Tires are designed to fit certain vehicles, with truck tires coming in as a wholly different category than the tires for a sedan or even a minivan. A truck tire is designed to manage the heavier loads of a truck, especially if that truck is towing something. There’s also the potential for some serious off-road adventuring when you have a pickup truck, and that, too, requires a tire that’s up to the task. In addition to off-road truck tires, there are snow tires and performance tires as well as a wide range of all-season tires from which to choose.
Along with considering the conditions you’ll be driving in, it’s important to consider how important comfort and tread life are to your buying decision. Big, beefy off-road tires may take you through mud and over rocks, but they’re not ideal for highway cruising, where they tend to feel sloppy and produce more noise. It might be better to consider an all-season tire with good on-road manners for better passenger comfort. Some tires have no tread life warranty at all, while others cover you for up to 70,000 miles or six years of driving.
It’s a lot to consider, so we did the research and chose the best truck tires across a range of categories designed to appeal to different drivers. We looked at what experts had to say about truck tires and even reached out to a few for their input in picking the best new tires for your truck.
As you look through our list, consider how you drive and your priorities. It doesn’t matter if your neighbor has monstrous off-road tires with beefy tread blocks that make his light truck look cool. If you never plan to go off-road, those tires probably aren’t right for you. It’s all about picking tires that fit your vehicle and suit your driving habits, whether it’s tires for your truck or a sedan. If it’s truck tires you’re after, there’s one on our list that’s perfect for you. Make sure to also read on afterward for pickup truck tire shopping and care tips.
This Cooper tire is designed for on-road and off-road driving, making it a versatile option that combines capability with comfort. It’s an all-season tire with high ratings for wet, dry and snow performance. There’s also the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol on the Discoverer AT3 4S sidewall to indicate it’s rated for severe snow service. The tread uses a silica-based compound with an all-terrain pattern to deliver traction on pavement or off-road, while Aqua Vac Channels lead water away from the contact patch. The outboard grooves on the tire help improve traction in the snow and steel belts improve stability and handling. A six-year or 65,000-mile tread life warranty is included.
Our runner-up best truck tire overall pick is an all-season pickup truck tire that has excellent consumer and expert reviews with top marks for wet and dry performance. This Michelin tire is designed to deliver a long tread life combined with a smooth and quiet ride and the capability to handle true all-season weather, even light snow. The Defender LTX M/S can stand up to the higher torque of today’s trucks with a tough rubber compound that holds up longer in rough conditions. The tread design includes circumferential channels to draw water away from the contact patch, with internal steel belts to improve strength and reliability while helping manage heavy loads. There’s also a six-year or 70,000-mile tread life warranty.
This high-priced Yokohama tire is a great choice if you’re ready to splurge. It’s an all-season tire focused on performance driving while still providing excellent traction year-round. It can handle weather conditions from dry to rain to light snow with a rubber compound that won’t get too soft in the summer or too stiff in the winter. It has excellent dry and wet weather performance ratings as well as high ratings for passenger comfort. The tread pattern on the Parada Spec-X provides good stability during hard cornering, acceleration and braking with twin steel belts to add strength. There are also lateral grooves to help keep water away from the contact patch to avoid hydroplaning. There is, however, no tread life tire warranty for this model.
Those on a budget will appreciate the affordability of this all-season truck tire from Kumho. Despite its budget-friendly pricing, the Crugen HT51 gets high ratings from customers. It provides good traction in all seasons with a comfortable ride. The 3PMSF symbol on the sidewall indicates a rating for severe snow traction service, making this a true all-season option. The tread pattern is designed to enhance tread life while delivering stability and control, with a series of grooves to whisk water away from the contact patch. There are two internal steel belts to improve stability and handling, and there’s a six-year or 70,000-mile tread life tire warranty.
Offering exceptional grip in wet conditions, this Michelin all-season tire is ideal for those who frequently drive in rainy conditions. Even when worn, the Premier LTX provides shorter stops on wet roads, along with good traction in light snow. It has a silica and sunflower treated tread compound that helps provide that exceptional wet performance. This is combined with a tread pattern that enhances handling on dry roads. As the tire wears, the grooves in the tread expand to maintain wet performance and ensure traction. This tire is also formulated to offer improved tread life and has twin steel belts for better handling and overall comfort. They include a six-year or 60,000-mile tread life warranty.
