Tires on the mind, the search for the right tire

Tires on the mind, the search for the right tire

I’ve got tires on my mind. I’m not even in immediate need of new tires — My Nittos are holding up just fine.  The reason I’ve got tires on my mind is I’m planning to upsize sometime next year.

In late spring or early summer, I’d like to move up to a 33-inch tire. That’s a 1.5-2-inch (depending on size and tread depth) increase over my 31.5-inch Nitto Terra Grapplers I’m running right now.

So why, if I don’t need new tires and can’t afford them, am I looking at them now? The answer is, tires are expensive and knowing which tires I want, and what I’ll need to do in order to fit them, will help me make the best decision come spring.

The right tires are important, especially off-road. I’ve seen vehicles get stuck simply because they didn’t have the right tires.

The right tires for your car really depends on what you drive and where you want to go. For most people, a good set of all-seasons will do just fine, but if you enjoy heading off the beaten path, more aggressive tires will serve you better.

Most off-road tires come in one of two varieties: mud-terrains and all-terrains. As their names suggest, mud-terrains are better in the soupy stuff and all-terrains are like the Swiss army knife of tires.

Mud-terrains are all-around better off-road, but don’t do as well on the hard stuff. On pavement, mud-terrains are noisier, wear faster and perform poorly in wet or icy conditions.

All-terrains, on the other hand, provide better on-road comfort, produce less noise, wear slower and fair well in icy conditions, but lack the same off-road competency of a mud-terrain.

Hybrid tires attempt to strike a balance between all-terrains and mud-terrains. Nitto’s Ridge Grapplers and Toyo’s Open Country R/Ts fall into this category of tires.

So which tire

For my next set of tires I plan on either a modest mud-terrain or a aggressive hybrid tire.

I’m currently considering a set of Toyo’s Open Country R/Ts and mud-terrains, Nitto’s Trail Grapplers and Ridge Grapplers, and Cooper’s STT Pros.

I am leaning heavy toward a set of Cooper STT Pros or Toyo mud-terrains because of their attractive tread designs and balanced performance in reviews.

Fitting them

Fitting larger tires isn’t always possible without installing a lift.

Thankfully, 33-to-34-inch tires will fit under my Wrangler without modification. Still, I plan to install a set of 3/4-inch coil spacers for improved clearance and ride dampening.

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What do you think?

What tires would you guys recommend? Had good experience with a brand? I’d love to hear it. Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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