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Go Back JeepForum.com > General Technical Discussions > Tires & Wheels > What's better: 10.5 or 12.5 wide tires?

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Unread 06-23-2013, 05:58 PM   #46
Charley3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike_dippert View Post
As a general rule, I agree with you. But there are a couple exceptions to the rule. Those exceptions make it plainly clear that there is much more to it than the numbers on the sidewall.

#1: the General Grabber 33x10.5 weighs a staggering 60lbs.
#2: the 33x12.5 Duratrac weighs 49lbs.

The skinny Grabber will be a noticeably worse compared to the wider Duratrac in acceleration AND braking. I believe tire weight plays a bigger role than the width alone. My examples are extremes on the spectrum, but they are great for making my point. Size alone does not have a detrimental effect.
You are correct that weight matters a lot. So does width. Usually narrower tires are lighter. That is certainly the case when you compare two widths of the same model and height.

The General Grabber is one of the heaviest (and toughest) tires made per size, and Duratrac is one of the lightest per size. So in your example the wider tire is lighter. In your example I don't know which tire would give better gas mileage. However, that's an apples to oranges comparison because the General Grabber tire is heavier because it's way tougher. Your example is like saying a 12 extra wide tennis shoe is lighter than a 12 medium boot.

If you compare any brand and model of 33 x 10.5 R15 to same brand and model of 33 x 12.5 R15, the narrower tire is much lighter.

Compare a BFG AT in 33 x 10.5 R15 to a 33 x 12.5 R15 and the narrower tire is a lot lighter.

Compare a General Grabber 33 x 10.5 R15 to 33 x 12.5 R15 and the narrower tire is a lot lighter.

Compare a Toyo MT 33 x 10.5 R15 to a 33 x 12.5 R15 and the narrower tire is a lot lighter.

Compare a Duratrac 31 x 9.5 R16 load C (245/75R16C) to 31 x 10.5 R15 load C and the narrower tire is a lot lighter.

I think the real point you were making is that there aren't as many tire choices available in 33 x 10.5 R15, and specifically the Duratrac isn't made in that size, and if you want a 33 R15 Duratrac it has to be 12.5 wide because that's the only choice, and it's light enough construction to still give decent gas mileage. If that was your point, I agree with you.

Although I prefer narrower tires when a narrow size is made in a tire I want, I concede that there is a shortage of narrow choices and sometimes wide is the only option if you want a specific brand/model of tire. So if you want a 33 R15 Duratrac, I can understand you buying it in 12.5 wide because its the only width available.

In my case, I like 245/75R16 load C tires (31 x 9.5 R16) for my XJ and that is available in two of my favorite tires (Cooper AT3 and Duratrac). So I don't have to compromise. I can get a tire I want in the narrow size I want.

In 33 tall, there are only a few good narrow tires to choose from. So I understand your point. If you want a specific tire, you buy the size available. Duratrac is a good tire.

Having said that, there are still some good 33 x 10.5 R15 and 255/85R16 (33 x 10 R16 choices).

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Unread 06-23-2013, 07:49 PM   #47
conceitedjake
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I just swapped from 12.5's back to 10.5's and I am very satisfied. That's all that matters really.
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Unread 06-23-2013, 07:55 PM   #48
jp360cj
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charley3 View Post
I've been getting PMs from a few people who told me they agreed with my post saying narrower is better for most things, especially DD year round and Winter roads.

I also said wider is better for extreme rockcrawling and extreme sand running, but narrower aired down is adequate for mild to moderate use on those terrains.

My main point was that narrower is better for DD and wide tires on DD are a fad. Narrower tires get much better gas mileage, and faster acceleration and braking, less parts wear and less breakage. Narrower tires cost less too. These are many important benefits for DD.

I've owned and run narrow and wide 33s on an LJ. I experienced the difference.

I stand by those ^ statements.

However, in my first post I should have said those things more politely. I was frustrated because my phone crapped out and lost my first attempt at posting. So when I retyped it, I was frustrated and my fuse was short (and this topic has been beat to death many times before). I apologize for the rude tone of my first post.

I acknowledge there is a shortage of narrow size choices. That is a sad side effect of the fad of wide tire on DD. However, there are still some great narrow sizes for DD. Such as 30 x 9.5 R15, 245/75R16 (31 x 9.5 R16), 31 x 10.5 R15, 265/75R16 (32 x 10.5 R16), 33 x 10.5 R15, 255/85R16 (33 x 10 R16).

