What size tires work for the Jeep Wrangler?

September 7th, 2023 by

The Jeep Wrangler has plenty of personality, thanks to the customization features available from top to bottom. If you’re looking for a vehicle to take off-roading, this one should be at the top of your list. Unbeatable performance, undeniable style, and unrelenting off-road capabilities make the Jeep Wrangler fun. Our Meadowland of Carmel team invites you to learn more about what size tires you need for your Jeep Wrangler.

Understanding Tire Size

Jeep Wrangler tire sizes

The first step to understanding tire size is to examine the numbers on the sidewalls of your Jeep Wrangler tires and understand what those numbers mean. For this breakdown, we’re using the example of 255/75R17:

Tire Type

A tire may or may not have a letter at the start of the number, such as P, LT, or ST if there’s no letter, as in our example, the tire is considered a passenger tire. The lack of a letter signifies that the tire is a metric tire, which is measured in millimeters per European sizing. A P at the start of your tire number also signifies that it’s a passenger tire, which automakers use on crossovers, sedans, smaller pickup trucks, and SUVs, including the Wrangler.

LT stands for light truck tire. These tires are made to handle towing trailers, heavier loads, and heavy-duty options. LT tires are typically found on three-quarter and one-ton pickups and SUVs. If a tire has an ST at the start of the number, it’s designed for a special trailer, such as a fifth wheel or a travel, utility, or boat trailer.

Tire Width

The first three numbers represent the tire width, from side to side, in millimeters. In our example, the tire is 255 millimeters from side to side when looking at it head-on.

Aspect Ratio

After the forward slash, you’ll find a two-digit number representing the tire’s aspect ratio. A higher aspect ratio indicates a taller or higher sidewall or tire profile. The aspect ratio is measured from the top of the tread to the wheel rim and shown as a percentage of the tire width. Our example shows that the tire has a 75% aspect ratio; in other words, the sidewall is 75% as high as the tire is wide.

Construction Type

Tires either have an R for radial or a D for diagonal piles. Most tires today are radial because they offer higher ride quality, better fuel efficiency, lower rolling resistance, a superior grip, and exceptional durability. Radial tires have plies, or layers of strong cords made of steel, polyester, and fabric coated in rubber, placed perpendicular to the travel direction. Diagonal tires have crisscrossed piles and can also be called x-ply, cross-ply, conventional, and bias-constructed. Trailers and motorcycles still use these tires.

You may also have an F for a run-flat tire, followed by an R or a D to delineate the construction type.

Other Tire Size Meanings

Some tires also have a number indicating wheel diameter in inches, load index, and speed rating. Wheel diameter refers to the distance between where the tire is tightly sealed onto the wheel, known as the bead seat areas. A load index will indicate how much weight the tire can support when inflated to its maximum air pressure rating. Finally, the speed rating is represented by a letter, with higher letters indicating that the tire can handle heat better to improve control at faster speeds.

Speed symbols start at A1 to A8 for 3 to 25 mph and go up to Y at 186 mph and (Y) for over 186 mph. Tires with a maximum speed rating over 149 mph may have a ZR for the size designation, while anything over 186 mph requires a ZR.

Tires may also be referred to using inches. For example, a tire labeled as 33×12.50R15 is 33 inches in diameter, from the top of the tire to the ground, and has a 12.50-inch width. It’s a radial tire featuring a 15-inch rim diameter.

Jeep Wrangler Tires

The Wrangler features 15- to 17-inch tires as standard from the factory, but you can upgrade your tires to fit various needs in your Wrangler customization. You could opt for 33-inch tires for casual off-roading or 40-inch for ultimate off-roading capabilities. You’ll need to add a lift kit to your Wrangler to fit several larger tires, per the following instructions:

  • A 2.5- to 3-inch lift kit is necessary to add 35-inch tires.
  • A 4-inch lift kit and gear changes are needed to compensate for fuel and power loss to add 37-inch tires.
  • Additional horsepower, plus the 4-inch lift kit and gear changes needed for the 37-inch tires, are also necessary for a 38-inch option.
  • A 6-inch lift kit is necessary to use the 40-inch tires on your Wrangler for the best in off-roading performance.

Different Types of Tires for Your Jeep Wrangler

The type of tire you select for your Jeep Wrangler depends on how you intend to use the vehicle. The factory tires will likely be sufficient if you drive your Wrangler back and forth to work on your daily commute. However, if you plan to tackle off-road terrain, spend the day in the mud, or need to face the winter elements, you may want to swap out the factory tires.

All-season tires are good if you use your Wrangler as a commuter vehicle, with or without the occasional off-road trek. All-terrain or mud-terrain tire tread patterns will give you better traction and control if you plan to take your Wrangler on off-road adventures. These tires also better withstand impacts from off-road obstacles, such as rocks and branches. Snow tires are designed to help you easily tackle the elements but should not be left on your Wrangler year-round. The tread on snow tires and low-temperature rubber compounds do not perform well on dry roads in fair weather.

Talk to the Tire Experts at Meadowland of Carmel

If you want to upgrade your tire size or switch out the factory set for better off-road options, stop by Meadowland of Carmel. For those looking to purchase a new Wrangler, our sales team can discuss new Jeep offers. Our tire experts can also answer any questions you have about lift kit requirements or the type of tire that best suits your needs. Find us at 1952 US Highway 6 in Carmel, New York. Call us at 845-842-7355 or complete our secure online form to start today.

Photo Credit: 2016 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Commando by Jeepalooza is licensed with CC BY 2.0

Posted in Jeep Vehicles