When it comes time to choose the best tires for your Jeep Wrangler, you might get conflicting answers from different people you ask. The tires that came with your Wrangler will depend on the model, but most of the choices that Jeep made for the factory-equipped tires (original equipment, OE) were aimed towards striking a balance between ride quality, capability, fuel economy, and cost. That choice of balance may not match what you’d prefer or need for your Wrangler and how you use it. This guide should help you find the best option for your situation to fit your Jeep Wrangler.
Online tire prices are usually less than in store
Wondering what tires came standard on your Jeep Wrangler? The current-generation Wrangler has several trim levels with both 17-inch and 18-inch wheels. The following are the factory-installed tires for the Wrangler:
Using consumer survey results from a variety of industry surveys plus expected and (when available) real-life tread wear and other metrics for tire choices, we’ve compiled a list of the go-to options for Jeep Wrangler owners. The Wrangler comes with both 17- and 18-inch wheels, depending on the model, so we’ve created lists based on both wheel sizes.
The two things that affect every vehicle’s tires, no matter the make or model, are mileage and time. Mileage measures the tread life of the tire as it’s used while time measures the breakdown of the chemicals used to give the tire the properties it’s designed to have. Both should be considered when planning for replacement tires on your Jeep Wrangler.
Most tires are aimed towards having a five year lifespan in terms of time before breakdown. Given that most drivers cover around 12,500 miles per year (on average), most drivers will surpass the tread life mileage of their tire before the five year time limit is up.
Tires have a UTQG (Uniform Tire Quality Grade) rating. This rating is added by tire manufacturers as a measure of their assessment of the tire’s capabilities for treadwear, traction and temperature. The UTQG usually comes up next to the tire name as three digits and a number (eg. 500 A A) during an online search.
You can learn a little about the tire from this rating. Using our example above:
To give a real-world example, let’s look at the original equipment Goodyear Wrangler All-Terrain Adventure with Kevlar found on some models of the Jeep Wrangler Sahara. These have a UTQG rating of 640 A B. These have a treadwear rating of 640, a wet traction rating of A, and a heat resistance of B. So they have a tread life of about 60,000 miles, good wet stopping capability, and decent extreme heat resistance.
With wear, tire replacement usually needs to happen when the treads are too shallow to offer enough grip for the tire’s safety expectation. This can be measured in several ways, but the mileage total on the tires is a good place to start. If the tires on your Jeep no longer have well-defined tread with clear “slits” in them, it’s time to consider replacement. Most tire professionals have measuring tools to determine the amount of tread life you’ve likely got left. The less tread a tire has, the more likely it is to fail or be subject to damage.
The next consideration for tire replacement is time. Every tire sold in North America has a raised date code on its sidewall. This code can usually be found near the sizing information or tire inflation maximums. It will start with the letters DOT followed by 12 digits in three groups of four digits each. The third group of digits is the date code, read as week and year. The first two numbers are the week, the second two are the year. Thus a date code of 1820 indicates a manufacturing date in the 18th week of 2020 (April 27-May3 of 2020). The tire would thus expire five years from that point, or April 27, 2025.
Tires more than five years old are susceptible to breakdown in chemistry which will affect stopping distance, weather resistance, and more. Many tires will begin to crack or bulge under continued use after their date of expiration. This makes old tires very dangerous.
The manufacturer made choices for your Jeep Wrangler that balanced fuel economy, life expectancy, road comfort, and relationships with manufacturers when choosing an OEM option for your Jeep. That balance may fit your needs perfectly, in which case there’s no reason to change which tires are on your Wrangler. Simply request OEM tires when you buy new replacements and you’re done.
Chances are, however, that your usage and needs aren’t the same as those generalized by the engineers at Jeep when choosing the OEM rubber. If you walk a different path, you’ll need different shoes. So choosing a non-OEM option might be better for you if you have budget, capability, or weather considerations you want to accommodate.
Your choice might be more aimed towards budget, safety, on- or off-road capability, or even just aesthetics. It’s your Jeep, you can make your choice for it.
The Jeep Wrangler can have several tire and wheel combinations made to it. The Wrangler is the most-modified vehicle on the road (and likely off of it), so changing tire and wheel sizes is common. If you’ve added a lift, a drop, different suspension components, or other upgrades to your Jeep, you’re probably also looking to change tire and wheel sizes to match. You’ll need to choose based on your modifications.
If most of your Jeep Wrangler’s chassis is stock, however, but you’d like to change its appearance or capability, then changing tire and wheel choices might be something you’re considering. In that case, there is one big element that must be kept in mind. Any change to the tire size from factory original must be accompanied by changes to the wheel to accommodate. And vice versa. Otherwise, the new tire/wheel combination will change the odometer and speedometer readings in the Jeep and could change clearance and safety characteristics as well.
The rule of thumb is to keep the total diameter of the tire and wheel the same. If you downsize the tire wall, you must upside the wheel to match. Conversely, any change to the wheel size must be accompanied by a change to the tire wall height.
There are advantages and disadvantages to downsizing or upsizing wheels.
Going up in wheel size:
The numbers and letters in a tire’s size code mean several things. Understanding them is important as each vehicle and each wheel for it have different tire size requirements. These numbers also denote important factors like the tire’s load rating, speed capability, and so forth.
Let’s look at an example. The Jeep Wrangler Willys Firestone Destination M/T2 factory tires are sized LT255/75R17 rated 111/108Q:
Knowing how to read the size numbers, we can look at the different types of tires available for your Jeep. There are a variety of choices for tire types:
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Online tire prices are usually less than in store
Take a look at the recommendations in this story, for a start. The first step is to be honest about the kind of driving you do. It makes no sense to buy a mud terrain tire if the closest you get to the wilderness is parking in front of an Eddie Bauer store at the mall.
A 31-inch tire is about the biggest you can put on a stock Wrangler without rubbing issues. If you want to go larger than that, you’ll have to consider lifting the Jeep.
Inside your driver’s side door will be a white and yellow label that will tell you the exact tire pressure recommendations for your Wrangler model. Do not use the maximum rating on the tire as your inflation point as this is the most pressure the tire is rated to handle, not the normal pressure it should have.
This depends greatly on the tires mounted on your Jeep as well as its average usage. If your Jeep is often used off-road rather than on the highway, your rotation needs will be different. Most manufacturers recommend tire rotations every 7,000 miles or so. Check with yours to be sure. If your Jeep still has its original factory tires, the owner’s manual will indicate tire rotation intervals.
Most online retailers are a good start towards getting the best price for replacement tires. You should also consider checking local retailers for special deals and incentives. Often these are in concert with an online supplier like Tire Rack and can mean significant savings.
Most online retailers include shipping in their prices. Some have incentives if the shipping is to a partnered installer.
This depends on the purchase and where you’re located. Most of the time, shipping is within 2 or 3 business days. Often, if the installer is local and has the tires in stock, shipping can be the same day.
Most shops offer free installation with tire purchase, but may charge for some add-ons like new tire stems. Mounting and balancing plus these extras can range from $15 to $50 per tire, depending on the vehicle model and work required.
Only rarely. Most tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) are part of the wheel, not the tire, and shouldn’t be affected by a tire change. Most installers can reset the TPMS during a tire change, if it’s needed. Otherwise, a new sensor is only needed if it’s been damaged.
Definitely. Most online retailers also offer tire/wheel combinations that will match your Jeep to make the seasonal swap cheaper and easier.
It’s not required, but it can save time, hassle, and money over the longer run. It can also mean a package deal that lowers the overall cost.
Nearly all of them do and often in concert with the local, traditional store that does the installation for you.
Ordering your tires online vs. the shop will save you money