This BFGoodrich all-season tire offers strong winter performance and is the right tire for those who don’t want to deal with getting a dedicated snow tire for the winter months. It features the 3PMSF symbol on the sidewall, indicating that it’s rated for severe snow service. There’s also an all-season tread compound that maintains the right pliability for both hot and cold weather and a contact patch that’s optimized for high-speed stability. The full-depth tread helps avoid hydroplaning on wet, slushy roads, while the biting edges of this tire improve traction in snow. The tread life warranty is for six years or 65,000 miles.
This Pirelli model is an all-season tire that offers a comfortable ride with excellent tread-life ratings. The Scorpion AS Plus 3 is focused on reducing road noise while offering good traction in road conditions from dry to light snow with a longer-than-average tread life. It uses a compound that delivers exceptional traction with a tread that has minimal empty spaces for consistent grip and better wear. The tread also distributes force more evenly across the contact patch, which further decreases the rate of treadwear. A series of tread grooves helps prevent hydroplaning and improve traction on snow and ice. An unlimited time or 70,000-mile tread life warranty is included.
The Continental TerrainContact H/T provides all-season traction along with a smooth, quiet ride and a long tread life. It uses a chip-resistant compound in the tread with a pattern designed to reduce noise for a more pleasant passenger experience. Wide, circumferential grooves and a specially formulated rubber compound help improve wet traction and braking, while the tread pattern pulls water away from the contact patch. The tread is also designed to offer stability when managing a heavy load, particularly during braking. Dual internal steel belts improve both comfort and handling for this tire. A six-year or 70,000-mile tread life warranty is included.
This all-terrain tire from BFGoodrich is our best truck tire pick for those who put a priority on off-road performance. It has a compound that resists chips and cuts to provide a longer tread life with less wear on gravel roads. The tread is specifically designed for off-road terrain to eject loose objects that might otherwise become wedged in the tread. There’s a tougher compound on the sidewall that’s thick and durable with the traction needed for dirt, sand and airing down for more aggressive off-road adventures. It also provides a smooth ride in highway driving whether the roads are dry, wet or even snowy. The 3PMSF symbol on the sidewall lets you know it’s rated for severe snow service, making this truly an all-season, all-terrain tire. A tread life warranty of six years or 50,000 miles is included.
Our runner-up best all-terrain truck tire pick provides traction in a variety of conditions, both on-road and off-road. This General tire delivers a good balance between the capability and ruggedness required for off-road adventuring with the comfort you want for highway drives. It has a cut-resistant compound with an all-terrain tread that includes a layer designed specifically to reduce noise and improve comfort on the pavement. The tread pattern on the Grabber A/TX helps keep debris like rocks and stick from wedging into the treads while the pattern of notches provides excellent grip in dirt, wet, and even snowy conditions. It also has the 3PMSF symbol indicating a severe snow service rating. The tread life warranty for this all-terrain tire is six years or 60,000 miles.
Off-road enthusiasts who want the best traction possible when the dirt turns to mud should check out this BFGoodrich tire for their truck. These mud tires aren’t for the casual off-roader, but rather for those who spend most of their time driving in the dirt. The rubber compound is formulated to provide superior grip on rocks and slippery surfaces with large tread blocks to improve stability on loose gravel. There’s also a uniquely designed sidewall that helps protect from punctures and cuts with added thickness and an extended shoulder when tackling rough terrain. The tread works to eject small rocks with mud-phobic bars to help slough off any mud buildup. There is no tread life warranty with this Mud-Terrain T/A KM3 tire.
Designed for high performance vehicles, this Michelin summer performance tire provides peak handling for those who enjoy more spirited driving. It is a low-rolling-resistance tire for improved fuel economy and delivers superior traction on wet or dry roads. As a summer tire, the Latitude Sport 3 is not intended for use on snow or ice or in colder temperatures. It uses two steel cord belts to help keep the tire’s shape during high-speed cornering while improving ride quality. Select sizes also offer a foam liner that absorbs sound for reduced road noise. A six-year or 20,000-mile tread life warranty is included.
