In case you like to rev up your vehicle on gravel roads, then you surely know how bad this can be with the improper tire. Such a soft tread with rocks will chew up and damage the tire in the blink of an eye, and it doesn’t matter if this is a car or truck. It can be confusing to choose the best tires for gravel roads recommended, so we are here to assist you in the choice.
The best car tires for gravel roads are made specifically for the needs of drivers who are constantly on the said roads, or the countryside – visitors or residents, it’s the same in this case. When there are inferior surfaces and unpaved, uneven roads, normal tires are a big no! They are not just uncomfortable, but they can be difficult to use, and even worse, hazardous.
The question that most offen pops up is how much does gravel damage the tires of the vehicle? Regardless of what type the road is; dirt, peat, mixed gravel, or rock, all of these will certainly affect the vehicle, starting from the windshield to the undercarriage.
Gravel roads will impact the vehicle functions and its looks in many ways. If you learn the damage causes and the outcomes, you can control this to some extent.
Best Tires for Gravel Roads
Firestone Transforce AT2
- Great wet and dry traction
- Good for light-terrain
- Good performance when used with heavy loads
- Winter performance needs improvement
- Comfort can be better
The Firestone Transforce is the tire that launched in 2017, and it was meant for vans, light trucks, and of course, for muddy roads and all types of terrain. This tire features a tread that is resistant to chipping and cuts as well; the tread is unique with a specific pattern. It is suitable for vans, SUVs, and pickups
The tread design is deep and this makes it easier to withstand any challenges on the gravel road ahead, such as rocks or ruts. Let’s add harsh off-pavement surfaces too. The tread blocks and open shoulders improve the traction over dirt and debris roads, different kinds of terrain and sand too. At the same time, the grip on the street is increased with the tread to road footpring, and there is an amazing traction.
The Transforce AT2 has quite large circumferential grooves, and design of multiple sipes for enhancing the wet road traction. Further, it features extra sipes, and extra-deep depth of the tread for enhancing the slush and snow traction (and similar winter conditions).
On the inside, the Transforce AT2 has two belts of steel (high-tensile), and they are further reinforced with nylon that is spirally wrapped. This gives the tire more durability and better strength. Plus, the team of Firestone also used two-ply casing with this tire, for extra comfort (even though this aspect might need a boost)
Why this tire?
The Transforce will amaze you with the wet and dry traction, and the light-terrain performance is very solid as well. The comfort is not there yet perfect as you would want it to be, but still, don’t forget this isn’t a winter tire, so if you have this in mind you can use it as a great choice for the rest of the seasons.
Atturo Trail Blade A/T
- Increased traction from the siping (on wet roads)
- Rim protection
- Stone ejector
- Better handling due to shoulder blocks design
- Great dry road performance
- Great rocky and gravel terrain performance
- Amazing stability and grip
- Loose soil traction is mediocre
Atturo Trail Blade A/T was uniquely designed with a special compound that creates a durable and solid tire. This tire will be great on SUVs and light trucks, for great eprformance on off-road and also regular roads.
This might not be the ultimate best tire out there, but it will certainly be good for tough surfaces and it features a deep tread too. Such a deep tread that has 3-ply construction also adds more tear and cut resistance for extra protection against the gravel damage. As a plus, this tire also has a good price, so you will spend reasonably.
Why this tire?
We can’t neglect the fact that there is some slight noise with these tires. Or that for loose soil, the performance is…average. But, on all other roads, the traction is great. The rim will be protected, it comes with stone ejector as well, and all other performances are amazing. It’s worth menioning that it comes with a great, affordable price!
Nitto Ridge Grappler
- Snow, wet, and dry performance
- Wear and tear
- Summer usage
Nitto came up with the mud-terrain and all-terrain tire Ridge Grappler that has some pretty great features. This tire outstands with the aspects of mileage, wet and dry traction, snow performance, ergonomics, off-road excellence, silence and comfort, and even wear and tear. The Grappler will fulfill almost all if not all requirements you have in a tire – especially for off-road use.
