Big tire upgrades are the most effective way of increasing ground clearance. This is especially important for overcoming obstacles in an off-road situation since your axles will be higher off the ground. There are however a few limitations, especially when it comes to IFS (Independent Front Suspension) 4WD trucks. SFA (Solid Front Axle) trucks suspension geometry is a lot less complex and thus much easier to upgrade.
Most trucks can accommodate a 33” tire without a lift kit. Trimming of fender liners and wheel arches combined with adjustments to torsion keys might be necessary on most IFS (Independent Front Suspension) trucks. Fitting wheel spacers and 2” leveling kits will improve the clearance from the UCA (Upper Control Arms).
In most cases fitting a 2” levelling kit is the most economical way to gain clearance for larger tires. It’s also the most popular.
What Size Tires Can I Put On My Truck with a Levelling Kit – OPTIONS
The minimum requirement for fitting larger tires varies from truck to truck. Also, if you have an Independent front suspension truck you are somewhat limited to how big you can go versus a truck with a Solid Front Axle or live front axle setup. Most IFS trucks and SUV’s can get away with a 33” tire without much drama and some small modifications, as you will see below.
Before embarking on this exercise, you need to determine what your main application with the truck will be. Are you planning on doing extensive off-roading, towing, hauling or overlanding? Perhaps the tire upgrade is purely for aesthetics reasons. Do you want to squeeze the biggest tire possible on your truck in the most economical way? Is limited practicality not a concern?
Let’s see what your options are.
What Size Tires Can I Put On My Truck with a Levelling Kit – 2” Levelling Kit
In many modern IFS trucks a (33.3”) or 295/70 r17 combined with a 1.75-2” levelling kit is the absolute largest size tire you can fit. In addition, you need a minimum +9 offset rim for improved clearance at the UCA. Anything less than that and you’ll have to opt for a narrower tire like a (32.7”) or 285/70/17 before you start running into clearance issues with the body panels.
This is just a general guideline and will vary between trucks.
What Size Tires Can I Put On My Truck with a Levelling Kit – 4” Levelling Kit
When you opt for a 4” leveling kit your upgrade options are much larger. Depending on the truck suspension, if it’s an IFS, you’ll need to fit a diff drop kit to bring the CV angles back down so as to minimize the chances of eating CV’s every time you venture off-road. With a 4” lift you’ll need to adjust torsion keys, if applicable, and fit an aftermarket adjustable UCA to be able to set your caster angles properly. Also, don’t forget to upgrade your bump stops too to prevent scrubbing at maximum compression when flexing off-road.
A 315/70/17 or 34.4” tire will fit nice and snug provided you’ve opted for an aftermarket rim with a more positive offset for improved clearance away from the UCA. Trucks with Sold Front Axles can easily accommodate a larger 35” tire without much trimming in the form of 35X11.5R18 or 35X12.5R18. If your truck has front crash bars you will need to have these removed for better clearance up front. More about that here.
How Much Lift Do You Need For 33 Inch Tires? 2 Or 3-Inch
In most cases with IFS trucks, a 2” to 2.5” lift and some trimming of fender liners will accommodate a 33” tire. Most SFA vehicles will accommodate a 33’’ tire with minimum body and fender modifications.
BMC (Body Mount Chops)
Most modern 4WD trucks like Ranger’s, Tacoma’s and Colorado’s have a lot of safety features built into the framework and chassis which causes complications when installing bigger tires.
In the case of the 3rd Gen Tacoma, the body mount protrudes out quite a bit which restricts you from fitting oversized tires without, (A) either buying an aftermarket body mount or (B) cutting, welding and painting the existing mount. This is quite a job and if you are not familiar with grinders and welding machines, then rather leave it to a professional custom shop.
Then you have the front crash bar mounts as in the case of the modern Ford trucks. These restricts the wheels at full lock with oversized tires so you’ll need to remove them completely or cut it away to create more clearance. Click here for the full breakdown of fitting bigger wheels to a Ford Ranger
The biggest tire you can fit to a Ram 2500 is a 35×12.5”. This will allow full lock-to-lock turning abilities without rubbing as well as full articulation and droop.
The above mentioned tire is for the radius arm Ram trucks from 2014 to present 2500’s and the 2013 to present 3500. The fitment guide in this article is not to determine how much you can get away with, however it’s aimed at fitting the biggest tire possible without losing any practical application on the truck.
The biggest tire you can fit on a stock CHEV or GMC 3500 is a 295/65R18 on the factory stock wheels at stock ride height.
