Can You Put Mud Tires on a 2WD Truck?

Can you put mud tires on a 2WD truck? What are mud tires, and what do they do? What kind of vehicles can you use them for? 

You can put mud tires on a 2WD truck. You can either install two mud tires on the wheels powered by your engine or install four mud tires on all wheels. However, if you use your 2WD primarily on-road, reconsider installing mud tires. They are loud and ineffective on-road. 

This article will help you understand whether putting mud tires on a 2WD truck is worth it. I will discuss what mud tires are and why you might want them. Let me get into it. 

What Are Mud Tires?

Mud tires, as the name suggests, are tires that are designed for driving in the mud. There is a big difference between mud tires and all-terrain tires, both of which you can use for off-roading. While all-terrain tires are designed for both off-road and on-road use, mud tires are specifically designed for driving in the mud. 

That is why mud tires will have larger voids between the tread. They might have bars to kick out or expel any mud that gets stuck on the tire. These ejectors, as they are sometimes called, can also expel pebbles and rocks. The aggressive tread pattern that is prominent on mud tires helps the tires grip the mud and provide traction even in extremely muddy conditions. A mud tire might even have sidebar tread and lugs to help provide even more traction. 

Mud tires are not designed for on-road travel, as I will explain below. Some mud tires may not even be street legal. 

Why Use Mud Tires? 

Mud tires are the best for extreme off-roading. They are not designed for on-road use. Mud is something that you will encounter on many, if not all, of your off-road adventures. Even if it did not rain for a while, you would likely come across some mud, especially in areas where there is water flowing. 

Are 2WD Trucks Different?

Yes, 2WD trucks differ from 4WD trucks in that only two of the tires are powered by the engine—the other two wheels sort of just spin along with the main two wheels. When adding aggressive tires, including mud tires, to a two-wheel-drive truck, it is important to consider this fact. 

You might want to only add two mud tires to your two-wheel-drive truck. You don’t necessarily need to add all four tires. Why? Since the engine powers only two tires, these tires are most important, and replacing these two tires with mud tires will give you the best bang for your buck. 

However, if you can afford to buy four mud tires, I recommend replacing all four of your tires with mud tires, even if you have a two-wheel-drive truck. All four of your tires have to spin. Yes, they may not be getting direct power from the engine, but they will be on the same mud as the two main tires. For that reason, mud tires would be a great help. 

The two wheels that get direct power from the engine are most important. They are the wheels that “drive” your truck, so installing mud tires on those wheels will be the most beneficial when you need to get your truck out of the mud. Make sure NOT to install the mud tires only on the two wheels that do not get power from the engine if you only plan on installing two mud tires. 

However, if you plan on installing four mud tires, you will find it even easier to get through the mud. Even though two of the tires do not get direct power from the engine, they can still get stuck in the mud, and it will be easier to get your truck out if all four of the tires are mud tires. 

Besides, you can buy a locker that will lock the two back wheels to the two front wheels or vice versa, helping you on off-road trips. If you have such a locker, get mud tires for all four wheels on your truck. 

Why You Might Not Want To Install Mud Tires

There are some reasons you might not want to install mud tires on your two-wheel-drive truck. Mud tires on any vehicle have both pros and cons. I already mentioned the pros of installing mud tires on your 2WD – you will have an easier time getting out of the mud when you are stuck. Here are some of the disadvantages of installing mud tires on your two-wheel-drive truck. 

They Are Not Good for On-Road

If you have a two-wheel-drive vehicle, there is a good chance you are not using it exclusively for off-road trips. If you are also using your two-wheel drive vehicle for on-road trips, you might not want to install mud tires. While modern mud tires are better suited for on-road travel than older mud tires, they are still not as good as all-terrain tires. 

Not all mud tires may even be street legal. Check to make sure that the tires are street legal. Even if they are, they can be clumsy on the road. They also can make your ride pretty uncomfortable and hard. If you like a smooth ride that is easy on your body, consider getting all-terrain tires. 

They Are Not Good for the Snow

While mud tires will increase your traction on the mud, they decrease your snow and ice traction. As such, if you will be driving your two-wheel drive on the snow or ice, I would not recommend installing mud tires. 

They Make a Lot of Noise

Mud tires can be noisy when you use them on the road. The extra noise that they produce may disturb your neighbors and annoy you while driving. If you have ever wondered why some off-road rigs seem so loud, the answer may be due to the mud tires that the owner installed. 

They Use Up More Gas

Yes, mud tires have worse fuel mileage than regular tires. They are large and cumbersome, and you will need more gas to operate them. All-terrain tires have better fuel mileage than mud tires and are still good off-road, so if you are on a strict budget, you might want to consider getting mud tires instead. 

They Are Less Effective on 2WD

In general, 2WD vehicles are not as good as 4WD vehicles for off-road. Installing mud tires on a two-wheel-drive truck is less effective than installing them on a four-wheel-drive truck. If you have both a four-wheel-drive truck and a two-wheel-drive truck and can only install mud tires on one of your trucks, I recommend installing them on the four-wheel-drive truck, as you will get more out of your money. 

Other Things To Consider

Installing larger, heavier tires, like mud tires, will change your truck’s center of gravity. When making sharp turns, there will be an increased chance of rolling over. You will also have to recalibrate your truck’s built-in tire pressure monitoring system to adjust to the new tires. 

For information on the benefits and disadvantages of using mud tires instead of all-terrain tires, watch this short video: 


You can install mud tires on a two-wheel drive. There is nothing wrong with that, even if you only install two tires. However, installing four tires is better. Nevertheless, there are some reasons you might not want to install mud tires on your two-wheel drive vehicle, especially if you will be using them primarily on the road. 


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