Are heavier weight (more lbs tire only) better for traction. - Jeep Wrangler Forum
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Old 04-25-2016, 12:15 PM
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Are heavier weight (more lbs tire only) better for traction.

road traction, I understand rotational inertia and its draws on power and performance, but traction is my concern. How would a heavier tire fare against lighter weight? Futhermore, it is of my concern gravel/dirt traction.

Logical expedient aNsweRs. thanks-a-lot all.

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Old 05-02-2016, 01:42 PM   #2
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Not at all. Heavier tires have lots of downside. The tread is most important.

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Old 05-02-2016, 01:52 PM   #3
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The weight of the tire shouldnt directly affect traction. Other than the overall weight of the vehicle adds traction. Theoretically. Tread pattern and adhesive properties of the material touching the road matters.
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:34 PM   #4
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Yes. Traction is a function of friction, and a heavier tire has more friction due to gravity. So all other things being equal, your traction with a heavier tire will be better.
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Old 05-04-2016, 01:56 PM   #5
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The Jeep weighs what- 4,500 lbs? I'm think an additional 10 lbs per tire will have no impact except on fuel economy and wear and tear. That's 40 lbs (as it was in my case) which is under 1% of the total weight. You're better off buying a dog and letting his weight weigh down the Jeep a bit more. That may actually improve things.
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Old 05-06-2016, 01:00 PM   #6
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No one has mentioned flex, giving the tire the ability to conform to irregularities in the terrain while aired down. All else being equal, tire size, tread pattern, rubber compound, ect. a tire which conforms more easily to the terrain will have better traction. Heavier tires are usually stiffer also, but this varies from one tire to another. I have seen Jeeps with heavy (stiff) tires have more trouble on obstacles than vehicles equipped with smaller more flexible tires. Maybe the guys running light (and very flexible) 15's for the weight savings are on to something. Last summer I followed an old timer in a beat up old CJ up a rocky trail in CO last summer. The tires on the jeep were a street tread passenger car radial 28-29" tall and I was amazed. I could see the tires flexing around the rocks, sometimes it seemed almost to the rim. The CJ just clawed up the trail rarely slipping a tire. I have no idea what pressure he was running and was surprised the sidewalls were holding up to the abuse. I remember seeing a video of a jeep on huge tires (37-40) and they could not get them to flex even at 0 psi. I imagine this would be the case with some of the 35 or bigger D and E rated tires with high load capacities. Some of these could just about support the weight of a light jeep on one tire. Just my thoughts FWIW.
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Old 05-06-2016, 05:00 PM
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Good thoughts... I picked up some new original BFG KO tires.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:47 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Sgt H View Post
No one has mentioned flex, giving the tire the ability to conform to irregularities in the terrain while aired down. All else being equal, tire size, tread pattern, rubber compound, ect. a tire which conforms more easily to the terrain will have better traction. Heavier tires are usually stiffer also, but this varies from one tire to another. I have seen Jeeps with heavy (stiff) tires have more trouble on obstacles than vehicles equipped with smaller more flexible tires. Maybe the guys running light (and very flexible) 15's for the weight savings are on to something. Last summer I followed an old timer in a beat up old CJ up a rocky trail in CO last summer. The tires on the jeep were a street tread passenger car radial 28-29" tall and I was amazed. I could see the tires flexing around the rocks, sometimes it seemed almost to the rim. The CJ just clawed up the trail rarely slipping a tire. I have no idea what pressure he was running and was surprised the sidewalls were holding up to the abuse. I remember seeing a video of a jeep on huge tires (37-40) and they could not get them to flex even at 0 psi. I imagine this would be the case with some of the 35 or bigger D and E rated tires with high load capacities. Some of these could just about support the weight of a light jeep on one tire. Just my thoughts FWIW.
THIS ^^^^ 100%. And at speed, lighter, lower unsprung weight means the tires will bounce and rebound far faster giving you way more control.
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Old 05-06-2016, 07:50 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by HK_Runner View Post
The Jeep weighs what- 4,500 lbs? I'm think an additional 10 lbs per tire will have no impact except on fuel economy and wear and tear. That's 40 lbs (as it was in my case) which is under 1% of the total weight. You're better off buying a dog and letting his weight weigh down the Jeep a bit more. That may actually improve things.
This is so wrong. Unsprung weight vs sprung weight.... is what counts. And comparing stock or 15" 35s, CLoadRating to 17" 35s, ELoadRating is way more than 10# per wheel.
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Old 05-06-2016, 08:39 PM   #10
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I don't think you're understanding what I was trying to say...or I was not saying it clearly. The heavier tire has no real impact on traction. My D rated Nitto to was about 8-10 more than my C rated MTRs in 35. I could feel the rotating mass for sure. The E rated are about 14 lbs heavier per tire. The added tire weight would do nothing for traction. The tread and how it conforms at lower PSI (like someone mentioned above) has everything to do with traction. At off road speeds, weight means little. At high speeds, I am not sure a 65 lb tire will behave much differently than a 75 lbs tire. The stiffness of the sidewall and rubber compound probably means a lot more. The heavier Nitto felt find but not much different than my MTR, with both at 28-30 psi. My MTR feels a bit better on bumps. No, the E rated- that I stay away from. I have ridden in Jeeps with E rated Toyos and they feel too harsh and jiggly on bumps, so the heavier tires feels much worse.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:11 PM   #11
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Depends on where we are talking. When you say heavier I picture wide tires 12.50" across. These get less traction in shallow snow, compared to a thinner fire because the weight of the jeep on a fat tire is distributed over a greater space. With the extra weight per space with thinner tires they cut down through the snow to grip the road way.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:46 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by HK_Runner View Post
I don't think you're understanding what I was trying to say...or I was not saying it clearly. The heavier tire has no real impact on traction. My D rated Nitto to was about 8-10 more than my C rated MTRs in 35. I could feel the rotating mass for sure. The E rated are about 14 lbs heavier per tire. The added tire weight would do nothing for traction. The tread and how it conforms at lower PSI (like someone mentioned above) has everything to do with traction. At off road speeds, weight means little. At high speeds, I am not sure a 65 lb tire will behave much differently than a 75 lbs tire. The stiffness of the sidewall and rubber compound probably means a lot more. The heavier Nitto felt find but not much different than my MTR, with both at 28-30 psi. My MTR feels a bit better on bumps. No, the E rated- that I stay away from. I have ridden in Jeeps with E rated Toyos and they feel too harsh and jiggly on bumps, so the heavier tires feels much worse.
No, I undestand what you are saying but a tire must maintain contact with the road to achieve traction. What you interpret as a jiggly, rough ride is actually the tire gaining and losing contact. Speed is a factor but it is only equal to how rough the road is. When crawling.... like Rubicon 4LO articulation is the key factor but add any speed and unsprung weight becomes more important. A heavier tire is harder to control on a light vehicle like a Wrangler.... as opposed to on a fully loaded 1 ton pickup. The ratio of sprung vs unsprung weight is very important. Adding 10# to something which started out weighing 65# is a huge difference.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:49 PM   #13
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We agree fully. I try to stay with C rated tires. Granted the DuraTrac in E is probably quite soft for an E rated tire, but generally speaking, the Jeep is too light for a heavy truck tire and suffers accordingly. People get used to it, of course.
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Old 05-06-2016, 09:53 PM   #14
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yep, ^^^^, I have E Rated on my TJR right now.... almost miled out thank god. In the winter I run C Rated tires.... I drive the beach every day. Those stock sized C rated grips are soooo much smoother riding than the E rated 33s I trade out every spring.