This Bridgestone winter tire provides optimum grip whether it’s snow, slush, or ice that coats the road. The Blizzak DM-V2 provides strong traction and braking on ice along with good hydroplaning resistance when the roads are cold and wet. The water-phobic coating on these tires helps keep water away from the contact patch while the formulation of the compound retains flexibility even in extreme cold. The tread design includes biting edges for improved snow grip and there are wear indicators to let you know when the tread is roughly 50% worn. There’s also the 3PMSF symbol on the sidewall, which shows that it’s rated for severe snow service. This tire does not have a tread-life warranty.
Comparison of the best truck tires for 2022
|Best truck tires overall||Cooper Discoverer AT2 4S||15-18, 20, 22 inches||$174|
|Best truck tires overall runner-up||Michelin Defender LTX M/S||15-20, 22 inches||$146|
|Best truck tires if money is no object||Yokohama Parada Spec-X||18, 20, 22, 24 inches||$160|
|Best truck tires for the money||Kumho Crugen HT51||15-20, 22 inches||$137|
|Best all-season truck tires for rain||Michelin Premier LTX||16-22 inches||$195|
|Best all-season truck tires for snow||BFGoodrich Advantage T/A Sport LT||15-20 inches||$129|
|Best long-lasting truck tires||Pirelli Scorpion AS Plus 3||17-20, 22 inches||$164|
|Best truck tires for a smooth and quiet ride||Continental TerrainContact H/T||16-20, 22 inches||$192|
|Best all-terrain truck tires||BFGoodrich All-Terrain T/A KO2||15-18, 20, 22 inches||$178|
|Best all-terrain truck tires runner-up||General Grabber A/TX||14-18, 20 inches||$154|
|Best off-road mud truck tires||BFGoodrich Mud-Terrain T/A KM3||15-18, 20, 22 inches||$212|
|Best performance truck tires||Michelin Latitude Sport 3||17-21 inches||$230|
|Best winter truck tires||Bridgestone Blizzak DM-V2||15-20, 22 inches||$140|
What makes a truck tire different?
A truck tire is designed to handle the higher stresses that a truck puts on its tires. Trucks are physically larger than sedans and they often have much higher torque figures. This puts additional strain on truck tires that the average sedan tire doesn’t face. A truck tire is designed to handle that challenge. “LT or Light Truck tires have a stiffer carcass, stronger sidewall, and deeper tread blocks to handle higher loads and more severe operating environments,” said Todd Hubbard, vehicle performance engineer for GMC Hummer EV.
Truck tires are also designed to manage a heavier load. Whether you have a payload in the bed, or a trailer hooked up to the back, truck tires can handle that extra weight. They maintain their stability and stopping power no matter how you choose to use your truck.
“Truck and SUV tires are designed to carry the loads for those types of vehicles. Generally, the tread designs incorporate larger blocks and more void between those blocks, which helps to improve the off-road capability that consumers driving these types of vehicles are looking for,” said Ron Henegar, senior product marketing manager at Goodyear. “However, the tires that fit these types of vehicles can vary greatly. Some are designed to be used almost exclusively on road. Some are designed to be used equally on and off road. Others are designed to be used primarily off road,” he added.
Types of truck tires
All tires are divided into several categories, including truck tires. It seems like a lot to figure out, but it’s all designed to help you get the best tire for how you drive your truck.
- Touring: This all-season tire is a good all-around tire suited to most trucks. It provides a smooth ride with a nice balance of comfort and traction.
- Grand touring: These all-season tires put a higher priority on reduced noise, vibration, and harshness to deliver an even smoother, quieter ride. They also come at a higher price.
- Highway: A highway tire delivers a well-mannered ride that focuses on passenger comfort during highway driving, much like a grand touring tire. It also makes high-speed traction and cornering a priority. These often include “H/T” in their description.
- Summer: A summer performance tire is designed to provide peak performance during hot, dry weather. It has compounds formulated for higher temperatures, so it won’t get too soft in the heat and suffer premature treadwear.
- Winter: Best when temperatures are below 40 degrees or in significant snow, winter tire compounds won’t get stiff or brittle in the cold. Look for the three-peak mountain snowflake (3PMSF) symbol to ensure you have a tire rated for severe winter weather.
