Are ATV and UTV Tires the Same?
Because they’re similar, many people may place all-terrain vehicles (ATV) and utility task vehicles (UTV) in the same category. The primary difference is that ATVs are typically for single-riders, whereas UTVs can seat passengers. When shopping for new ATV or UTV tires, is there a difference between them? Nope! ATV and UTV tires are generally the same in that they differ from the tires used for cars and trucks. The primary differences you’ll come across is specific use – the size, tread designs, and function all impact how your ATV or UTV will perform. Naturally, you’ll need specific tires for ATV racing that won’t do an UTV used for farm work any favors. Here are a few important factors to consider when shopping for ATV or UTV tires.
- Tire Sizing
When looking at tire sizes, you’ll notice that sizing for ATV/UTV tires differs from regular tires. For instance, you may see tires with this listed on the sidewall: 30x10.00 R14. This sizing information gives you the diameter
- 30 = tire diameter/overall height in inches at its proper operating air pressure
- 10.00 = tire width in inches at the proper operating air pressure
- R = the tire’s construction type. In this case, it’s radial.
- 14 = the wheel/rim size in inches
This information helps you determine which size tire or construction type you need for your ATV or UTV.
Tread Designs: As with all tires, tread designs have a purpose. Not only do they provide grip and traction, but ATV and UTV riders choose tires for specific applications, terrains, and/or riding styles. If you lived in a very sandy location, like the beach, you’d choose sand tires for your ATV or UTV. They’re designed to move lightly across sand and scoop it as your drive along. There are also mud tires that ensure superior grip while traversing muddy, wet terrain. Consider how you primarily use your ATV or UTV to help inform your decision.
Construction: ATV and UTV tires feature either a bias ply or a radial construction. The letter ‘D’ is used to represent bias play, where ‘R’ is used for radial. Bias ply tired are made of layers (referred to as cords) of rubber-coated plies of fabric placed in 30-degree angles. This allows them to flex and navigate rocky environments really well. Nylon is a common fabric option for these. Radial tires are created in two parts. First, the tire casing has a single layer of rubber-coated steel cables that arc from bead to bead. Next, several rubber-coated steel plies create steel belts placed beneath the tread to stabilize the crown. These work to resists punctures and cuts.
Each type has its own advantages. Radial tires run cooler than bias ply tires and promote better fuel efficiency. Plus, they have better traction and flotation than bias ply tires. On the other hand, bias ply tires are more cost-efficient, have a smoother ride, designed with stronger sidewalls, and are easier to repair. Where you might choose radial tires for track racing, you’d choose bias tires for general use like farm work or hunting and rough, rocky terrain. Tires are a major investment for any vehicle, so knowing which type of ATV or UTV tire you need involves the construction of the tire.
While there is no difference between ATV and UTV tires, there are many unique characteristics that play a part when choosing new tires for either vehicle. How you use your ATV or UTV will help you make your decision for your next tire purchase.