How Long Do ATV Tires Last?

No tire is made to last forever, but ATV tires, even the most rugged ones, wear faster than your average tire. Learn more specifics about how long ATV tires last and how to extend their life.

Why Do ATV Tires Wear Much Faster Than Car Tires?

Car tires are made to grip and withstand the punishments of paved roads. They have a continuous thread pattern placing as much rubber against the road as possible, with much more solid material to wear down.

ATV tires are designed very differently so that they can overcome and grip the many surfaces you'll encounter while off-roading. They have large rubber lugs with large empty spaces between. This suits their job perfectly but provides less rubber surface to withstand wear.

How Often Should My ATV Tires Be Replaced?

atv mud tires.jpg

The life of an ATV tire is far too variable to provide an estimate. Depending on the tire, the terrain you frequently ride on, and how often you ride, your tires may last anywhere from one year to more than 5 years or a few hundred miles to more than 5,000 miles. Some can last 10 years.

Use

Asphalt and other pavements are the hardest surfaces on tires, then rocks. Rocks can not only wear but tear tires. Gravel provides moderate punishment. Dirt and sand are a little easier on tires. Mud and grass are much easier on tires, and snow and ice are the easiest.

This means you should ride on pavement as little as possible. For other surface types, just be mindful that your tires will need replacement sooner if you ride on rocks or trails more often than you ride on grass and mud. Make sure to use the correct tire type for your riding needs also.

Quality

Cheap tires will wear fast and may crack even before they wear down. They may provide poor and/or unreliable traction too. Avoid the cheapest tires. If you're budget-conscious, go for a mid-range tire and aim for the more reliable brands.

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Type

You'll need to make sure you're choosing the right tires for the job. They are designed for different surfaces and different types of riding, so if you use the wrong tires, they may not perform and they will wear faster.

Stock tires

The average tires that come on an ATV are chosen with cost and weight in mind, not longevity. They can last multiple years of average riding time on softer ground, but if you ride on trails or rocky terrain, their life will be drastically reduced.

High-performance tires

It seems like high-performance tires would last longer, but it often works in reverse. They aren't designed to last. They are made of soft, sticky rubber that grips snow, ice, mud, and other surfaces for greater performance. This soft rubber wears down faster than a harder rubber would, so you are actually sacrificing longevity for performance.

Mud tires

Mud tires are made of soft or medium rubber with an aggressive thread pattern to provide the best traction in slippery, deep mud. They serve you well in snow too. If you use them on harder terrain, they'll wear fast.

Sand tires

Sand or paddle tires are made for one purpose, tackling sand. It's virtually impossible to ride just on sand, because you'll likely have to use some pavement or tackle some rocks to get to the sand, so their life is relatively limited. They could last several seasons or roughly 500-1,000 miles if you care for them and are lucky.

Rock climbing tires

Rock climbing tires that are made specifically for rough terrain consist of hard rubber with a steel-belted design that resists punctures and tears. These may be DOT approved and are your best choice for rocky terrain, trails, and pavement.

General purpose tires

All-terrain tires balance the various needs of different terrain to give you the best shot at longevity and performance no matter where you ride. These are common ATV tires and are good for trail riding and riders who tackle a variety of terrain. They are not effective for anything extreme, like the deepest mud or racing.

Racing tires

Racing tires are made with speed and hard-surface traction in mind. They consist of light, soft materials that do their job very well but are not expected to last long. They shouldn't be used on other terrain, and you should expect to replace them often, perhaps as often as every ride.

Signs You Need to Replace Tires

atv tire puncture fix.jpg
Image from www.boostatv.com

Tire wear is more complicated than you probably expect. The tire tread can wear down, but they can also crack, become too hard, or tear.

You should check your tires before and every ride. Your tires need replacement when they are:

  • balding at 50% or more
  • cracked anywhere
  • visibly punctured or not retaining air
  • missing a lug
  • vibrating or wobbling even after having them rotated
  • humming or thumping
  • losing traction
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