When it comes to big tire upgrades, everyone seems to be hell-bent on oversized tires and big lifts. This article will discuss the pros and cons of 33” tires vs 35” tires and the physical differences between the two. How big of a difference does that extra 2″ of tire clearance make on the trail?
A 35” tire offers approximately 1 inch more clearance at the axle compared to a 33-inch tire.
Now that might not sound like a lot, however, that 1 inch can mean the difference between being hung up and just managing to scrape over the obstacle. So are big tires the holy grail of off-roading or are there other components and factors that are just as important, if not even more so.
Let’s find out!
Difference between 33″ And 35″ Tires Explained
Yes, there are other more important factors than squeezing the biggest tire possible on your 4WD. Those factors include but are not limited to:
- Can The Drivetrain handle the weight
- Minimum Suspension lift
- Enough Torque to accommodate the added unsprang weight
- Articulation/Down travel
- CV Angles (IFS)
Yes, sure, a larger diameter tire will in many cases be better when off-roading, provided your vehicle has enough torque to move those heavy tires off-road and your drivetrain can accommodate the additional weight.
What you really need to be asking is, what’s more, important to you, and are the added complications that are part and parcel with big tire upgrades worth it. For example, most SFA trucks with 33s will be just as capable 99% of the time compared to those with 35s, however, there will always be a situation when the larger tire will outperform. The question then is, how often will this situation arise, and will the added hassle and cost of fitting 35’s justify the number of times you’ll actually NEED it? This will highly depend on what kind of off-roading you are doing.
I guess that all depends on what type of wheeling you enjoy doing or if the truck is a dedicated off-road rig.
We have since established that the 35” tire will offer approximately 1” of clearance on the axle, but let’s look at some other factors you need to consider first.
- Diff Strength
- CV Joints (IFS)
- Fender Clearance
- UCA Clearance
- Wheel offset /Backspacing
- Gear ratios
- Speedometer accuracy
- Fuel Consumption
- Torque at the wheels
35” tires and your Drivetrain
Because the weight sits below the sprung suspension it falls part of unsprung weight. This added weight has a direct effect on fuel economy, performance, gearing, and other drivetrain components. But a 35″ tire is going to put more strain on the drivetrain to perform and to haul the 4WD over obstacles off-road. Yes, it gives you the extra 1″ of clearance, however, there are negative aspects to it as well.
Let’s look in more detail at the pros and cons of each tire.
Pros and Cons of 33’s
- Increased Ground Clearance
- Improved looks
- Improved Traction on road
- Not excessive strain on Drivetrain components
- Minimum 2” lift required (Vehicle Dependent)
- Not too much cutting involved (Vehicle dependent)
- Speedometer still relatively accurate
- No re-gearing required on most cases
- Improved off-road traction
- Sluggish performance vs Factory tires
- Increased fuel consumption
- Removal of Front mud flaps (IFS Vehicle Dependent)
- Cutting of fender liners and guards (Vehicle Dependent)
- 2” lift required for off-road use
Pros and Cons of 35’s
- Improved Ground Clearance
- Improved Aesthetics
- Improved traction
- Improved Stability on and off-road
- Diff requires re-gearing in most cases
- Speedometer reading will be inaccurate
- Increased fuel consumption
- Higher lift kit required (2.5”-3” Vehicle Dependent)
- Sluggish performance
- Added strain on drivetrain components
- Aggressive CV angles (IFS Trucks)
33” Tires vs 35” Tires and your Speedometer?
When you upgrade from a stock tire to one with a taller aspect ratio (Sidewall), increasing the wheel circumference, your speedo can be thrown out. In the case of 33” tires, the diameter will be larger and have an increase in the aspect ratio. This might throw out your speedometers reading slightly. The increase in tire circumference means the actual speed will be higher the faster you travel.
The below table will give you an indication of how the speedometer reading is affected between a 33” and a 35”.
|33” Speedo reading||20mph||30mph||40mph||50mph||60mph||70mph||80mph||90mph|
|35” Speedo Reading||21.3mph||32mph||42.7mph||53.4mph||64mph||74.7mph||85.4mph||96mph|
Below are the physical differences between 33” and 35” tires both on a 16” rim
|Measurement||33” Tire (285/75/16)||35” Tire (35/10.5/16)||Differences|
|Diameter||32.8″ (883mm)||35″ (889mm)||+6.7%|
|Width||11.2″ (285mm)||10.5″ (267mm)||-6.2%|
|Sidewall||8.4″ (213mm)||9.5″ (241mm)||+13.1%|
|Circumference||103.1″ (2619mm)||109.9″ (2791mm)||+6.7%|
|Revs/Mile||615 (382mm)||577 (359mm)||-38|
What 35” Tire Owners Have to Say?
