I am not going to tell you that adding mud terrain tires to your two-wheel-drive truck is the right choice. Nor, am I going to make a spreadsheet listing the differences between mud-terrain and all-terrain tire benefits. That would take days and would end up starting an Internet fight on forums, no doubt. Instead, I am going to tell you a little about why I chose Toyo Open Country M/T tires for my '97 Chevy 1500 2WD.
There are a few good reasons why I am running these tires on a prerunner-style truck. The first being, this model tire has been one of the most consistent all-around performers I have tested. That's right, I said "all-around," not just in gnarly off-road situations. Scour the forums, look around for them in the desert or on the trail, or ask the guy driving on them down the street, and all of them will most likely tell you they love this tire.
At first glance, most people would associate the aggressive look of the tire as something that should be on a rock crawler or at least a four-wheel-drive. Considering my Chevy is a daily driver and needs to get me anywhere from the desert to the mountain top, I needed a tire with substantial grip in all conditions. You are probably asking yourself, "Sure grip is great but what about too much grip on a 2WD and possibly breaking my rear axle since it's the only drive axle pushing the truck? Are aggressive tires even necessary with the way I'll drive this truck?" Both of these questions are definitely something I considered, but l feel that the benefits of this tire far outweigh its disadvantages. With only having two wheels spinning, there are moments I have lost confidence knowing this tire may dig me into a hole that I would need help getting out of. Fortunately, a little common sense and a little know-how behind the wheel with low tire pressures managed to keep me for getting stuck yet.
Running around the desert at high speeds, the aggressive Open Country M/T's do a fair job on a average horsepower truck. An aggressive tire like this might not be my first choice for a high-powered prerunner (as the tread lugs might be a bit too tall and leave them open for removal by the terrain), but it does the job on my underpowered Chevy. On several occasions I have found that climbing rocks is really where the Toyo shines. The three-ply casing and scalloped shoulder blocks have gotten me through everything without worry. The only time I have been stranded was attempting to make my way foolishly over rocks so big that I high-centered the truck.
There is however a place that I would prefer something with a little less bite: the sand dunes. Taking a 2WD truck through sand dunes is a risky endeavor, unless you are pushing big horsepower and paddle tires. I have neither. So, as you can imagine my Chevy isn't a very good dune buggy. In fact, most of the time I will park it and take out something more fun, like a sand rail or UTV of some sort. Aggressive tires tend to dig into the sand, burying the truck, more than lightly-treaded all-terrain tires. For sand, an all-terrain, or even a worn-out and bald mud-terrain tire is a better choice.
Aside from the practical purposes, we all want our trucks to look good and aesthetics play a big role in tire purchase. The Open Country M/T hits the podium again as a great looking set of rubber. Whether your truck is big, small, 2WD, or 4WD, a knobby tire will make your ride stand out and give it an aggressive feel. My Chevy looks great on 33x12.50R15 tires now and I always find it amusing when people come to check out the truck and look baffled when they discover it's 2WD. New, the tires are fairly quiet on the road, but like all mud terrains, don't plan on listening to the radio at 60 mph with the windows down when you get some miles on them.
As you can tell, this tire is one of my favorites. It's consistency; good looks, long-lasting wear and serious grip have never let me down. Would I go with another set when these are worn out? You bet.