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Which Tires Work Best for a 4x4 Jeep?

general discussion 4WD four-wheel drive off-road outdoor lifestyle

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#1 jj_jeep

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 04:50 PM

My Jeep tj needs new shoes. How do people choose tires? I've been happy with BFG AT KO's in the past. But I see tire rack has general grabber AT for about $40 less per tire. So how can you tell if you're paying for a name, or a legitimately better tire. I'm not ready to commit $$ to a lift kit and new wheels, so I'm just looking at 30 x 9.50 15's. I'm in the upper Midwest so these tires will see snow and cold as well as summer heat. And sadly more asphalt than rock or dirt.



#2 biggman100

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 05:08 PM

JJ, where did you find grabbers in a 30x9.50? All I ever find in grabbers are 31x10.50's, which on the front of my Dakota tend to rub just a bit on the frame if I make full turns. Other than that, the 31x10.50's I have on my Dakota seem to work really well in snow and mud. I live in upstate N.Y., on a dirt back road, and they work very well for everyday driving around here.



#3 jj_jeep

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 07:44 PM

I've never bought tires over the internet, but I know others who have and they've done well with this place... 

http://www.tirerack....9.5&diameter=15



#4 biggman100

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:55 PM

I usually buy tires either through Mavis discount tire, because they will order just about anything you want, which you can check and see if they have any stores near you at their website, http://www.mavistire...pc/_default.asp or, a couple times I have gone through walmart, but they are picky about what brands they will order for you at times. I do now see the difference in how you found the 30x9.50 though. You are looking at the grabber at 2, whereas I only look at the grabber. I have never used the grabber at 2, so those I cant comment on as to how they work!



#5 Moses Ludel

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 08:59 PM

I'm running BFG All-Terrain KO tires on both the XJ Cherokee and the Dodge/Ram 3500.  Each set is oversized from the OE tires.  A reasonably quiet tire with a true traction tread, the KO works well.  Like with you two, these vehicles get a lot of highway miles.  When either vehicle is in 4WD, however, these BFG tires more than come through.

 

Last Wednesday night made points for the BFG All-Terrain KOs on the '05 Dodge Ram 4x4 pickup.  Earlier in the day, I drove to Sacramento over I-80 from the greater Reno Area.  It rained cats and dogs all the way to Sacramento, yet I held to posted speed limits.  On the way home after midnight, there were 25 miles of sleet and building snow over Donner Summit, and the 4WD traction of these tires was quite confidence inspiring.

 

I'd like to see a hearty discussion here.  I ran Goodyear tires for many years in addition to BFG.  The XJ Cherokee had Toyo tires for some time.  There are tread designs in each brand that work well.  What I like about the current crop of BFG tires is their versatility.  The Cherokee gets a fair share of trail work in the spring through fall, and these KO tires do well on slick, loose and dry road surfaces.  The Ram pulls a conventional trailer at times and weighs 9000# with no load or trailer.  The single drive rear wheels demand a lot of stability from the tires when towing.  I do run Load Range E on the Ram but dropped intentionally to Load Range D for the 33" tires on the XJ Cherokee.  "E" was too much for the Cherokee. 

 

The newer curved tread profile on the BFG KO tires is unique and works nicely.  As with any tire, inflation pressures are crucial.  I cannot overstate the importance of "testing tires" at correct inflation pressures for the road conditions, weight of the vehicle, weight distribution and tire design and load requirements.  We can go into this question deeper. 

 

Happy to elaborate further...

 

Moses



#6 biggman100

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Posted 05 February 2014 - 09:22 PM

Another tire I have found that seems to work very well in the snow are Bridgestone Blizzaks. I bought a Nissan sentra that had them, and it got good traction in mud and snow, so I bought a set for my 1991 Dakota, and I got good traction in all kinds of weather, and a bonus was that they didn't seem to wear out as quickly as some of the others I have had.



#7 jj_jeep

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 03:22 PM

I decided to go for the BFG AT KO's for my TJ.  I think this is the third set of them for this Jeep.  The mechanic who is putting them on for me advised that they are the best truck tire out there.  He has them on his rig.  He said the General's tread looks similar, but friends of his who have had them say they didn't last as long and their next set was BFG. 

 

But when next winter rolls around, I might take another look at winter tires, like Biggman suggests.  Coworkers have them on their front drive cars and they seem to blaze the way through snow and icy highways.  Frankly, my Wrangler with a limited slip rear differential is downright scary on roads that have ice here and there or worse yet, black ice.  In four wheel hi the Jeep is fine, but I spun out once years ago when I lifted my foot off the gas on road that I didn't know was slippery.  I was in two wheel drive and I was on a slight curve in the highway going about 50 mph and when I lifted my foot out of the gas, one of the tires must have lost grip and the limited slip action locked the wheels together.  With the short wheelbase of the Jeep, there was just not enough time to recover.  I fishtailed wildly and finally came to a stop sideways on the highway, grateful that I was still "shiny side up".  For the record, that incident occurred with some Yokohama Geolandar AT's, not the BFG's. 



#8 Moses Ludel

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Posted 08 February 2014 - 10:33 PM

jj_jeep, I believe you'll be happy with the BFG All-Terrain KO tires.  You bring up an important point, though, about automatic lockers, a quirk that I have been knocking in my writing since the 'eighties.  There are times, like an icy off-camber highway, when a rear automatic (factory in your case) locker will do exactly as you describe and put the ass end of the vehicle into either a spin or drop the rear of the vehicle to the low side of the road when both rear tires begin to spin at the same time.

