Best All Season Tires for Wrangler TJ - JeepForum.com
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-21-2016, 08:50 PM Thread Starter
campermh
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Best All Season Tires for Wrangler TJ

Hi all,

I'm new to the Jeep forum. I just bought my first Jeep in the beginning of June 2016. It's a 1999 Sport with the I6 and 5 speed. I think I made a good find because it has hardly and rot underneath and the paint job has no fading or chipping.

Now, I'll stop talking about my car and ask my question.

The car came with General Ameritracs, size 265/75R15. They have absolutely no dry rot and the tread is about 70%. However while I was painting my rims I noticed that the tires were made in 2003, making them 13 years old. My mechanic said that it's obviously not the safest thing to drive on them but said if I don't want to spend the money to replace then I should wait for a flat. I mostly drive around town and usually drive an hour a week on the Garden State Parkway. I hardly ever bring the car over 60 (it doesn't seem like it wants to go any faster). I figure that you all will recommend getting new tires as most forums I read regarding old tires said you were stupid driving on anything older than 8-10 years.

My real question is what type of tires do you recommend for the Wrangler? I like the oversized I have on now and would prefer to keep it around that size. I'm not a huge fan of the tread, I fishtailed today in light rain (guess it's part of having rwd too). I'm in New Jersey so we get a lot of rain. We also get hit pretty hard with snow in the winter. I am more than open to buying used tires (obviously taking the right precautions). That would actually be preferred because I'm not sure if I'll keep the car when I go to college in a year.

Sorry for the long write-up, I'm new here.

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post #2 of 19 Old 08-22-2016, 08:07 AM
biffgnar
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For your use, sounds like something like a Duratrac might be a decent option, although a bit more aggressive than what you are running now.

The fish tailing you describe is pretty common with TJs. Its the short wheelbase of the vehicle. Tire choice can make it more or less likely but really something you need to understand and be prepared to drive accordingly.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-22-2016, 04:59 PM
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If you never leave the road, Duratracs are overkill. If you never leave the road, you can get tires that perform as good or better for less money. Frankly, though, I've wasted a lot of time writing recommendations for guys who never leave the road only to have them refuse all of my advice because they still want the look of an AT or MT tire, so I'm more than happy to get down to business with you, but you gotta let me know if you ever leave the road and/or if there is a certain look you want to have so that I don't potentially waste our time barking up the wrong tree.

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-22-2016, 06:34 PM
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Define "best" ?

What is the budget ?

A decent looking low cost tire is the Kumho AT-51. They are quiet on dry pavement, and provide very good traction in Minnesota thunderstorms and blizzards. BFG T/A All Terrain are always a good choice. Firestone Destination A/T's suck.

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post #5 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 09:20 AM Thread Starter
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I almost never leave the road. Something that will handle well on road and in snow/rain is most important to me. I don't mind if they're noisy. I want to maintain the look I have now, the 265/75's look really nice. Anything near that size range would be good. I really want to stay in the $400 range if the tires are new and if they're used $250-$300.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campermh View Post
Something that will handle well on road and in snow/rain is most important to me.
In a TJ, honestly nothing is going to handle well in weather compared to say AWD vehicles out there. As another member put it - fantastic in 2 feet of snow but a handful in 2 inches of snow. If that is really critical to you then you need to have a dedicated set of snow tires and even then your driving style has to adapt.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 04:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by campermh View Post
I almost never leave the road. Something that will handle well on road and in snow/rain is most important to me. I don't mind if they're noisy. I want to maintain the look I have now, the 265/75's look really nice. Anything near that size range would be good. I really want to stay in the $400 range if the tires are new and if they're used $250-$300.
Gotcha. Recommendations will be coming.

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post #8 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 05:29 PM
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P.S. Pre-first of all, if your current tires are doing the job, there truly is no dry rot (sidewall or between tread blocks), the rubber is still flexing fine, and they have good tread depth yet, I'd say drive on them if you want especially if doing so buys you enough time to save money and improve your tire budget because you're about to read how a $400 budget isn't going to work too well. There is no set rule for when tires are too old to be safe.


First of all, I'm a proponent of 5-tire sets especially for Wranglers. Doing a 5-tire rotation means that you get the most out of all 5 tires--the set will last 20% longer than a 4-tire set (so it costs you nothing extra in the long run), and you can be confident in knowing that if you ever need the spare, it hasn't dry-rotted from years and years of being unused and will be well-pressurized. I also think it looks ridiculous for tailgate-mounted spares to be flat, dry rotting, and mismatched.

Second of all, even doing only 4 tires is going to be more than $400. You're not going to find tires in your desired size for less than $110 per tire, and that's before mounting and balancing fees. You're either going to have to budge, or buy used. Used tires are a roll of the dice in terms of what's available and what you get, so I'm just going to stick to going over this from a new tire perspective. Even if this post can't help you, someone else reading may benefit.

Third, you can do just fine with P265/75r16. LT265/75r15 tends to be a little more expensive, a little heavier, and can sometimes have a rougher ride. If you're trying to get the best price and don't haul heavy loads (a TJ just can't) and don't drive into gnarly terrain, P-metrics are the way to go for you when you have the choice.


Now, here's a complete list of the best choices, and let's start eliminating some of them for you. First, let's eliminate the ones strictly based on price. I'm going by online prices, but local prices can vary. For example, Nitto is very uncommon in my area and is a pricey brand around here simply because of that, but people with many Nitto dealers around probably see better prices. Second, let's trim away the ones that I don't feel are the most appropriate for you needs. You said you "almost" never leave the road, so I'm going to assume there's at least some chance you'll drive down a rough gravel/dirt road or through a field at some point. You also said you want to drive this set through rain and, more importantly, snow.

