M/T, Mud Terrain:
Tarmac & Sand 20-35% Any Off Road 80-65% (depending on brands)
The most aggressive tread pattern for a 4x4 are M/T. Some brands are more aggressive than others. On a 4 wheel drive they look awesome and really make the vehicle look tough.
They may be called 4x4 mud tires but these off road tires are great for harsh outback tracks, rock crawling, clay based tracks, dirt tracks, forest tracks and the most obvious MUD!
4x4 Mud terrain tires will have a similar tread pattern to the A/T 4 rib but that's where the similarities end.
Mud Terrain Tire.
Mud tyres are the strongest type of off road tires money can buy, the tread pattern on any mud tyre is purely aggressive, and the side walls are tough and hosts side biters that will assist in climbing in and out of ruts even if only using the side of the tyre.
The tread blocks are massive and have very wide gaps compared to the regular A/T, these allow for supreme self-cleaning, flicking mud everywhere when spinning the wheels through the mud.
Dirt and mud will fill the gaps between smaller tread blocks very easily, when this happens there is less traction and this is the down fall of All Terrain tires.
The wider gaps between tread blocks make it easier for mud terrains to clean themselves while spinning. This prevents the vehicle from ending up with mud filled racing slicks).
Because of the larger gaps in the tread pattern/blocks some brands can be really noisy when driven a high speeds on highways, some are louder than others and some are unbearably loud.
Generally new mud terrain tires are nice and quiet but once 10,000 kms of wear has been done they can start to hum, the more they wear the louder they usually get.
BF Goodrich Mud Terrain KM2.
Mud terrain tires can be the only hope of getting through unassisted when things get a bit slippery and sticky.
The tread pattern on a mud tire is designed for self-cleaning by flicking mud off the tread blocks in any direction.
A clean tread pattern means more grip, more grip means more traction and more traction means forward momentum. Without momentum the 4 wheel drive is going nowhere.
Mud terrain tires won't get the 4x4 through all muddy situations but they will do a lot better than any other tire tread pattern could.
Although these mud tires are called "Mud Terrain" or M/T they are not
just great in the mud, they are also very good on rocks, dirt tracks and hard
BF Goodrich Mud Terrain tire
deforming around rock.
Rock crawling requires an aggressive tread pattern which makes the mud
tire the best tire for rock crawling and just general rocky terrain off
Mud terrain tires have side tread blocks also known as side biters which literally bite into the sides of rocks, allowing the wheels on the 4x4 to climb up the side of a rock by just using the side biters on the tire wall.
Mud terrain tires have great side wall protection which is good for harsh rugged terrain; sticks and sharp rocks will pierce or slash most other types of tires.
Mud terrain tires are not invincible by any stretch of the imagination but will have a fighting chance, depending on which brand you buy. There are triple ply side wall mud terrain tires on the market.
Desert Hawk M/T.
On sand 4x4 mud tires can struggle a bit and will normally require 2-6 PSI less than A/T's in order to perform at the same level.
Taking off in the sand a bit too fast will cause the aggressive pattern to try and dig for traction which can result in bogging, be sure to pay just a bit of extra attention if wheels start spinning whilst on the sand.
I personally drive a lot on sand tracks, dunes and beaches using BF Goodridge MT mud terrain tires without any problems, it really just comes down to tire pressures.