 

I prefer a manual locking axle for that reason and leave it "open" on off-camber highways with ice.  Lockers are great for mud, rocky traction, the Rubicon Trail and even snow, but a locker is not good on ice when the two rear wheels suddenly decide to spin in sync, especially in 2WD mode.  This is especially dangerous with shorter wheelbase, lighter vehicles, and a TJ Wrangler fits that description.  Our '99 XJ Cherokee, loaded with accessories and a longer 101.4" wheelbase, fares a bit better, although I built the front and rear axles with manual ARB Air Lockers and leave the axles unlocked (open) on icy highways in 4WD.

 

Tires cannot help this situation much.  Ironically, I've had better luck on icy roads with narrower tread tires, which put more pounds per square inch vehicle weight on the tire footprint.  For deep snow, mud or sand, the opposite is true, and wider "high flotation" tires work better.  High flotation on wet and icy highways is a recipe for hydroplaning and sliding.  Lateral sipes in the tire tread help, and the BFG All-Terrain KOs have strategically placed sipes for lateral stability on slick surfaces.  This is a good all around choice for multi-purpose use. 

 

Moses



#9 belvedere

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 04:05 PM

We have Cooper ATRs on the wife's Liberty, and have been happy with them.  I believe the current version is called the AT3.



#10 Moses Ludel

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Posted 09 February 2014 - 05:16 PM

Good choice for a Liberty!  It's a surprisingly hefty vehicle, and you've hinted that your wife's Liberty is predominantly highway driven.  The AT3 is a good choice, Cooper has been aggressive at updating tire design and increasing the range of sizes. 

 

I met Cooper management staff at the SEMA Show in November, they were very interested in reaching the 4WD SUV consumers and getting feedback from media...Expect Cooper to be more proactive around the hardcore 4x4 trail market in the future.

 

Moses



#11 Rocket Doctor

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Posted 26 February 2014 - 10:42 AM

I'm running Sport King A/T radials on a 2500 GMC pickup, and a K5 Blazer. The tread is fairly close, so in the 'Tiger Poop' mud, they load up pretty quick, and they're no more effective than a well worn highway tread. In anything else, they do great, and I'm well over 40K miles on both sets. Can't seem to wear the things out. IIRC, I bought them at a local Tire Factory store, for less than $70 apiece, if that tells you how long ago I got 'em.

 

I'm running Toyo A/T's on a 93 F250, and was originally concerned about them loading up with the fairly mild tread pattern. No concerns as of yet, but, the truck is big enough that getting way, way up in the boondocks with it isn't my first choice for a rig. While mounted on that pickup, a 'plus cab', or whatever they call the thing, with 8' bed and 4X4, 10.25 rear axle, and the TTB front, I've hauled a 10 1/2' self contained camper, and pulled a tongue-pull 26' camp trailer, and other times, a 23' Reinell with cuddy and big block 460 and 80 gallons of fuel. They have worn great for me, and have yet to have any problems getting into and out of unimproved camp spots, and have yet to slip a tire pulling the boat out on some fairly severe wet concrete ramps!

 

My 'other' F250, an 04 Super Duty with V10, has a set of Goodyear Wrangler 'Authority' tires. Honestly, I haven't had the things off road much, other than in some snow and firm mud that I've encountered this winter. On slushy roads, and on ice, I've felt entirely secure with the things, but, I'm really conservative when I drive in winter conditions. Better mileage, and have yet to have to call a tow truck or ambulance! The one thing I don't care for with these tires is the road noise at highway speed (55-75). In this truck, I have to have a window open to really notice it, but, when I do, the 'drumming' is fairly pronounced. Got these, believe it or not, at WalMart, for a reasonable cost, on the recommendation of my son in law, who's been running a set on his older 2500 GMC, loaded with firewood, or pulling a camper or trailer full of ATV's.

 

My 98 Cherokee has run several sets of tires in the years I've owned it. The set I that were on it until two years ago were a set of Cooper tires with an "all terrain" tread and a 30-9.50 size mounted on 15 inch steel wheels. Gave really good mileage in this rig, even at 75 mph, with good handling manners, and, were capable off road, as well. The tread surprised me in the way it handled bumper deep snow! Fairly 'narrow' when mounted up, they didn't give a lot of drag, nor push a lot of snow in front. They just cut through, dug in, and kept moving!

 

I loaned the Cherokee to my son to drive over in Wyoming out in 'oil patch', and when I got it back, the Coopers were in the back, and a set of Les Schwab "Bighorn Maxis" 235-75-15's installed, according to him because they "looked so much cooler".... Anyway, these tires, with open, "mud terrain" tread that refuses to clog with mud, and after several trips out into the lava beds and flows out between home, Craters of the Moon NM, the Big Southern Butte, and on up into the rocky outcroppings into the primitive trails in the mining districts, I've yet to have any complaints except two....and I think they're common to any tire with this tread design, and those are highway noise, and rapid tread wear. I see the most wear with 'around town' and highway use than I do in the boondocks!
All of the tires on the 2500, and both F250's are 10 ply tires with corresponding load ratings.

 

I think that somewhere down the road, I'm going to order a set of re-caps from these folks. Hey, I'm not made of cash, and a couple of friends here in town have run them off road, and don't worry a whit about them. https://www.treadwri...om/default.aspx



#12 recomer

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Posted 05 March 2014 - 07:03 PM

I spent a few years in Maine and used General Grabber AT2s year round out up there. Great all around tire, and excellent winter traction. Balanced easy, handled well, weren't noisy.





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