- Off-road: Off-road tires are at their best on rugged terrain. They have deep tread patterns that often extend up onto the sidewall for added protection against sticks and sharp rocks that can puncture those sidewalls. The downside is they aren’t as quiet or comfortable for passengers. You may see the letters “A/T” (for all-terrain) included in the names of these tires.
- Run-flat tires: A run-flat tire is designed to remain inflated for a short time even when it’s punctured. That doesn’t mean that it can run forever, but it should be able to go long enough to find a place to repair or replace the tire. These tires include “RFT” in the name to indicate that they are run flats.
Reading a tire sidewall
The sidewall provides specific information about a tire. There’s a method to the madness so once you know the formula, you can read the sidewall on any tire and know exactly what kind of tire is on your vehicle. Let’s break down the tire size basics.
Example: P 225/50 R 17 98 H
- Tire class: P stands for a P-metric or passenger tire. Light truck tires have an LT.
- Width: This number (225) is the width of the tread in millimeters from side to side.
- Aspect ratio: This number indicates the height of the sidewall as a percentage of the width, which is 50% in our example.
- Construction type: The R stands for radial, which is pretty much all you’ll see these days.
- Rim diameter: This is the diameter of the wheel that this tire will fit. Our tire fits a 17-inch wheel.
- Load index: Covering a rating range from 70 to 126, this number lets you know how much weight a tire can safely manage and is something you should pay close attention to if you plan to tow or carry a payload in your truck.
- Speed rating: Depending on the letter, your tires may be rated anywhere from 75 mph to 186 mph. An H tire falls in the middle with a rating of 130 mph. Regardless of your tire speed rating, always obey posted speed limits.
Caring for truck tires
All tires wear out as you drive, but you can help reduce tread wear and get the most life out of your tire with a little maintenance. “How the tires are used and maintained, including especially inflation maintenance — or not used and maintained if they are stored — can contribute to how often tires should be replaced,” said Henegar.
The no. 1 thing you can do to keep your tires from wearing out early is to keep them properly inflated. That means checking the tire pressure regularly. You may need to let out air as temps rise and add air when temps fall, so it’s especially crucial to check your tire inflation as the seasons change.
Even if the temperature hasn’t changed much, tires experience an average drop of one psi each month. Rather than risk driving around on an improperly inflated tire, make it a habit to check your tire pressure periodically. The few minutes you spend on this bit of maintenance will help avoid having to spend money on a new set of tires.
It’s also key to rotate your tires regularly. This is especially true when they’re new and tend to wear faster. How often should you rotate those tires? According to Hubbard, “Rotate every 7,500 miles,” but that’s the maximum number of miles you should drive. You can rotate them more often if you choose without causing any harm to your truck.
TJ Campbell, tire information and testing manager at Tire Rack suggests also checking the condition of your tires during rotation. “Check your tires for possible irregular wear, which may be an indication that your tires are out of alignment or that another repair is needed.” As for the rotation pattern, it’s usually front to back, but your vehicle may call for side-to-side or even a combination of the two. Do whatever your owner’s manual recommends.
When should you replace a tire?
No matter how many miles the manufacturer says you should be able to drive on a tire, there are some circumstances in which that tire simply isn’t safe to drive no matter the miles. Severe damage including bulges, bald spots or cracking requires immediate replacement. This type of damage could cause your tire to fail and cause an accident.
A punctured tire is also cause for immediate attention. In some cases, a professional may be able to repair a puncture, but it’s a case-by-case situation. Take the tire to an expert for evaluation so they can let you know if a repair is safe or if you’ll need to replace the tire.
The condition of your tread can also be cause for replacement. Uneven wear, with bald spots here and there, means your tire isn’t maintaining proper traction. There’s no way to fix this other than by replacing your tires.
Even if the wear is even, if the tread is too low, then the tire needs to be replaced. Some tires have wear bars that appear as the tread gets low so you have a little warning, but it’s easy to check on your own. Find a penny and insert it into the tread with Lincoln’s head down. If you can see the top of his head over the tread, then it’s below 2/32 of an inch and should be replaced.
That 2/32 is a recommended minimum and is the legal limit in some states. While you can technically drive right up to that limit, you may experience decreasing performance. This is especially true on wet or snowy roads or if you’re managing a payload or towing a trailer. If you do the same test with a quarter and see the top of Washington’s head, then you’re at 4/32 and should start thinking about replacing those tires.