While on the topic of DD, I have learned by experience that 31 is best for DD, IMO. I specifically like 31 x 9.5 R16 load C (245/75R16), but a narrow 32 is good too, and a narrow 33 is OK. Anything taller or wider and gas mileage goes to hell.
I'll agree with you on that. When you said that 33x12.50 was miserable and then recommended 31s for a DD I was thinking of gearing issues. 33s are miserable with to little power and 2.72 gears.

Also wanted to point out that wheel width makes a difference also. I can't stand when people put a narrow tire on a wide wheel. Like a 10.5" tire on a 10"wheel. I use to run 12.5 on 10" wheels and now have 12.5 on 8" wheels. Seems to drive better and steer a little easier with my manual steering.
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Unread 06-24-2013, 01:36 PM   #49
KKiowaTJ
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Must be a long running 'fad'. Ive ben running a 12.50 tire close to 18 years now, Highly doubt its a fad.

I have still yet to run across any jeeps on the trails with skinny tires unless stock 31's. A lot of street queens, But when you hit dirt/rock/trail, Its 12.50 or better. These are also DD/weekend warrior rigs. To each their own though
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Unread 06-24-2013, 02:17 PM   #50
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Is this. Horse dead yet?
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Unread 06-24-2013, 02:21 PM   #51
Charley3
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My grandpa used to run 32 x 8.2 MT back in the day on his International 4x4 pickup, as did most old timers in the 50s, 60s, and 70s. I remember this in the early 70s. I remember the younger guys at that time running 33 x 9.5, 33 x 10, 33 x 10.5, 35 x 10, and 35 x 11.5 which I think must have been the wide tires of the time.

I owned several sets of 9.5 wide. They were great on road and OK off road, but they did sink a bit to much on sand and soft mud, but on sand airing down made them adequate. But the 9.5 wide (several different brands of AT) were really excellent on road in general and especially on Winter roads.

But I wanted to sink less, float more, on soft mud and sand. So I got some 33 x 11.5 wide. They were awesome on soft mud and sand, but Winter road performance was very disappointing, and on road in general was disappointing, especially gas mileage.

So I switched to 10.5 wide and they were the best all around tires I ever owned. Those were 33 x 10.5

However, I now care most about on road performance. So I've gone back to 9.5 and they are great on road and good enough off road, and when Winter comes they will be excellent on Winter roads. 33 x 9.5 aren't made anymore (though 33 x 10 are still made), but I'm no longer wanting 33s. I like 31s for DD and I can get 31 x 9.5.

One issue is how do you define daily driver? A lot of guys think it means "possible to drive on highway". To me it means "practical to drive on highway". Two different things.
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Unread 06-24-2013, 02:27 PM   #52
Cavitation
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The old timers will tell you if you need wide tires to drive somewere you shouldnt be driving there.
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Unread 06-24-2013, 02:34 PM   #53
Charley3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavitation View Post
Is this. Horse dead yet?
No. It never dies, or if it does die, a newbie will resurrect it again soon. It's a classic topic.

I think the key reasons why it comes up over and over is that narrow tires are better at some terrains and wide tires are better at some terrains. I don't think anyone disputes that fact. The arguments happen when discussing what's best for all purpose use and for daily driver use.

The other reason this topic reapears often is that it's worth discussing and newbies want to know what's best for them. The conflicting advice and opinions are IMO bases partly on where you live. What climate and terrains you have, and what you want to use you Jeep for, and whether you care about gas mileage, or not.

For all purpose use on and off road all terrains, I think a medium width tire is best, but what is medium width? 10.5 or 11.5? It depends on how much your Jeep weighs. For a light Jeep I consider 10 to 10.5 to be medium width. For a heavy Jeep I consider 11.5 to be medium width.

So a medium width tire would make an ideal DD tire, if your priorities are equally on and off road all terrains. IMO. This was my prior preference when I off roaded a lot. IME 10.5 works good on Winter roads.

A narrow width tire (9 to 10) would make an ideal DD tire, if your priorities are mostly on road (or Winter roads), and some off road. IMO. This is my current preference now that I don't off road as much. My main priorities now are on highway year round and Winter roads. IME 9.5 works excellent on Winter roads.
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Unread 06-24-2013, 02:42 PM   #54
Charley3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cavitation View Post
The old timers will tell you if you need wide tires to drive somewere you shouldnt be driving there.
That's probably exactly what my grandpa would have said. You must have known some of "the greatest generation" old timers. They were sensible weren't they?

My grandpa did good in his IH pickup with 32 x 8.2 MT on a muddy farm near Astoria Oregon. There's nothing muddier than a farm in a rain forest climate.
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Unread 06-25-2013, 02:25 PM   #55
Charley3
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What's best width tire depends on climate, terrains, vehicle weight, and what you want to use your Jeep for.
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