Why ATV & UTV Tires are Not the Same


I previously wrote a blog post that talks about why it’s not a good idea to put car tires on an ATV or UTV and now I want to tackle another question. A friend recently called and asked if he could put ATV tires on his UTV. I quickly told him that he shouldn’t do it and figured that I should let all ATV-Outdoors followers know why as well.

ATV and UTV tires are different in tire tread, durability, size, and width. This is because UTVs are heavier and can carry more people. Therefore, UTVs need to use bigger tires than the types that you use on a quad.

Keep reading to find out all the differences between ATV and UTV tires. I will also showcase why you shouldn’t use regular tires for off-road vehicles of all types!

Why ATV and UTV Tires are Not the Same

a set of Hercule TIS UT1 UTV tires

ATVs and UTVs are designed for specific purposes, and as such, their tire requirements are unique. While both are designed to handle rough terrains, the weight distribution, usage, and design philosophy behind each vehicle type means that their tires differ in significant ways. This is why UTV tires usually last longer. Nonetheless, here is why ATV and UTV tires are not the same:

  • Purpose of the vehicle: ATVs are often single-rider vehicles designed for agility and maneuverability, while UTVs are multi-passenger vehicles, more focused on carrying loads and stability.
  • Weight Distribution: UTVs generally weigh more and carry heavier loads, so their tires need to support more weight.
  • Tire Tread: ATVs may have knobbier treads for better traction in muddy conditions, while UTVs may have a broader footprint for stability.
  • Sidewall Strength: UTV tires might have a more robust sidewall to bear the vehicle’s additional weight.
  • Size & Width: UTV tires are often larger and wider, providing a stable base for the heavier vehicle.

Is It a Bad Idea to Use ATV Tires for UTV?

Swapping ATV tires to a UTV might seem like an economical choice at first glance, but there are many things you need to consider. Even though ATVs and UTVs can ride on similar terrains, this doesn’t mean they are the same. ATVs prioritize agility and swift maneuverability, and their tires are tailored for this. UTVs, on the other hand, are engineered for stability, often hauling cargo or multiple passengers, necessitating a robust tire design to support the increased load. Their stability is what makes UTVs good for kids with a taste for the outdoors.

When ATV tires are mounted onto a UTV, they are immediately subjected to demands they weren’t constructed for. The reduced weight-bearing capacity of ATV tires might lead to rapid wear and tear or even premature failures, especially if the UTV is loaded. Moreover, the tread pattern on ATV tires, optimized for quick and nimble movement, might not offer the same level of stability and grip on a UTV, especially in challenging terrains.

This is why I recommend against using ATV tires on a UTV. While it might seem like a good way to save money, it can end up costing you more in repairs and damages to the tire. It’s always best to stick with what your ATV (or UTV) owner manual recommends in terms of dimensions so that you don’t get into any trouble on the trail.

Can You Put Regular Tires on Your ATV or UTV?

ATV braking in the mud

Here’s a simple way to think about what tires you can use for your ATV or UTV. Imagine you’re going on a hike. You’d probably pick sturdy boots over everyday sneakers, right? It’s the same concept with ATVs and UTVs.

Regular car tires are built for city roads and highways, just like your everyday sneakers are perfect for a walk around town. They’re smooth, and they work best on smooth surfaces. But ATVs and UTVs? They’re the adventurers of the vehicle world, tackling mud, sand, and rocky paths. That’s why they need special tires, like how hikers need those tough boots for rugged trails.

In short, while it’s possible to fit regular tires onto an ATV or UTV, it’s not the best choice. To make the most out of your off-road adventures and keep things safe, stick with tires designed just for ATVs and UTVs. They’re made for the adventure!

The Average Tire Size for ATV and UTV

For those looking to buy new tires, it’s important to know the average sizes. While these can vary based on the make and model of your vehicle, generally:

  • ATV: Common tire sizes range from 22×7-11 (front) to 22×10-9 (rear).
  • UTV: Typical tire sizes might be around 26×9-12 (front) and 26×11-12 (rear).

Always refer to your vehicle’s manual or consult with a tire expert to ensure you choose the right size for your specific model.

Bob Kelly

Hey there, my name is Bob and I've been riding ATVs, dirt bikes, and UTVs for most of my life. Going on outdoor adventures has always been my passion. I love sharing tips and tricks with beginners who are getting ready to join the world of outdoor enthusiasts. You can reach me at bobtheatvguy@gmail.com if you want to get in touch.

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