  • Kumho Road Venture AT51
  • Cooper Discoverer AT3
  • Firestone Destination LE2
  • Yokohama Geolander AT G015
  • Hankook Dynapro ATM
  • Yokohama Geolander G056
  • Bridgestone Dueler A/T Revo 2
  • Kumho Crugen HT51 (Very new model that is replacing the APT KL51. I don't know how well they'd handle snow but would be surprised if that isn't their weak spot.)
  • Kumho Road Venture APT KL51 (Great HT that I use spring/summer/fall, but you can do better with others on this list in the snow)
  • General Grabber HTS 60 (Great HT, but you can do better with others on this list in the snow)
  • Continental CrossContact LX20 Ecoplus(Touring tire. An awesome touring tire, but I've never been fond of the thought of taking touring tires off the road. I'll take HT's off the road, but I draw the line at touring tires)
  • Bridgestone Dueler HL Alenza Plus (I'm going to strike this one now cuz it would get eliminated later anyway and this allows us to say that the contenders that a left are all $140/tire or less)
  • General Grabber AT2 (Normally a well-priced tire that is surprisingly expensive in your size)
  • Goodyear Wrangler Adventure AT w/ Kevlar (Too expensive--it doesn't do anything for your purposes that other choices don't already do)
  • Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac (Overkill considering you stay on the road, and overpriced especially considering you won't get the most out of it and an active wheeler)
  • Michelin Defender MS2 (Overpriced; other tires in this list will perform as well for much less)
  • BFG AT2 (I don't know if you can get it in your specific size, but if it is, I still consider it overpriced especially for you and your needs)


In the end, it's hard not to just tell you to pick up some Kumho AT51's especially since Cooper AT3's, while being an utterly fantastic AT do have a little bit of trouble with ice and some hard-packed snow (hence why Cooper admitted these shortcomings and made the Cooper ATW) and because the Hankook ATM's winter (and some report wet, too) performance really peters out as they wear. Revo 2's are utterly awesome for wet areas, but only so-so in snow. Maybe if where you live water is a much bigger issue then these might be the ticket, but they are a bit more expensive than the AT51's. The Firestone LE2's and Yoko Go56's are HT tires that make your list and are really great at what they do, but in the end, all factors point straight at Kumho AT51 for about $110 per tire.

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post #9 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 06:00 PM
jay-h
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CJ7-Tim View Post
Define "best" ?

What is the budget ?

A decent looking low cost tire is the Kumho AT-51. They are quiet on dry pavement, and very good traction in Minnesota thunderstorms and blizzards. BFG T/A All Terrain are always a good choice. Firestone Destination A/T's suck.
I've done great with BFG TA. Got 80K out of first set. Second set is about 60K now, original center tread depth was about 10mm, now down to about 6. I just tranfered them over to wife's Grand Cherokee, and got BFG A/T KO2 for Wrangler (I like the winter tire rating)

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post #10 of 19 Old 08-23-2016, 08:43 PM Thread Starter
campermh
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Wow! Lots of information! I really appreciate the help.

I like the idea of sticking with what I got. I'm just uneasy about driving on tires that old because everything I read suggested against it.The tires are in great shape, no sidewall dry rot and some very minor dry rot in between the treads. I was just looking and they honestly seem to be in better shape than the 1 year old continentals that came on my mom's car.

If I later change my mind or have a blowout and get new tires, I like the idea of the Kumhos. They look good and based on reviews and your advice they seem to drive good. The only thing is I can't seem to find them for 15' wheels, only 16'. I would rather not buy new wheels and it seems hard to even give away the stock steel wheels so a trade would be out of the question.

I think a lot of my handling issues may be from just not being used to driving the TJ like biffgnar said. I've never had a rwd car nor something with such a short wheelbase. Maybe I'll go out to a lot in the snow and drive just to get a feel for how the car handles when it's slick.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-24-2016, 04:20 AM
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Originally Posted by campermh View Post
... I've never had a rwd car nor something with such a short wheelbase. Maybe I'll go out to a lot in the snow and drive just to get a feel for how the car handles when it's slick.
This is subjective, but after driving many vehicles over the decades , I've come to prefer rear wheel over front wheel in snow. When rear wheels start to slip, it seems easier to get control back.

BTW (again opinions vary) I find that the Wrangler is far less squirrely if you engage 4WD as soon as you're on slippery conditions (obviously slippery enough to allow some tire slip), rather to wait till you're stuck. Much less tendency to fishtail.

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post #12 of 19 Old 08-24-2016, 07:38 AM
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Your profile says your tire size is 265/75r16. Some of my advice was based on this. If you have 15" wheels please confirm what your tire size actually is so that I can give you accurate advice.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-25-2016, 08:51 AM Thread Starter
campermh
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My bad. Typo! They are 265/75R15
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post #14 of 19 Old 08-25-2016, 12:07 PM
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Ill be back with adjustments to my advice this evening.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-25-2016, 05:04 PM
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OK. Same story, fewer options. 265/75r15 is basically an extinct tire size. There is a flotation size, 31x10.5r15, that is essentially identical in dimensions, however. If you're happy with your current size, switch to 31x10.5's. Just make sure to the ones with a load rating of C. D or E will be overkill for a TJ and hurt your ride quality.

Same basic list as above, and it still boils down to the Kumho AT51's for $112/tire (just going by online pricing again; Tirerack in this specific case). One significant shift is that the General Grabber AT2 is one of the more affordable ones at this size as is usually the case for that tire which does put it in the final few contenders for you as far as I'm concerned (probably my #2 recommendation, actually).

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