GM designed the front IFS suspension on the 3500 to be slightly adjustable by manipulating the torsion bars. This will allow you to fit a larger tire without much scrubbing at full turn and at full compression. This is good news, however, be warned that when you start fiddling with the torsion bars, you start altering the geometry of the IFS suspension, which includes changing the angles of the CV joints, upper & lower ball joints, and the tie rods.
The biggest tire you can fit on a 2021 GMC AT4 running factory stock suspension and rims are a maximum of 34.8-inches. This equates to a 285/75R18 (34.8”) or 305/60R20 (34.4”) with no trimming or rubbing.
If you are not prepared to do trimming and cutting and you are running stock suspension then you’ll be limited to a maximum of 34.8-inch tire, depending on the tire brand of course. The up side, there are many other alternatives you can try in both 18” and 20”.
The biggest tire you can fit on a 2014-current GMC Sierra 1500 running factory stock suspension and rims are a maximum of 32.6 inches.
If you are not prepared to do trimming and cutting and you are running stock suspension then you’ll be limited to a 32.5-inch tire, depending on the tire brand of course. The up side, there are many other alternatives you can try.
The maximum size on the Tundra is a 295/70/R18 or 295/60 in a 20 inch with a +18 to +20 wheel offset, on a 9-inch wide wheel.
Now that we know the max tire size on a stock Tundra, let’s dive deeper into the actual fitment and later look at the biggest tire size you can fit with a 3” and 6” lift kit! or if you want to know what is required to fit 33″ tires on a Tundra without a lift then read this.
The largest tires you can fit on a stock F150 without removing the crash bars are 33”- 34” without severe rubbing. Alternatively, you can fit 32” if your rims are 10” wide.
If you deice to go the biggest tire you can squeeze inside the wheel arch, keep in mind you will experience a drop in MPG, but nothing too significant unless you go 37” or bigger. If you opt for a more aggressive AT or MT tire, you will experience increased road noise inside the cabin. In most cases, the more aggressive, the noisier.
The biggest tire you can fit without any additional modification is a 35”. If you are prepared to do a bit of body trimming
At the end of the day you still want all the practicality of your truck and your tire size upgrade should enhance your trucks abilities and capability, not detract from it. You still want full articulation and droop with maximum suspension travel.
Fitting 35” tires to a 3rd Gen Tacoma requires a bit of body mount modifications as well as wheel arch trimming. You will require a minimum 2.5” lift, negative offset (-12) rims, and you’ll need to do some additional body modifications, such as cutting and welding of the body mounts and bending away of the pinch weld.
On the rear, it’s a straightforward fit with no clearance issues. You can get full tuck on the rear without any hassles. You can trim the wheel arch for improved clearance, however you will lose your wheel arch liners.
Also you need to remember the front wheels don’t only move left and right when turning, but there’s also some forward and backward movement. This is why you get scrubbing at full lock when turning and why it’s necessary to do CMC’s and trimming of the pinch weld.
If 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 comes 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.
Not all FJ Cruisers are created equally, so certain model FJ’s might rub on a 33″’s, running a stock suspension while others won’t. What could be an influencing factor is the tire itself. So it’s also safe to say, not all tires are created equally i.e. mold, width, etc. So they are not all made to exactly the same measurement.
So, the biggest tire you can safely fit on an FJ without body scrub or requiring any chops is usually a 275/70/17. That will be on the stock tires, stock rims, no lift, no chop, and no spacers. Anything over and above this requires a body chop and a small 2” lift.
The biggest tire you can fit on a Chevy Colorado with stock suspension and stock rims are 265 65 17’s. They will fit without any rubbing problems, and no trimming or additional modifications are required to make them function properly.A 2” to 3” lift kit is the recommended option if you are planning on using the vehicle for off road use or overlanding applications. You will achieve the best off road off-road capability, ride comfort, as well as load carrying ability with this option, running 33” tires. Load carrying ability is of vital importance when doing overlanding, since you are carrying gear, storage, fuel, water, shade. Rooftop tents, recovery gear and more.
The largest size you can fit on a Nissan Frontier with a stock suspension is 265/75/16. This size does not cause any rubbing or requires trimming of fender liners.The 265/75/16 is the largest size you can fit, even with a 2.5″ spacer. It is also the largest tire that can fit on the stock wheels without any additional modifications needed. That size is just short of 32” and measures exactly 31.6 inches. If you fit an aftermarket rim with a more negative offset, you run the risk of the wheels scrubbing and hitting the fenders at full lock and full compression.
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?