Do you need advice on fitting bigger tires to your 2022 Land Rover Defender? Is your Defender suspension stock without lift rods? This article covers the biggest tire size you can fit on both 18-inch, 19 and 20-inch tires with and without lift rods as well as your options when running “Steelies”.
The biggest tire you can fit on your new Defender without lift rods on 18-inch wheels is 32.1” with a metric size of 275/65/R18. The biggest tire you can fit without lift rods on 20-inch wheels is 31.9” with a metric size of 275/55/R20. The Biggest tire you can fit with 1.5” lift rods, 30mm spacers, and +25 offset wheels is 33.2” with a metric size of 275/70/R18.
Before you continue, keep in mind that differences in tire fitment might boil down to individual tires from manufacturers where one brand will fit perfectly, while others of the same size from a different company will not. There are slight variations among tire manufacturers and they do not use the same tire molds.
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Biggest Tires on A New Defender (W/Without Rods)
The following part of this article will deal with tire sizes for different scenarios. Some Defender owners actually go off-road and want the biggest size possible while others simply want a more rugged look without any additional suspension modification, such as lift rods, spacers, steel rims, etc. Some owners don’t think it is worth going to 33s and having to deal with trimming and rubbing.
So, let’s see what are the biggest tires we can fit to an 18-inch OEM rim.
Biggest tire on 18-inch wheels
With the OEM 18-inch wheels you can comfortably run between 31.6” and 32.1” in the form of 265/60R18. Many owners have confirmed the BFG KO2 will fit without any lift rods.
If you want to go the absolute maximum without lift rods you can run as high as 32.1” in the form of 275/65/r18. Again, many owners have confirmed the BFG KO2s fit with no rubbing during on-road driving.
There are some owners who have successfully fitted 32.6” tires in the form of General Grabber X3s and claim they still didn’t experience any rubbing at full turn in on-road mode or access height. This option is a very close fit and depending on the brand of tire, there might be some slight contact.
Biggest tire on 18-inch Steelies
When running Terrafirma 18” “Steelies” you easily go as high as 275/65/18. Owners who have fitted these tires report that there is some very slight rubbing only at access height. There are no reports of rubbing when in Normal Height mode and this size is the maximum you should run without lift rods.
Biggest tire on 19-inch wheels
As far as my research on the topic goes, it appears there are not many Off-road friendly AT tires available for 19” wheels. Defender owners running 19s have reported the 32.1” in the form of 255/65/19 to be the biggest size before lift rods.
Biggest tire on 20-inch wheels
If you are running 20s and looking for a tire with the perfect width that fits neatly in the wheel well then you should look at the 31.9” tire in the form of a 275/55/20. Owners report that the BFG Ko2 on factory 20″ wheels fits nicely with zero rubbing. This size fits perfectly with or without 30MM wheel spacers installed. They fit neatly in the wheel well and their width is perfect which makes them a decent option for everyday driving and off-road work without additional suspension mods.
Biggest tire with rods
When you run lift rods you have more options available to you. Combined with Aftermarket steelies and a better offset you can squeeze the absolute maximum in the defender wheel wells.
Owners are reporting that 33.2” in sizes up to 275/70/R18 is possible when combined with Rod lifts and 30mm spacers to clear the brakes. You should opt for 1.5” rod lifts for this application to make them fit without rubbing when in on-road height.
Even with the above setup, owners reported still experiencing some minor contact here and there but nothing too crazy. If you want to avoid any contact then rather run 32.6” in the form of 265/70s. Alternatively, get your grinder out and cut away the plastic bits in the wheel well where the contact is made.
Then there are those who have reported they are running 32.6” in the form of 285/65r18 KO2s with 1.5” lift rods and +25 offset wheels. Minor contact is reported in front but only at full lock and during normal height. During off-road height, no rub is experienced.
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Advantages and Disadvantages of Bigger Tires
Big tire upgrades are one of the most popular, if not the MOST popular upgrades owners make to their vehicles, and with good reason. For many, it’s a case of an aesthetics improvement and practicality upgrade, while others seek the best off-road capabilities and driving characteristics their trucks can offer.
With that being said, as is the case with most modifications, there is always a trade-off. With bigger tires come a few pros and cons you simply cannot ignore, so make sure you proceed armed with all the relevant information at hand.
With taller and wider tires you get the following:
Let’s start with the Pros first.
- Increased ground clearance
- Improved approach angle
- Improved departure angle
- Improved Break-over angle
- Increased wading depth.
- Wider tires increase your vehicle’s traction, both on and off-road
- Improved control and handling.
- Better control on slippery surfaces such as sand, snow, and mud.
- Improved stability due to the wider tires
- Improved aesthetics
Some of the Cons Include:
- Increase in fuel consumption (Less mpg)
- Expensive tire replacement costs
- Increase in stopping distance (Longer stopping time)
- Decrease in acceleration
- Decrease in overtaking speeds
- Slight Understeer feeling
- Inaccurate speed readings (Size Dependant)
- More wear on certain suspension components
- A requirement for aftermarket suspension component upgrades (Size Dependant)
Armed with the above intel now allows you to make a more educated decision as to whether your desired upgrade is worth the cost outlay. If the vehicle is not driven regularly and not your daily driver then you have more wiggle room, however, if this is your only vehicle then you’d do well to stay within the safe zone of not going bigger than 3% to 5% of your stock tire’s size to minimize the disadvantages
User Experiences & Feedback
I have tried both the 275 / 60 R20 and the 265 / 60 R20 KO2s. There was definite rubbing on rear of front wheel well liner when wheel is turned on the 275 / 60 R20. The liner could be tacked down tighter to the wheel well and it may be ok. With regards to the 265 / 60 R20, it was super close. At this point I chose not to make the change; I would love to hear from folks that have installed a larger tire.https://landroverforums.com/forum/2020-defender-60/no-lift-tire-size-guide-work-progress-101530/
…there are almost no off-road tires offered for a 19″ wheel.https://landroverforums.com/forum/2020-defender-60/no-lift-tire-size-guide-work-progress-101530/page6/
The math says that a 275/60R19 is 31.99″ tall. I can’t find a tire like that. A 285/60R19 would be about 32.46″ tall. I can’t find an off-road tire for that either. A 265/65R19 is 32.56″ tall, and no luck with a tire. These would all in theory fit.
If you go to what would be a 33″ tire, 255/70R19 would be 33.06″ tall. But there is no such off-road tire I can find.If you have the 19″ wheel, you are severely limited to what sizes are available.
I have tried both the 275 / 60 R20 and the 265 / 60 R20 KO2s. There was definite rubbing on rear of front wheel well liner when wheel is turned on the 275 / 60 R20. The liner could be tacked down tighter to the wheel well and it may be ok. With regards to the 265 / 60 R20, it was super closehttps://landroverforums.com/forum/2020-defender-60/no-lift-tire-size-guide-work-progress-101530/
This might boil down to individual tires from manufacturers that will fit, while others of the same size from a different company will not fit. There are always variations among tire manufacturers.