selects the correct 4x4 tyres for your vehicle, the decision can be based on a compromise between performance, noise and comfort.
Therefore upsizing your 4x4 tyres can provide a number of advantages:
- Improved response and manoeuvrability
- Greater contact area with the ground
- More traction
- Greater overall control and handling
- A sleeker, more attractive and modern appearance
If you are interested in upsizing your 4x4 tyres, speak to National’s expert 4x4 tyre fitters who can advise you on different 4x4 tyres suitable for your vehicle.
Alloy wheels and 4x4 tyres
Many 4x4 vehicles come fitted with alloy wheels as standard, and for those that don’t, many drivers choose to upgrade to alloy wheels to improve the aesthetics of their vehicle, especially in the luxury and performance market.
Alloy wheels are lighter and dissipate braking heat better than their standard, steel counterparts so again they offer improved performance and efficiency benefits too.
A good choice for a larger, 4x4 vehicle when performance is important, alloy wheels reduce the unsprung weight and rotational mass so that less energy is required to accelerate, improving general performance.
With the reduced unsprung weight, the steering response is also improved as the suspension springs and shock absorbers have a greater reserve capacity to control body motion resulting in better handling.
Most alloy wheels are constructed of aluminium or magnesium, with varying trace quantities of other metals added for strength, corrosion resistance and ability to withstand fatigue.
Both aluminium and magnesium possess thermal conductivity properties far in excess of steel. As a result, they dissipate heat better, which results in better brake cooling and more consistent performance in stop-and-start conditions.
When it comes to choosing alloy wheels, the look and also driving comfort are important considerations.
At National we offer a range of alloy wheel packages from well-known brands including TSW, MAK, TSR,Advant, Beyern, Finichi, Kei Racing, Mandrus, Redbourne and Victor.
We offer a mixture of colours, finishes and style. Ask at any National branch for details about having alloy wheels fitted with your 4x4 tyres or visit our high performance site www.ntech.co.uk to view the available alloy wheels online.
4x4 tyres and the first 4x4 vehicles
The first 4x4 vehicle dates back to the late 1800s when a British engineer patented a 4 wheel drive vehicle for a traction engine, and was later included in Bramah's Pedrail wheel system which was one of the first vehicles designed to travel on difficult road surfaces.
Over the years many engineers and designers developed the 4x4 system bringing it closer to what it is known as today.
Early 4x4 vehicles were designed for use by the army in both the UK and United States during the first world war, so 4x4 tyres have quite a history!
With the creation of the Jeep, the 4x4 vehicle really found its place with the military as the best known four wheel drive vehicle and is still a well-known and popular brand name today.
As these vehicles developed over the years, so too did the tyres. This history is far apart from the luxury and high performance 4x4 motors we are familiar with today.
4x4 tyres were originally developed for use by farmers on tractors for use in the fields, designed with larger and tougher tread to deal with any terrain they encountered. 4x4 tyres on tractors and farming vehicles are far stronger than standard 4x4 tyres.
For more information about the history of four wheel drive vehicles and their tyres, click here.
At National we offer a massive range of 4x4 tyres whether you need 4x4 tyres for luxury, 4x4 tyres design for ultra-high performance or 4x4 tyres capable of some degree of off-road use, National has the right 4x4 tyres for you at a price you can afford.