Owner Experience #1
My Sahara with 35×12.5 KO2s on 18×9 rims with a Mopar 2″ lift. The tires are closer to 34.5″ in diameter. All KO2’s for 18″ rims are E rated. They are stiffer and heavier than C rated tires. This translates to a firmer on road ride. As for power loss, I can’t speak to that yet because I’m only at 1200 miles and haven’t really been above 4000 rpm. I’m doing an oil change at 1500 miles and will know more about the power loss then. I’m also not a lead foot. What I do know is that I haven’t seen 8th gear…ever. Though, I do see 7th.https://www.jlwranglerforums.com/forum/threads/help-is-there-much-of-a-difference-with-a-33%E2%80%9D-vs-35%E2%80%9D-tire.51790/
Owner Experience #2
I noticed the difference right away; My All-Terrains’ performance for one – better traction (on dirt and in the mud) compared to the same tires in the 33″ size. Rocky sections of trail that required me to get out of the Jeep to scope out a route don’t require that anymore. After running 35s for 4 months, 33s for 12 years, etc. I can’t see myself downsizing after running this larger tire size.https://www.wranglerforum.com/threads/how-big-of-a-difference-is-there-between-33s-and-35s-on-the-trail.249858/#:~:text=A%2035%20will%20give%20you,more%20important%20than%20tire%20size.
Owner Experience #3
I compete against a few guys that run 33’s, All i can say is I won’t be downgrading from the 35’s any time soon. They are not better in every situation but here are a few where they have a distinct advantage. They are never worse thoughhttps://www.4x4community.co.za/forum/showthread.php/131730-33-quot-vs-35-quot-tyres
1. The 35 has a substantially larger circumference which allows it to climb over a rock easier than a 33. This is once of the biggest advantages IMO.
2. You can run lower pressures and still have reasonably good clearance.
3. Your foot print is a lot bigger, lower pressure, more tyre in contact with the ground = more traction.
If you looking at it for the TJ, there are a number of things to consider first though… 35’s are rough on the standard diffs, side shafts, UJ’s. You will need a ratio change, at least 4.56. The Dana 30 isn’t really up to a 35, you will start throwing money at the problem. The next thing to go with 35’s is the rear prop UJ and saddles, they simply don’t last! This is also due to prop angle and lift, but the strain the Tyres put on the drivetrain is crazy, those saddles and UJ basically act as a fuse… It blows often
Fitting 33” tires to any off-road vehicle will enhance the off-road capability, improve ground clearance and provide better traction on and off-road. Unfortunately, it’s not always a straightforward procedure and the fitment can become complicated, depending on the vehicle. This article will discuss how much lift is required and any additional work required to fit 33” tires to your vehicle.
Most IFS vehicles require a minimum of 2.5 to 3-inch lift with additional trimming of fender liners and body mounts to accommodate a 33” tire. A Solid Front Axle vehicle can accommodate a 33’’ tire easier with fewer modifications.
Fitting bigger tires is the single most effective way of improving ground clearance. This is especially important for overcoming obstacles in an off-road situation. There are however a few limitations, especially when it comes to IFS (Independent Front Suspension) 4WD’s, which limits your options since there are more suspension components and sensitive geometry to consider. SFA (Solid Front Axle) vehicles are a lot less complex and thus much easier to do.
Fitting 35” tires to your truck is no longer a mystery or guessing game. More and more 4WD owners have successfully pulled off this upgrade, so we know what is expected if you want to join the 35” club. There are quite a few facts you need to be aware of so hopefully, this article will give you a better idea of what’s involved.
Fitting 35” tires to your truck requires a suspension upgrade of 3.5”-6” depending on the vehicle and if it’s an IFS or SFA front suspension. Other requirements for 35” tires could include:
Relocation of crash bars (IFS)
Adjustable aftermarket UCA’s (IFS)
Minimum 16” negative offset rims
There’s no doubt that 35” tires will totally transform the look and performance of your vehicle. There are, however, a few pros and cons when doing this upgrade, which we’ll look at in more detail next.
Are 33-Inch Tires the same as 285’s (Metric Vs MM)
As mentioned, 285 and 33 are referring to two completely different measurements. . Metric tire sizes can be a bit more complicated when it comes to understanding what size they really are.
Let’s see what that means
Metric vs Millimeters
Because each tire manufacturer uses their own molds, and there’s no set industry pattern, the 285/75/16 is usually the accepted metric size for 33’s, even though the physical diameter of the tire can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer. Two different 285’s can actually vary in true diameter. Meaning some are smaller than 33″ and some are larger, depending on the brand. This means a 33-inch tire can be wider by 11 1/2 or 12 1/2 inches in width.
One way to find out the exact diameter of a tire is by going to the tire manufacturer’s website and checking the manufacturing specs on that specific tire and then comparing “apples with apples”.
f you want to fit a larger 33” tire without a suspension lift, there is some modification needed. The Ranger T6 crash bars protrude from the wheel well and the bigger 285/70/17 tire makes contact. These will need to be removed/modified first so as not to damage the new tires. They are quite a PITA to remove so be prepared. Once removed, and a 20+ offset aftermarket wheel is fitted you should be able to get the 33” tires to fit comfortably.
33-inch tires can be fitted to a stock Jeep Wrangler JK, but with minimum clearance on the front bumper and not enough clearance for full articulation off-road.
Before running out and fitting bigger tires to your JK, make sure you understand all the implications and that there are other factors that come into play such as backspacing, clearance, fuel economy, handling, and more.
To take full advantage of the Jeeps legendary articulation, you would do well to fit a 3-4” lift before fitting 33” tires.
We have mentioned quite a few variables to consider before dropping a load on expensive oversized tires. You should first determine what the primary application for the upgrade is. Is it purely for aesthetics or will you need maximum practicality, off road ability, while maintaining maximum articulation.