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Old 10-11-2010, 06:16 PM   #1
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Why are mud tires bad in the winter?

I live in NE Ohio and every other year we tend to get a lot of snow [like the global warming of 2009]. It'll be my first winter with my JK, and being a Mountain edition it has the same Mud Terrain tires as the Rubicon. I keep reading that mud tires are bad for the snow and am wondering why? I don't see why the aggressive tread would be bad for snow, especially on unplowed streets. Now, I've driven 4x4 vehicles in the past with all-terrain tires and all-season tires, fwd and rwd vehicles as well. In my area, driving with common sense goes a long way, but a lot of people don't have that [Great Lakes members know what I'm talking about]. So could someone fill me in why mud tires are bad in the winter?

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:21 PM   #2
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You could survive with them on but from what i understand, the biggest problem with running a mud tire in the snow is that the mud tire wants to dig into the snow because of the large gaps where the preferred means is to float over it.

I could be wrong of course...

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:47 PM   #3
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I always looked at it the opposite way. I would think that you WANT to dig down so you can get some traction on the blacktop below. I could also be wrong....
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:50 PM   #4
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From what I've heard, lack of siping. The lugs are smooth and won't bite into packed snow or ice.

Siped tire:


Mud tire:


Notice the smooth lugs on the mud, and the aggressive siping on the snow tire?
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Old 10-11-2010, 06:56 PM   #5
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From what I've heard, lack of siping. The lugs are smooth and won't bite into packed snow or ice.

Siped tire:


Mud tire:


Notice the smooth lugs on the mud, and the aggressive siping on the snow tire?
Yep, siping helps with rain, ice and snow to some degree. Smooth lugs on a mud tire just slip as the heat from the tires melts the snow....
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:07 PM   #6
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idk what you guys are talking about, my TrXus MT's are the only reason I can move in the snow

These things are magic

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Old 10-11-2010, 07:09 PM   #7
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siping works by allowing water to displace from the flat surfaces of those flat surface can grip the pavement. though i have no experience with mud tires in the snow, there are mud tires with quite a bit of siping. though with snow you do want a thinner tire so it can cut into the snow, you definitely do NOT want to be floating on the snow, you would be spinning out constantly.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:24 PM   #8
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Only reason i said floating was off of this site...

Mud tires in the snow...is this bad? - Off-Road Forums & Discussion Groups

told ya i could be wrong haha
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:27 PM   #9
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Yes siping helps. now when we get over 4" my mud tires are awesome.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:31 PM   #10
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x2 with Vaultzz

I run Dunlop Mud Rovers (don't judge me not my best choice) but they were MONSTERS in the snow and we got 14+ inches last winter.
Name:  MudRover.jpg
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I can see how if narrow they could dig down and get to a bottom layer of ice but mine are at 12.50 wide and were wide enough not to do so.

I pulled about 6 vehicles out of ditches this past winter like I was a 20 ton wrecker.
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Old 10-11-2010, 07:46 PM   #11
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It comes down to the drive and how he/she feels the their ride. Heavy foot on the gas or the brake are obvious errors. Bottom line tires do make a difference but on a slick surface you just have to know you ride and how to drive it.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:20 PM   #12
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My Baja Claws work wonders in the snow.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:25 PM   #13
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Glad to hear about the Claws! Thats what I run and have a road trip to Colorado pland this Jan.
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Old 10-11-2010, 08:29 PM   #14
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I love mine. Some people bitch about how they wear. As long as you keep them balanced and watch your tire pressure, there's no reason why you can't get a ton of miles out of them. I've had mine for 2.5 years and they still have well over half of their original tread left on them. Some people bitch about the noise they make.....yes, they're somewhat loud, but not as loud as Swampers. They get crazy traction if you're not too wild with the skinny pedal. I've been super happy with my Claws in every offroading medium I've had them in, including rocks, sand, mud, snow, and loose gravel.
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:19 PM   #15
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I personal love the road noise the tires make. I like the agressive look it gives the jeep and it's my DD and i don't see to bad of wear. I agree rotate mine (front to back) about every 5k or when i do my oil, which too is about 5-8k (love that royal purple).
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Old 10-11-2010, 11:40 PM   #16
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My jeep came with supersport radial HT's 30x9.5. They have insane traction I wish I could find them to put them on again. I almost never had to go in 4 wheel drive with the snow.....actually I just didn't want to I like to kick it out sideways here and there (nothing to extreme). In the mud they did excellent. Went through a long trail with mud atleast 6 inches deep no problem in 4hi. I wish I could find these tires again (need new tires before winter comes along)
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Old 10-12-2010, 10:59 AM   #17
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I run toyo a/t's on my f350 diesel and m/t's on the jeep. haven't gotten stuck yet. knock on wood. note love fresh snow.
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Old 10-12-2010, 12:54 PM   #18
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My BFGs do well in the snow and ice here in Oregon, but I think it is also due to driver ability. My MTs are siped:

