Wide Tires Vs. Narrow Tires Off-Road

Wide Tires or Narrow Tires, which is better? Many have found themselves asking this question for so long. Yet, until this day, there is no answer. Nevertheless, many have claimed that the wider the tire, the better. Their reasoning is that wider tires give more grip and thus better handling.

However, is this true? If so, why even have narrow tires in the first place? A narrow tire has its purpose, which we will tackle later on. But for now, wider tires and narrow tires have advantages and disadvantages. You need to consider these factors first before picking yourself a tire. 

On the other hand, many people likewise don’t give a thought about tire size. As long as tires are tires, it’s all good. Well, I understand their logic deeply, but tire seizes matter. Tire sizes affect how you will drive on-road or off-road. So even if you don’t give much thought about it, at least consider it. 

Wide Tires Vs. Narrow Tires

Disclaimer: I just want to say at the start that I have no bias preferences among the two. Nor am I pushing a narrative that wider or narrow tires are better than the other. With that out of the way, let’s get started.


Advantages of Wide Tires

Wide Tires Look Impressive: 

Among the automobile community, there is a sense that the wider the tire, the better it looks. I don’t know how this thought came to be, but here it is. Just try one yourself, and you will see what I mean. They look sporty and aggressive, and many would even say that wide tires give them additional horsepower—but don’t take it literally.

Wide Tires Have More Traction And Grip:

The wider the tire, the more it has contact on the road. As a result, the tire sticks on the road or some off-road areas. However, this can depend widely on the terrain and weather condition.

When stuck on bottomless mud, you want a tire that stays afloat on the top—which means wide tires. On the other hand, when stuck on shallow mud, you want a tire that digs on the mud and clings to the hard bottom—which means narrow tires. For the most part, you don’t know what type of mud you are dealing with, so pick wide tires for a safer option. 

When traveling through dunes, you also should have a wide tire. Wide tire stays afloat on the sand while narrow tires dig in deeper and causing you to get stuck.

Wide Tires Perform Better On Braking

Having a wide tire will give your car better contact on the road; you can also apply this off-road. Thus, you can get a stop better and even reduce the braking distance. Even if you are rolling down the hill, a wider tire just helps hold on to terrain better. 


Advantages of Narrow Tires

Narrow Tires Are Generally Cheaper:

Wide tires are almost always more expensive than narrow tires. They contain more weight in shipping, more raw materials, and it needs more maintenance. Plus, wide tires are always sold at a premium price. Manufacturers know how people love wide tires for better performance and a sportier look, which means high prices!

Wide tires also need more frequent replacement since they wear out faster. With all the benefits of a wide tire, it also puts a strain on the tire. Wide tires have a lot of grip, so they stick to the road better. As a result, it shreds out the tire quickly. 

Narrow Tires Are Better For Icy Conditions:

Both in the US and Europe, they both have tires specific for winter conditions. And these tires are almost always narrow. Wide tires are not the best for icy roads since they “go over” the ice rather than “dig” on it. 

“Going over” the icy roads would cause the driving experience to be quite slippery. What you want is a tire that “digs in” on the ice and touches the tarmac. That way, you are gripping on the road rather than gripping on ice—which a wide tire does.

However, a wide tire can compensate for this downside with a better tread pattern. Just ask your local dealer to hand you a wide tire that is for winter use. But they tend to be more expensive. 

Narrow Tires Are Better For Rock Crawling:

When it comes to driving through gravel and rock crawling, I prefer the narrow tires. Wide tires are also preferable, but narrow tires give grip. The logic is very similar to the advantages of driving through icy roads and snow.

Just as the same on icy roads, gravel and driving in rock crawling is slippery. You can’t have a good grip on gravel since gravel slips way too easily. On the other hand, a narrow tire digs on the gravel and touches the solid ground. 

As for rock crawling, it can be difficult to drive through with wide tires since it can force you to go over it. In some cases, tires are too wide that they won’t fit in crevices, and this is why you want a narrow tire on rock crawling.

Which Is Better?

Wide tires are not better than narrow tires and vice versa. Tire choices are far too dependent on what type of situation you are in right now. There is no such tire that is the be-all and end-all of off-road trekking. 

So make sure to plan your trip carefully and pick what type of tire is best suited for it. 


You can see why the question of wider versus narrow tires is still isn’t answered. For us individually, no circumstances are always the same; you can likewise apply this to the question of wide versus narrow tires.

Unlike on-road, off-road is always unpredictable. In some cases, you always need to bring proper tools in case of emergencies. One of these tools is a winch. To learn more about winches, simply look at our blogs below: