When buying a new Jeep® brand vehicle, your dealership will offer a variety of tire and wheel options for your different needs and budget. But after a time, it’s not unusual for a new owner to start to think about improving their vehicle, and one of the first things they usually think of is changing the tires and wheels. Owners usually consider a change or upgrade to the tires on their Jeep® brand vehicle because they want better off-road performance or they just want to make their vehicle look better. Not only can they improve your vehicle’s aesthetics, they are also integral to the safety and overall performance of your vehicle.
Changing or upgrading tires can be a daunting task, especially when you have to consider tire type, size, and tread. There are many types of tires to choose from with a multitude of specific uses and performance levels under different conditions. When choosing a new set of tires you will need to first decide their primary use. For instance, will you be using your vehicle as a daily driver around town, as an occasional off-road toy, or will you be using your vehicle as a hard-core modified rig? The determination of your individual vehicle’s use should be the deciding factor in what type of tires will ultimately best fits your needs.
Most of us use our Jeep® brand vehicle as a daily driver with only the occasional foray into the world of off-roading. If this is you, the key is to have tires that perform well on the road at high speeds, but also give you the performance you need to tackle moderate obstacles and trails while off-roading. All-Terrain (AT) tires will fit the bill in this situation. An AT tire is generally quiet and performs well at high speeds on the highway, but has enough aggressive tread and is sturdy enough to handle moderate off-road trails. AT tires can be ordered from the factory on new vehicles or can be purchased from any manufacturer of light truck tires. If your Jeep® brand vehicle is currently sporting radial tires and you want to upgrade to a type of tire which will help performance in moderate off-roading conditions, an AT tire is your choice. Much more aggressive tires are available for almost all Jeep® brand vehicles, but it is important to remember that more aggressive tires will reduce highway performance, have greater highway noise, and wear much more quickly.
Tire size is very important, especially when considering upgrading to a tire which will perform better in extreme off-roading conditions. Generally, most Jeep® brand vehicles will handle up to a 31-inch tire. Any tire size above 31 inches (the same as a 265 tire size) will require the vehicle’s suspension to be lifted. This is called a “lift” and is an after-market modification to the body and suspension to accommodate larger tires. (We’ll discuss lifting your vehicle during a later article) The larger the tires, the higher the lift required. For the extreme off-roader, a minimum 33-inch tire with a 3-inch lift is required to avoid trail damage to the vehicle and to negotiate larger off-road obstacles.
Upgrading the wheels (or rims) for your tires can be important if you plan to modify your vehicle for extreme off-roading. Otherwise, factory rims are usually sufficient to accommodate an AT tire up to 31 inches. However, upgrading your wheels can add a great deal of personality and improve the looks of your vehicle. There are almost an unlimited number of different after-market wheel designs to enhance your vehicle’s looks. Wheels are available in chrome, aluminum polish, black, gray, and the list goes on. Remember that a quality product will have the proper paint/corrosion treatment for those living in areas where this is a concern. If you plan on doing a great deal of off-roading in rocky terrain, there is a chance you could scratch the edges of your shiny new wheels. To fix this issue on large off-roading tires, you can purchase off-set wheels which move the tires away from the vehicle and will also protect the edges of the rims. Go to www.Mopar.com for a great selection of these types of corrosion resistant and off-set wheels.
This is just a general guide to helping the average Jeep® brand vehicle owner decide on whether or not upgrading their tires and wheels is right for them. Before deciding, consult your Jeep dealership or a local 4×4 shop to determine the appropriate size and type of tire that will best fit your needs. What kind of tires and wheels are on your Jeep and how have they improved your vehicle’s looks or performance?