The off-road scene is taken by storm with the Ridge Grappler. This is a one of a kind hybrid of a tyre that combines a regular mud tire with all-terrain tire, but without the flaws of them. It became even more popular considering the price it has, and plus because it ticks most boxes for a multi-purpose tire.
The Grappler will keep going, where other tires would stop ‘to gasp for breath’, and it offers amazing all-weather features as well as off-road features. With this tire, the drive will be comfy and silent too.
The Grappler is also great for dry and wet roads! Yes, it’s true, it covers these as well. Basically, what you got here is an all-terrain tire that performs as mud tire, and on the streets it performs as an all-season, high-performance type.
It has steady traction, solid braking, and handling as well. It has chunky tread blocks, and it supresses road noise. There are lateral Z grooves for better pavement bite, and unique design for clearing mud, debris, and snow. Don’t worry if the roads are full of dirt, debris, snow, slush, water – this tire can handle it well.
Why this tire?
A super-comfy tire that has amazing ergonomics. Affordable, amazing performance on all weather conditions…except summer. But, the comfort, off-road handling, and price should be great enough factors for now.
Falken Wildpeak A/T3W
- Traction and handling
- Wet and dry performance
- Braking, cornering, acceleration with great responsiveness
- Muddy roads, rocks, grass handling
- Readucing of heat buildup
- Good price
- Minor vibration and slight noise on highways
If you need a tire with great off-road features, and all-season usage as well, along with comfort, this is the tire for you. The Japanese brand Falken made this tire for tackling all terrains in basically all weather conditions.
The Wildpeak belongs to the all-terrain and all-weather type of tire fit for SUVs, light trucks, and crossovers. It is perfect for muddy roads as well as daily rides. But, this tire mostly shines on rugged terrains. It’s not that it’s bad for highways or pavement roads, in fact, it delivers great manners there as well.
The engineers really hit the jackpot here, this tire is flawlessly brilliant on rough surfaces, great on pavement, safe and stable in dry, wet, and snow roads as well. And, it has an affordable price!
It has an aggressive upper sidewall and outer apex sidewall for protection of the inside casing. It is durable on rough terrains, and won’t let any sharp rocks get stuck. Another thing is the heat diffuser technology – for the protection of the inner parts, dissipating heat and keeping crucial areas cool. In turn, this will enhance the whole vehicle’s stbility.
The team of Falken used 3D canyon Sipe technology too; for wear resistance with interlocking of shoulders and more stability. Then, the rigid, tread, rugged blocks add more to the stability and improve the contact patch. Small stones won’t get stuck in the grooves for sure.
Lastly, there is silica compound of the tread that improves the treadlife and wet performance too. This silica is combined with deep tread as well, so both these features ensure a long wear, hydroplaning resistance and amazing snow performance too.
Why this tire?
You wouldn’t mind the vibration and minor sound on the road, because the Wildpeak A/T3W is durable, comfy, reasonably priced, and great for off-road, wet and dry performance.
Cooper Discoverer A/T3
- Great grip on dry and wet roads
- Snow performance
- Off-road terrain
- Pricey, but a good value for the money
All-terrain roads can be a huge problem if you don’t have the right tires. But, with the A/T3 this will be a breeze. The tread design of these tires is extremely good and balanced, so there will be amazing wet as well as dry traction when you are on the highway. And, for off-road the perfomance will be just as solid and great.
As we mentioned, the tread pattern is solid and attractive, but it also has a design of five ribs for more stability and amazing on-road handling. The center rib is divided and it enhances the off-road traction a lot. The performance is improved here as well, while at the same time the on-road quality of performance is superb.
The shoulder design is aggressive and it has addition of traction for soft surfaces, and it also makes the tire look fancier. The thick grooves all around the circumference add to the overall performance too.
A/T3 can boast with a unique siping design with zigzag pattern. These sipes lessen the road noise and prolong the treadwear too. The sipes also remove any stones or small pebbles – resulting in greater stability.
