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Upgrading Your Jeep Wrangler with Larger Tires After a Lift: A Comprehensive Guide


Adventure enthusiasts and off-road connoisseurs agree that there’s something inherently exciting about modifying a Jeep Wrangler. It’s the call of the wild, the allure of the untamed paths that beckon to be explored. One of the most sought-after modifications for this iconic vehicle is the installation of larger tires after a lift. This isn’t just a cosmetic upgrade; it’s a transformation that unleashes the Wrangler’s true potential. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into why you might consider this change, how to choose the right tires, and the necessary steps to ensure they’re installed correctly.

The Benefits of Going Big

Lifting your Wrangler and fitting larger tires isn’t just about creating an imposing look; it’s about enhancing the vehicle’s off-road capabilities. Larger tires provide numerous benefits, including:

  • Improved Ground Clearance: Elevating the chassis from the ground means less chance of undercarriage damage when tackling rough terrain.

  • Better Traction: Bigger tires have a larger contact area with the ground, which translates into improved grip in mud, sand, and other loose surfaces.

  • Enhanced Approach & Departure Angles: Larger tires can help increase these critical angles, allowing you to take on steeper inclines and declines.

Before diving headfirst into this modification, there are a few considerations to keep in mind.

Choosing the Right Tires

Choosing the right size and type of tire for your lifted Wrangler is crucial. Here are some factors to mull over:

  • Tire Size: There’s a limit to how big you can go without making additional modifications. Usually, a lift of 2.5 to 3.5 inches can accommodate tires up to 35 inches in diameter. Going beyond that may require changes to the gearing, suspension, and fenders.

  • Tire Width: Wider tires can give you better traction, but they can also lead to increased wear on your suspension and may require wheel spacers or new rims with the proper offset.

  • Type of Tire: All-terrain tires offer a balance between off-road capability and road manners, while mud-terrain tires are designed for the roughest conditions.

Remember, bigger isn’t always better. Bigger tires mean more weight, which can affect acceleration, braking, and fuel efficiency.

Adjusting for the New Setup

Larger tires affect the way your Wrangler handles and performs. Here’s what you might need to modify or adjust:

  • Suspension: A suspension lift not only makes room for the larger tires but also helps absorb the added stress.

  • Gearing: Larger tires can reduce acceleration and put extra strain on your engine. You might need to re-gear your differentials to compensate for the size increase.

  • Speedometer and Odometer Calibration: Installing larger tires can throw off your speedometer and odometer readings. Calibration ensures these gauges reflect the correct speed and distance.

  • Brake Upgrades: Larger, heavier tires can make stopping distances longer. Upgraded brakes can help maintain your stopping power.

Installation Process

Once you’ve chosen your new tires and made the necessary preparations, it’s time to install them. Here’s a step-by-step guide:

Step 1: Gather Tools and Materials

Before you begin, ensure you have all the tools necessary, including:

  • Jack and jack stands

  • Lug wrench or impact wrench

  • Torque wrench

  • Tire pressure gauge

Step 2: Remove the Old Tires

Park your Wrangler on a flat surface and engage the parking brake. Use the lug wrench or impact wrench to loosen the lug nuts slightly. Lift the vehicle using the jack and then place it securely on the jack stands. Remove the lug nuts completely and take off the old tires.

Step 3: Install the New Tires

Place the new tires on the wheel hubs and hand-tighten the lug nuts. Once all lug nuts are partly screwed on, lower the vehicle until the tires touch the ground, but the full weight of the Jeep is still on the jack stands. This is when you should torque the lug nuts to the manufacturer’s specifications, ensuring an even and secure fit.

Step 4: Test Drive and Inspect

After the new tires are installed, take a test drive to make sure everything feels right. Pay attention to any unusual vibrations or sounds. After the test drive, recheck the lug nuts to make sure they haven’t loosened.

Step 5: Calibrate Your Speedometer

To avoid inaccurate speedometer and odometer readings, you’ll need a programmer or calibration tool specific to your Wrangler’s model. Follow the device instructions to adjust the settings for your new tire size.

Maintenance and Considerations

Beyond installation, larger tires require regular maintenance and consideration:

  • Regular Tire Rotations: Due to the increased weight and size, it’s recommended to rotate larger tires more frequently to prevent uneven wear.

  • Air Pressure Checks: Proper inflation is critical for larger tires; too much or too little air can affect handling and cause premature wear.

  • Suspension Checks: With the extra weight, it’s good practice to check your suspension system for signs of wear periodically.


Installing larger tires after lifting your Jeep Wrangler can dramatically improve its off-road capabilities and aesthetics. But such upgrades need careful consideration and proper installation. It’s not a decision to be made lightly, as the changes to your Jeep’s handling, performance, and maintenance needs are significant. Whether you’re an off-road veteran or a novice looking to enhance your Wrangler’s abilities, follow this guide to ensure a successful upgrade. Happy trailing!