Driving your off-road truck or Jeep in the dirt and sand is a lot of fun - and it's also an invitation to get stuck in a loose surface if not properly equipped to do it.
Though you can get away with doing a little driving on loose surfaces with standard all-terrain tires that have a good tread, there’s an even better option if you like that kind of off-roading and do it a lot - flotation tires.
Designed to give a little more traction on soft, loose ground, a set of flotation tires on your off-road truck might be just what is needed to drive on top of dirt rather get lost in it.
What Are Flotation Tires?
Flotation tires are oversized tires used on off-road trucks driven on soft and loose dirt surfaces to prevent getting stuck or disturbing the soil excessively.
Originally used on tractors and other agricultural vehicles and machinery to reduce the damage done to fields, flotation tires have found a new audience within the off-road community.
This tire design makes driving a 4x4 easier on loose, deep dirt and sand surfaces that is sort of like tilled farm fields, and helps to avoid running the tires so deeply into the dirt that you get stuck and need to be pulled out.
How Do They Work?
Flotation tires are designed to cross a loose, unstable surface more than dig into it, which can slow down the wheels of your truck and eventually leave it stuck.
They are considered a type of A/T or All-Terrain tire that can be used by off-road trucks or Jeeps and yet can work perfectly well on dry, hard ground when fully inflated.
When aired down, flotation tires get wider which yields a larger contact patch that generates more traction because there is more of the tire tread on the ground at one time.
Aired down, flotation tires on a 4x4 are also a little soft so that they can stay on top of a looser surface instead of digging into it or make giant ruts that can get you stuck.
When Should They Be Used?
The best time to use standard flotation tires with a regular A/T tread is when driving your off-road truck over loose, deep dirt and sand, as you’ll get some grip from the tread as well as more traction from being slightly soft and aired down.
If you like mudding, there are flotation tires designed using the same basic principles but with treads that work better going through soft, wet surfaces without getting the treads caked up with mud.
There are also flotation tires for use on snow with treads that spread out to grip snow and ice better yet avoid getting as stiff and rigid from the cold as standard tires.
In any of these cases, the main detail is that all these tires are made to be used on your off-road truck or Jeep aired down and slightly soft so they travel over soft, loose surfaces, not into them.
Get Better Traction with Flotation Tires
There’s a tire for every need when it comes to off-roading, so choosing the right one is important for maximum usage.
Though it isn't always necessary to put extreme rock crawling or deep mud tires on your off-road truck or Jeep, oversized A/T flotation tires with the right tread offers a little more traction when driving on loose surfaces like trail dirt or sand.
They’re versatile and work well on normal trails when fully pressurized and when aired down, flotation tires help your 4x4 float across the soil easily without getting the tires in too deep!