There is lateral protection too because of the grooves, and they also provide more protection from pebbles and stones getting stuck on the tire surface. This tire can basically clean itself, so you can’t say this isn’t impressive. A/T3 has the special venting as well and this gives the tire a classy appearance. In the tread, there are many miro-vents placed, hence the final result.
The wet performance is simply perfect. The tread is made with silica and is suitable for wet performance, there is no risk of wet slips, and the turns and cornering will be firm and stable.
Why this tire?
With the Discoverer A/T3, you know you will give a good sum of money for the amazing quality they come with. It is worth it. They are silent, good for off-road, wet, as well as dry roads…and even snow!
Kumho Road Venture AT51
- Off-road traction
- Even treadwear for longer
- Wet performance
- Snow performance
- Good value for money
- Ride comfort can be better
- Deep mud traction
The Kumho Road Venture AT51 was first launched in 2015 as an all-terrain tire. It was made for drivers of light duty pickups, SUVs, and jeeps. This tire has many features for good traction, mostly in the snow, but there is the long treadlife and good comfort as well.
Kumho used the special dual silica compound for the tread, and this was created for cuts withstanding, or prevention from bruising and cuts on the rough off-road surfaces. The Venture has full-depth circumferential grooves (stepped) and this contributes to the loose dirt traction and gravel off-road traction.
The tread blocks are tapered and this simplifies things for cleaning out. Not just this, the mud performance is great, and of course the snow and slush too. You might even notice that the tread will pack up less than other tires of this category. Kumho AT51 is amazing for harsh winter conditions too, because it has the mountain snowflake emblem. But, what to expect traction-wise? The same quality you would have with Michelin, Cooper, Yokohama, BFGoodrich and similar.
The AT51 is a very quiet tire that does not lessen the comfort. The tread design is symmetric and combined with pitch tread blocks, 2-ply polyester cord body, and jointless bead bundles – all removing the road noise.
In the tread on the inside, there are 2 belts of steel with nylon wrapped spirally – this is for extra durability and strength. The heat on the tread will be reduced as well, and the distortion and buildup too. With this, you will get a much longer treadlife.
Why this tire?
This tire has stunningly long treadwear and is amaing for off-road, snow, and wet roads. It has a good price, but choose this one if you are not driving in deep mudd or similar areas.
BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A K02
- Wet and dry traction
- Snow traction
- Toughness and durability
- Nothing worth mentioning
The all-terrain tire by BFGoodrich is of the 4th generation of the all-terrain tires from this company. It was first the idea to aim at the jeep, pickup truck and SUV drivers, and this tire is the outcome for off-road use on all types of terrains, giving you full control on all weather conditions, and tricky wearing durabilities. It’s one of the best all terrain tire for gravel.
The team here used a good sidewall compound of rubber that is extremely thick maybe double the previous versions, and much tougher too. This tire is very durable and strong because it has two belts of steel, strengthened with nylon and with sidewall of polyester cord, the TriGard.
Just as the original tire of this generation, the design here is aimed for long wear and even longer durability. It is computer-optimized with good molding technique, and it has an interlocking block of the tread fit for all terrains. Such tread design will further improve the icy and wet performance.
The K02 has 10% more traction if you use it on mud, andwhole astonishing 19% on snow. It also features side biter lugs with rubber blocks that protrude into the sidewalls and they enhance the mud and snow traction. It doesn’t stop here – the rock climbing traction is just as great when airing down!
The tread area with the shoulders also has raised bars (known as mud buster bars) and these remove the mud that otherwise would hinder the soft soil traction.
K02 has the snowflake logo and this means it would be fit for harsh winters or mountains. The 3D sipes are unique and they lock around the tread with biting edges to grip fiercely the ice and snow.
Some all terrain tires are known to produce certain noises on the road or to have bad comfort, but K02 does not disappoint here. The noise is nothing big here as you would expect, and the design should take the credit for this.
