The Debate Rages Over 35-inch vs. 37-inch TiresSeptember 17th, 2013 by David
Off-roaders buying new tires can get stymied when faced with the choice between going with 35” or 37” ones. For truck and Jeep owners the debate rages on and gathering as much knowledge as possible is essential before you commit.
“The biggest mistake people make when they want bigger tires is not preparing for the entire budget and not realizing how deep they have to go,” says Jorge Ponce, 4 Wheel Parts sales associate. Electing 37” tires can have a domino effect that leads to upgrading everything, including suspension, steering, engine, brakes and more.
When you choose bigger 37-inch tires, the parts most likely to break are axles and drive shafts. “The first question to ask yourself is whether you’re going for an actual off-roader or a mall crawler that just looks cool,” says Ponce. 37” tires are better equipped for hard wheeling and rock crawling, but their size and weight puts more strain and wear and tear on parts.
Budget is another factor that dictates which tire to choose. “If you’re part of a club, you may be able to borrow and test drive tires first, but otherwise you have to take a long look at your vehicle and budget to determine which tires are best,” he says.
Larger tires and lift kits have a higher price tag, and there are other considerations. Running 37s consumes a lot of power and negatively impacts mileage. 37s also make getting up to speed harder and alter your braking distance. In general, taller tires reduce braking and stopping your truck or Jeep will take more distance.
“In reality, you’re only gaining an inch of ground clearance when you go from 35” to 37” tires,” says drivetrain expert Rody Jarve. He points out that no matter what size owners start out with, if they get the bug they will keep upping them. “I’ve seen guys start out with 32s, move to 35s and then to 37s,” says Jarve.
“I debated, but I ultimately knew I wanted to go with 37” tires,” says Jeep Wrangler JK owner Brandon Hood. “I do a fair amount of off-roading and love the way they handle – especially rock crawling on desert terrain.”
Tire size debates will always rage on, but these insights can help off-roaders make the best decisions when it’s time for them to buy new tires.