Tires can often power through many different conditions, but when it comes to the winter season, you’re better off getting different tires to cope with the ice and snow.
They will guarantee your winter driving goes off without a hitch and spare your usual tires from getting stuck.
We’ve compiled a list of our favorite ATV snow tires below and included pros and cons so you can see what makes them stand out at a glance.
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We’ve written a small buyer’s guide complete with a FAQ section so that you can read about what makes certain ATV tires suited to different terrains and surfaces and so better decide which tires are the best for what you want to do with them.
That way you won’t make the wrong purchase and get left out in the cold.
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Best ATV Tires In Snow – Comparison Table
Best ATV Tires In Snow – Reviews
Best ATV Tires In Snow – Buyer’s Guide
How to pick the best ATV tires for snowy conditions
As the seasons change you need to expect different conditions, but most tires will be able to handle both dried up, uneven ground and rain-soaked, wet ground. That said, conditions often get the most treacherous in winter.
This guide is to help you choose the best winter tires so that you can be prepared for when the snow starts falling. You’ll need to consider the types of tire you get based on the weather conditions and the terrain you’re driving on, as well as qualities of the tires themselves such as their lugs, their ply rating, and their tread depth and pattern.
For the purposes of this guide, we’ll focus on the types of tires that you should focus on based on their performances in different terrains and weather conditions, particularly in snowy and wintery conditions.
Your average ATV tires will be off-roaders for driving off the beaten track, or all-purpose tires so that they can drive on the road and off-road terrain. These should do you fine for the majority of the year, and aren’t really the focus of the list above, but it’s useful to explain the usual tires so that you don’t buy them thinking that they’re winter ones.
These all-terrain and mud tires differ in how aggressive they are, the mud tires being more aggressive than off-roader tires. Aggressivity in this context means that the tires have longer, more penetrative lugs and two inches of tread depth. The lugs are often spaced out to allow for mud to fall away, acting as a self-cleaning mechanism.
All-terrain tires aren’t as aggressive since that would hamper their ability to traverse roads and other calmer surfaces, so they have less tread depth and often squarer lugs. Sand ATV tires exist too, being bouncier and having more grip, but these are irrelevant for the purposes of this guide.
Snow tires, which are the ones we’re interested in for this guide, tend to have features of both mud and trail tires since they must be both durable against hard, icy surfaces but also able to churn through softer snow. This often means shorter lugs but larger spaces between them.
Lugs are rubber blocks or protrusions that stick out of your wheels to provide traction so that the tires don’t lose their grip and slip around, coming in varying lengths and curvatures depending on their intended performance. Most products that are designed to tackle mud will have them, from shoes to tires, and in this case, lugs are also essential on your snow tires.
As mentioned, lugs tend to be shorter than mud lugs but spaced out like you’d see on mud-performing tires, though there may be variations in design across brands and products.
Ply ratings will generally fall between two and six-ply. The higher the ply count, the stronger the tire will be. Stronger tires also tend to be more aggressive and have more traction, so try and opt for tires with more ply that’ll fit with your ATV.
There are two other types of tires whose differences are based entirely off of their ply, radial and bias-ply. Radial is usually better for light off-roading and can be found on commercial on-roader passenger vehicles. Bias-ply has sturdier sidewalls and so are more suited to heavy off-roading. This also means they’re usually six-ply, and so we’d recommend this type for snowy conditions.
Tread depth is the vertical measurement of tire grooves, and its measurement needs to be considered because it’s correlative to how long tires will generally last. Deeper treads are often on larger tires with thicker rubber, meaning heavier overall tires that come with their own benefits and detriments. For the purpose of driving through snow, heavier tires can be a good thing to have.
Since they provide added security and longevity to your tires, we’d recommend aiming for tires that have deeper treads, especially since they tend to be the heavier, six-ply rated tires that you should be looking at anyway when shopping for snow-performing tires.
In order to guide them where the terrain may throw them off track, tires have tread patterning on their surfaces. Tires are usually symmetrical, directional, or asymmetric in nature. Symmetrical tires are good for smoother driving and low rolling resistance, whereas asymmetric tires handle better and are more stable during turns.
A lot of ATV tires are directional since they’re off-roading tires. Directional tires perform better on snow and mud, hold well at higher speeds on uneven ground, and have high protection against hydroplaning. This is good as avoiding moisture is great for deep, snowy conditions where tires can get slippery and slide over the trails you’re riding on, especially if those trails are solid, like concrete or asphalt.
Are chains or studs better for winter-proofing?
Winter-proofing your ATV tires often use either chains or studs. You’ve probably seen chains being wrapped around tires for snow performance before. That’s also an option if you’re using your ATV for low speed on ice and snow, otherwise, you’re better off going with studs.
Studs are generally cheaper too, and you can get more use out of them by leaving them in all year round if they’re small enough. They also reduce the surface wear on your tires when compared to the chains and are better for traction at higher speeds. Chains are better than studs if you’re focusing on plowing and being able to ride on a variety of harder surfaces like concrete and asphalt where studs would wear down faster.
How long do ATV tires last?
This depends on a lot of factors so there isn’t one universal answer. Depending on the tire style, hardness of the rubber, general quality or age of the tires, and the surface those tires are riding on, ATV tires can last from a few hundred to 5k miles, so try to look after them as much as possible if you can.
This can roughly be translated into one or two years with heavy usage and five to ten years with light usage, but these are very general numbers that won’t apply to everybody. Just change your tires when you deem necessary, usually when it starts having a negative effect on the traction they offer. Older tires often do not perform as well, regardless of their mileage.
Are wider ATV tires better?
Bigger tires aren’t always the better ones, so be careful of falling into that trap. That said, for the purposes of driving through snow and mud, or uneven terrain, the added tire width is beneficial. This is the foremost mechanical advantage you’ll get out of wider tires. You should be sure that your ATV can support the weight of the tires, especially if they’re oversized for the ATV you’re riding on.
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