The tread compound is resistant to cuts, chips, and tears, so the tire will last a long time. If you live in a rural area, this tire will not show a bad and short treadlife, so this is good news for you.
Why this tire?
Probably the best one so far; there aren’t major flaws to mention, there aren’t even some flaws to begin with! It is durable, tough, amazing for off-road, wet, dry, snow roads, and it will be money well spent (price is affordable too). One of the longest lasting tire for gravel roads.
Goodyear Wrangler SilentArmor
- Dry and wet traction
- Light terrain and off-road handling
- Snow and ice
- Treadlife is excellent
- Comfort and no noise
- Deep mud performance can be better
- Tires are a bit heavy which can impact the balance
The Silent Armor by Goodyear is the high-performance off-road and on-road tire. It features the DuPont Kevlar, and it is designed with the purpose of better tough terrain traction. It is suitable for pickups, vans, jeeps, and SUVs.
The tread compound is Durawall 5 enhanced with silica, and with Kevlar as addition – these provide ultimate protection in case of cuts and punctures. The tread pattern is symmetric for enhanced wet, dry, and snow traction. The Silent Armor was shaped and designed with the snowlfake/mountain sign, so no worries if you need to use it in severe winter conditions.
As we said, Silent Armor was made with a layer of Kevlar, which adds more to the strength factor, and the other benefit of this is the smooth and quiet ride due to less noise and vibrations. The off-road performing is amazing due to the tread traction ridges; they give better bites in mud, snow, wet, or gravel conditions.
On the inside, there is the so called Armor Zone. This is basically two belts of high-tensile steel strenghtened with Kevlar to get more durability too. The rim guard protects the wheels from any curb damages or any off-road obstacles. Goodyear gives a 50.000 miles guarantee.
Why this tire?
You might want to skip using this tire for extremely deep mud, because they will be more fit for other uses, plus they are a bit heavy. However, you will do good with Silent Armor on ice, snow, dry, wet, off-road, and light-terrain.
General Grabber AT 2
- Great acoustics
- 5 tread rows with several traction angles
- Good for severe snow conditions
- A bit pricey
- Stiffness on solid grounds
If you want an upgrade from the regular all-season tire, to an aggressive tire for all terrains, this might be a good option. The Grabber AT2 is the on and off-road tire made by General Tire and it will not fail when performance is required. It is fit for both SUVs and light trucks, and it features an aggressive tread great on all weather conditions.
If you compare this to an all-season tire, this one is fit for all-terrain and it can be used all-year round too.
We have to mention the dry performance briefly. This tire is way more aggressive than all regular tires for daily use, but despite this, it is amazingly good on dry and wet roads. With this tire, you will have the daily usage reliability for sure. The AT2 is great for a work truck for example, because they offer the performance you would need, without the risk of being stuck. And, if you are an eager camper enthusiast, the off-road performance will make you satisfied.
As a main function, this tire is an off-road tire. It has 5 rows of irregular shape blocks for best possible traction on dry roads as well as off-road performance. The treads are deep, more than on other tires, so off-road traction will be increased, and the tire will grip amazingly on gravel and sand roads.
You have to look out for one thing – in case you don’t have mud flaps, some paint could be chipped from the rig.for extremely deep mudm they are not perfect, but for soft or boggy areas they are super-good.
In wet conditions, this tire is just as great as in dry roads. The tread is deep and this allows for water to be evacuated away from the wheel – heavy rain will not be an obstacle here. The stopping happens very quickly, which is another bonus.
Most all-terrain tires are problematic on wet roads, but not this one. The Grabber will make you confident, even in the rain. And to add more good things, it is even awesome on snow and ice! This tire has tiny indents, so you can even add studs if you need to.
Why this tire?
The AT2 is a bit expensive, and a tad stiff on solid roads, but it will last a long time, plus, it can be used on snow too.