Our beach has great sand.... with a lot of rocks...
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Old 05-07-2016, 07:57 AM
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I know lots of people here are into mud bogging rock crawling but my 235/85-16 Load E BFG KO's do great blasting down paved washboard mountain roads at 35-40mph. Tire shop haD 48PSI COLD so thats where it be. Sometimes it feels a little twitchy hanging corners and I intimidate the tourist as the pass me in the corners the oncoming direction, but handling is confident.

I dont offroad, I mearly travel on the local roads. Takes a special vehicle (4-wheel leaf springs for the win) to survive me and the local roads together. lol..
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Old 05-07-2016, 09:43 PM   #16
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The weight of the tire has negligible effect on traction. also, since parts of the tire are rotating above and below the center of the rim (axis of rotation) you don't really count tire weight (or increase thereof) as an addition of weight then compare it over your overall vehicle weight. heavier tires take more energy to begin to rotate but since most of the weight is concentrated in the circumference (threads) of the tire, it has greater momentum once it is spinning (great moment of inertia). with all that being said, there is no real increase in traction from heavier tires. instead, tire traction is a function of friction (as stated above) the heavier your vehicle the greater your weight thus increasing (static) friction (being a reactive force).

the two most important factors of friction (in my opinion) are the amount of air pressure and tire compound. The lower you have your tires, the larger surface area you have in contact with the ground. the coefficient of friction increases proportionally as surface area increases. Also, the material (stickiness/hardness) of your tire also has a lot to contribute.
Just my .02

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