Last month one of my best friends bought a really nice, really loaded Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. It’s been two decades since he sold his CJ-7 and he once again got the Jeep thirst that he needed to quench. Seeing that he got his black JL with almost every imaginable option, I was expecting him to keep quiet for bit. That didn’t happen.

The thing with Jeeps is, it’s that there are so many things one can do to them that it’s hard to leave them stock. There are some things that improve the look, others off-road prowess, some add functionality, few that improve thing Jeep just didn’t get right, and other accessories that are just gaudy. Because he actually ventures off pavement, the first thing I suggested that he gets was an air compressor. That hasn’t happen yet but he did get some rubber floor mats, a shorter antenna, and some other minor crap.

He really loves his Jeep but for the past week he’s been going on about new tires. The Rubicon comes with excellent BFGoodrich KO2 all-terain tires in size 285/70-17 (33″), load C. It’s a really excellent tire, I have them on my 4Runner and I can’t think of a person I know who has KO2s that doesn’t like them. It’s a quiet, comfortable tire that looks great, gets excellent traction in all weather and conditions. Unless you’re rock climbing or constantly muddin’, it’s an excellent choice.

But for my friend, and many like him, that isn’t good enough. He wants bigger. Because bigger does look so much better. Because bigger has more sidewall, more traction, and more of all things tire. Jeep knew people would put bigger tires on their Wranglers/Gladiators, so they left enough space under the fenders to fit 35s. I can’t underscore how insane this is – not too long ago fitting 35s under a Wrangler required a 4″ suspension lift that made the Wrangler somewhat miserable to drive on daily basis. Now, just bolt them bad boys on – amazing.

After ignoring him for a bit, he finally whined enough for me to get to work. Below is a list of 35″ tires (and one 34’ish inch) that should fit on the JL Wrangler without a lift, and without any, or much, rubbing. I limited my search to quality all-terrain (A/T) tires. Tires that had good reviews and feedback on review sites and used forums. and tires that looked cool, too. Any of those tires should be good for anyone driving on roads in all seasons, with occasional off-road excursions. But those who are into rock climbing or serious muddin’ should look elsewhere.

Tire Brand and NameSizeStreet NameLoadActual SizeWeightPriceWebsite
BFGoodrich KO2285/70-1733″ A/TC32.8″11.5″51
BFGoodrich KO235×12.50-1735″ A/TE34.5″12.5″66 lbs.$
BFGoodrich KO2315/70-1735″ A/TC*34.4″12.7″65 lbs.$
BFGoodrich KO2315/70-1735″ A/TE34.4″12.7″65 lbs.$
Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac35X12.50-1735″ A/TE34.8″12.5″68 lbs.$
Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac315/70-1735″ A/TD34.4″12.7″61 lbs.$
Nitto Ridge Grappler**305/70-1734″ (?) A/TE33.86″12.24″68.6 lbs.$
Nitto Ridge Grappler**315/70-1735″ A/TE34.41″12.7″70.8 lbs.$
Nitto Ridge Grappler**35×12.50-1735″ A/TE34.76″12.52″75.5 lbs.$
Toyo Open Country AT II35×12.50-1735″ A/TE34.5″12.5″61 lbs.$


Caveats, because there are always caveats:

  • * – The BFG 315/70-17 KO2 tire in load range C is the OEM tire for the Ford Raptor. Its maximum load is 2,535 lbs. The original 285/70 tire on the Rubicon has a maximum load of 2755 lbs. Therefore I don’t think this would be a good choice for this application.
  • ** – Nitto makes the Terra Grappler G2, a damn good tire, standard on the 4Runner TRD Pro. But it does not look as cool as the other tires listed here. Other than that, there’s nothing wrong with it.
My suggestion to my friend is the BFG KO2 tire in the 35″ x12.50″ size. They are one of the lighter ones, ever so slightly narrower than the 315s, and they have an excellent reputation. Some forum members mentioned that it may rub at times, like at max compression and full turn – I guess we will have to find out. And I told him to make sure to order all five tires – don’t want to be the poser who didn’t upgrade their spare. With that, I had a few concerns:
  • Will the factory jack be tall enough to raise the vehicle with these bigger tires?
  • Will tailgate reinforcement be needed with the extra 10 pounds of tire hanging off it?
  • Will a third brake light bracket raiser be needed?
  • How much will the ride suffer?
  • How much hit will the fuel economy take?

I don’t have the answer to those questions at this time and I don’t have the time to research them now. To be continued.