- Snow and ice traction
- Gravel roads performance
- Durability and toughness
- There is some noise noticed
- On the highway, there is a rough feel of the ride
Toyo M-55 is a tire primarily designed for all-terrain purposes and is fit for those that drive 4×4 vehicles or pickups.it features a rugged design of the tread and even tougher construction, so M-55 is made for delivering super-strong performance when is much needed for off-road, but the treadlife is nothing short of perfection as well.
The team of Toyo here used the chip and cut resistant compound for the tread, and it was combined with the aggressive block which was optimized with a computer. We must not forget to mention the lug tread for severe and extreme service.
There is also a 3-ply construction of the sidewall, and reinforcement of the casing for most sizes; it can withstand rocks and debris in the off-road conditions. Plus, the loading capacity of the tire is increased because of this.
The deep tread with extra sipes allows for good wet traction when you are on the highway, so let’s emphasize, you won’t have to fear hydroplaning as well. The biting edges on the M-55 enhance the ice and snow grip and here the tire excells! Additionally, if you are eager to use studs for more ice traction, you can, because the M-55 allows for it.
Why this tire?
Don’t mind the slight noise, because this tire is durable, and amazing for gravel, snow, and icy roads. If you don’t plan on using it on the highway, it would be a good choice otherwise.
So, which tires should you choose if you’re still not sure what you need?
If you have to choose between these 10 examples of gravel tires we have mentioned, let’s try and sum it up a bit.
Bae don least ‘cons’ out of all, we would point out to the top 4:
- Firestone Transforce AT2 – It is not a winter-suitable tire, and you might notice some room for comfort improvement, but the Transforce AT2 shows amazing dry and wet performance, and also heavy loads performance. This will be handy if you are constantly using it for your demanding job on all types of terrains.
- Nitto Ridge Grappler – might not be great for summer usage, but it excells in all other aspects.
- Cooper Discoverer – another pricey tire, but at least you know you will invest in good quality, so it will be worth it. It is self-cleaning too, which comes in handy.
- BFGoodrich All Terrain T/A K02 – and probably the best choice with no flaws noted, not even ones to mention. Amazing treadlife, and long-lasting quality.
Frequently Asked Questions
What kind of damage could occur?
There are two most common ones – chipped paint and chipped windshield. But, if we focus on tires only, then this is a whole new topic. Not just the tires themselves, but wheel frames will suffer too. To avoid this, invest your time in choosing the best gravel tires, and if needed, invest budgets too. It will be worth it.
And how does this damage occur precisely?
Gravel roads are made of tiny rocks and dirt mixed. Certain roads in the countryside are just dirt, and some are just big rocks and small rocks. When the thread of your tires passes on such a surface, and as the speed increases over the rocks, these rock pieces basically fly off in the air, i.e., they are thrown from the tire into the air. Such gravel chunks and debris will most likely end up hidden under the vehicle. And, it can fly up and smash or hit the vehicle sides, or the back.
What about tire damage precisely?
Tires in this category are often replaced even before the tread has worn down fully. This happens because of the chunking and chipping of the rubber on the tread. In case the tread damage is too serious and deep, water can easily get inside all the way to the steel belt, which is under the tread.
If this happens, the steel will rust on the inside, so the tire will fail overtime because of the separation of the tread. Early tire replacement is very serious, and will cost a lot, so investing in the best gravel road tires is crucial.
How can you know if damage has already occured?
One clear sign is the sound. You will hear when gravel hits the vehicle, or its bottom, and another sign is the rattling sound while you drive.
Can damage be prevented in any way?
To drive slow and safe is the obvious advice. Also, it goes without saying that investing in good gravel road tires is a no brainer. Such tires have to feature amazing tire pressure for the ultimate best road grip.
Picking out the best gravel road tires is not something easy. As with any category of tires, you have to look at the pros and cons, and decide what is best for your vehicle and your budget.
Before you pick out the right gravel tire, consider the factors like: whether you drive on highways or all-terrain most of the time, or something else. Whether you need them to be good for winter or not, and so on. Narrow these down, look for budget-friendly (if you must), and you are set to go!