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:58 PM   #19
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^ I take it you siped those yourself correct?
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Old 10-12-2010, 02:24 PM   #20
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Those don't look like sipes. They look like dry rot.
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Old 10-12-2010, 03:56 PM   #21
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it has alot to do with tire compound not just tread. the softer compound in a mud/summer tire will get hard and slick in the cold.
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Old 10-12-2010, 04:01 PM   #22
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^ I take it you siped those yourself correct?
I guess they don't look professionally done, but they were siped by America's Tire. When they were brand new.

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Those don't look like sipes. They look like dry rot.
I hope it isn't dry rot. I had the 33x10.5 tires on the Jeep for over 3 years now and they haven't given me any issues to date (despite the constant air downs and CO2 refills that they receive).
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:31 PM   #23
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it has alot to do with tire compound not just tread. the softer compound in a mud/summer tire will get hard and slick in the cold.
Not following you there. A harder compound tire will do the same thing. Care to elaborate?
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Old 10-12-2010, 05:39 PM   #24
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I forgot to throw in that when driving in the snow I'll grab 6; 50lb sandbags and throw them in the back to help even out traction weight, and it really does help

Not really tire related but meh
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:24 PM   #25
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I forgot to throw in that when driving in the snow I'll grab 6; 50lb sandbags and throw them in the back to help even out traction weight, and it really does help

Not really tire related but meh
I made it through a number of winters with an 85 Delta 88 doing that...RWD, no abs, traction control, stability control...heck not even a limited slip!! And I lived on a hill...with my driveway going up another hill off the main road (I literally tossed the thing into the driveway hoping for enough grip to turn the car while maintaining enough momentum to get up the hill ).

Granted it wasn't the kind of snow that some areas get (I think the most we got was around 6")...but with a bit of weight and paying a lot of attention to momentum, I was pretty happy with its performance
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Old 10-12-2010, 06:39 PM   #26
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Not following you there. A harder compound tire will do the same thing. Care to elaborate?
no they dont. i dont know why but the snow tires are made a different way.

also rubber, of any compundhas trouble sticking to snow. the self cleaning charachteristics of a mud tire is bad for that reason. snow tires are designed to hold in some snow to create friction.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:09 PM   #27
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I guess they don't look professionally done, but they were siped by America's Tire. When they were brand new.



I hope it isn't dry rot. I had the 33x10.5 tires on the Jeep for over 3 years now and they haven't given me any issues to date (despite the constant air downs and CO2 refills that they receive).
It may not be dry rot, that's just what it looked like in that pic. Hopefully it isn't.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:15 PM   #28
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I live in Utah and don't have problems with my mtrs but I heard the snow packs in the gaps and you lose traction. But I haven't experienced this.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:36 PM   #29
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I have to say I am a bit confused by the talk of a soft tire compound being bad in the winter. Every thing i have ever encountered states that softer is better in the winter. A summer tire that gets good wear will be rock hard in the winter with no grip due to a harder compound and the cold making it even harder, while a softer compound tire, which is what snow tires use, stays more flexible and will have more traction in the cold at the expense of faster wear if used in warmer weather.

I have run Maxxis Bighorns for a few winters and they were hands down the best tire I have had on a pick up in the winter, They have some siping, and that does make a world of difference on packed down roads etc I live in Maine so a foot or more of snow at a time is rather common and we never had a storm that required me to plow or shovel to get out.
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Old 10-12-2010, 08:47 PM   #30
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I agree about the baja claws,I ran 33/12.50 and every time my neighbor would get his toys out to play in the snow I would have to jump in the jeep and join in on the fun I couldnt get those tires to slide anywhere,as far as rocks they didnt hook up untill they where about wore out.I just recently put 35/12.50 km2se hope I get the traction in snow like I did with the claws,on rock the km2s got them beat by a long shot!

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