Regardless of how good your tires look or how low the mileage, they do have an expiration date. Rubber degrades over time, so you cannot drive on the same set of tires indefinitely. A tire should be taken out of service 10 years from its date of manufacture or six years after it was placed in service.
What makes for a good tire?
Start by looking for a tire that suits your truck and how you drive. Don’t get performance tires if you plan to off-road or vice versa. The key part to getting a good tire for your truck is picking one that fits how, where and what you drive.
It’s a safer bet to go with an established tire brand. “Major manufacturers are more tech focused,” said Campbell. That means you get a tire with the latest technologies from specially formulated rubber compounds to coatings to the tread pattern. Companies with long histories and solid reputations are focused on innovating so that you get the best tire possible for your needs.
You will pay more for most brand name tires than you will for some sketchy unknown tire brand, but you also know the tire you’re getting will perform as specified when it’s from a brand you can trust. Also, remember that simply because a tire costs more doesn’t mean that it’s the only good one. Tire companies offer a range of products to fit every budget so don’t break your budget unnecessarily.
When it comes to trucks, there are some specific needs you won’t come across if you drive a sedan. “A truck tire used primarily for off-roading should have sufficient sidewall protection and an open tread pattern,” said Hubbard. This design keeps the rocks and sticks that might otherwise puncture the sidewall from causing damage.
Towing is another consideration. “Proper tire load rating is crucial for trucks that are used frequently for carrying or towing heavy loads,” he added. The load rating can be found on the sidewall of your tire. “The size and load index need to match what is shown on the tag posted on the inside of the driver’s door on the vehicle,” said Henegar. Make sure the tire you purchase for your truck is up to the task of carrying the weight you need to manage and doesn’t exceed your truck’s ratings.
Do you need to replace all your tires at once?
Recommendations are to never replace only one tire, even if only one is damaged, because of the potential for uneven treadwear. It might not seem like it’ll make a difference, but if one tire has a nice new tread and the others are worn, then it can cause handling, traction, and wear issues for all your tires. In some cases when all your tires are quite new and one is damaged, then you may be able to replace only that one. It’s best to have an expert evaluate your tires and let you know if this is a wise option.
It’s always best to replace all four tires at once, so they all have the same amount of treadwear at the start. If your budget doesn’t allow for that expense, then replace either the two front or two rear tires at once. These sets of two will have similar wear, so there’s a reduced potential for problems. If you can, get the exact same tires you already have on your truck for the best match.
Another consideration is all-wheel or four-wheel drive, which usually includes manufacturer’s recommendations to only replace all four tires at once. If that’s the case for your truck, then you should follow those guidelines and replace all your tires together to maintain proper handling.
Written by Nicole Wakelin for CNET
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Truck tire FAQs
How do you choose the best truck tires?
Look for a tire that suits how you drive your truck. Whether that’s off-roading, highway cruising or a combination of the two, there’s a tire that does the job well. Also consider the climate where you drive. Severe winter weather may call for a dedicated winter tire. Lastly, if you tow, make sure your tire carries the correct load rating.
What’s the best truck tires on the market?
There’s no one tire that’s the absolute best for every situation. The truck tire that’s ideal for off-roading is not the same tire that’s perfect for highway road trips. To get a good tire, look for a known and respected brand rather than a no-name tire company and make sure that tire is recommended for how you drive your truck.
What truck tires last the longest?
A lot of how your tire wears has to do with how you drive and how well you maintain your tires. Check out the warranty for your tire to see how long of a tread life the manufacturer covers. That’s a good estimate of what you can expect from a properly maintained tire.
What truck tires provide the most comfortable ride?
The ride in your truck can be heavily impacted by the kind of tire you choose. An off-road tire is usually less comfortable on pavement with greater road noise. An all-season is a better option if comfort is your priority, with a touring tire generally providing the quietest ride of all.
How often should you rotate truck tires?
In general, you should rotate your truck tires every 5,000 to 7,500 miles to ensure they all wear evenly. Those are the maximum figures, but you don’t have to wait that long. Feel free to rotate your tires more often, especially when they’re new and tend to wear more quickly. This is also a great opportunity to inspect your tires to make sure there are no signs of damage.