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Old 11-24-2019, 12:45 PM
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Question Does anyone understand Jeep modifications adhering to state laws?

Hello everyone. I will be a Jeep owner in the future and have a question on making sure any Jeep modifications adhere to state laws. I need this Jeep to be street legal.

I found this web site on Connecticut State laws:
Connecticut Lift Laws | Vehicle Modification Rules

I understand all of the laws except one:

Suspension
There is a suspension lift of 4 inches in Connecticut. In addition, the geometry of the suspension is required to remain stock.
CDMVR 14-137-25

What does "geometry of the suspension is required to remain stock" actually mean? For example, what if I wanted to install a completely new suspension system like the one they have a GenRidge:

https://genright.com/products/jeep-j...g-chassis.html

Would installing this kind of kit violate State law? I see many Jeeps on the road in Connecticut that are lifted with upgraded suspension systems, but I have no idea if they are actually driving a Jeep that is street legal. If it is not, then insurance companies will not cover damage in case of an accident since the vehicle is in violation of State law.

Any insight, suggestions, and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!

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Old 11-24-2019, 02:58 PM   #2
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Just going to guess the GR would be a no. Give GR a call. It might do great off road but at 70 on the freeway, well.

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Old 11-24-2019, 03:51 PM
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Just going to guess the GR would be a no. Give GR a call. It might do great off road but at 70 on the freeway, well.
Thanks for your reply. I am wondering what kind of modifications I could make given that language in Connecticut State law. I still do not understand what that means exactly. Wouldn't the geometry of the suspension change after installing a 4-inch lift?

Any Connecticut Jeep owners on the forum who modified their Jeep lift & suspension?
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Old 11-24-2019, 11:03 PM   #4
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The geometry of your lift generally refers to the caster on the wheels. I goofed this on my prior Jeep and it was very squirrely on the freeway until I got different front lower control arms to return the caster back within spec. Think scooter vs. bike steering. Many lift kits have brackets or adjustable control arms to restore caster.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:19 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by Vailen View Post
Hello everyone. I will be a Jeep owner in the future and have a question on making sure any Jeep modifications adhere to state laws. I need this Jeep to be street legal.

I found this web site on Connecticut State laws:
Connecticut Lift Laws | Vehicle Modification Rules

I understand all of the laws except one:

Suspension
There is a suspension lift of 4 inches in Connecticut. In addition, the geometry of the suspension is required to remain stock.
CDMVR 14-137-25

What does "geometry of the suspension is required to remain stock" actually mean? For example, what if I wanted to install a completely new suspension system like the one they have a GenRidge:

https://genright.com/products/jeep-j...g-chassis.html

Would installing this kind of kit violate State law? I see many Jeeps on the road in Connecticut that are lifted with upgraded suspension systems, but I have no idea if they are actually driving a Jeep that is street legal. If it is not, then insurance companies will not cover damage in case of an accident since the vehicle is in violation of State law.

Any insight, suggestions, and feedback would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks!
I think you should read the actual regulations... there's nothing noting "geometry of the suspension is required to remain stock"... only the sprung portion of the vehicle is not to exceed 4" above the manufacturers specifications.

In other words, they mean the front and rear bumpers...

https://drivinglaws.aaa.com/category...s/connecticut/

https://eregulations.ct.gov/eRegsPor...8178%7D#page16

Quote:
Sec. 14-137-25. Limitations

Each “passenger motor vehicle” as defined in subdivision (35) of section 14-1 of the General Statutes operating on the highways of this state shall be equipped with a suspension system that complies with the following:

(a) Vehicle suspension configuration. Each motor vehicle shall be equipped with a suspension system consisting of the basic elements originally provided by the vehicle manufacturer and geometrically arranged in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications. No suspension system component shall be replaced unless such replacement component meets or exceeds the quality and performance standards established by the vehicle manufacturer and the safe operating characteristics of the vehicle on which such replacement component is installed are not adversely affected by such installation.

(b) Height adjustment limitations. No additional devices shall be installed or equipment substitutions made at any location on any motor vehicle when such installation or addition either:

(1) Raises the sprung portion of the vehicle in excess of four (4) inches above the vehicle’s unladen height as established by the vehicle manufacturer; or,

(2) Lowers any part of the sprung portion of the vehicle so as to reduce the vertical clearance, between the sprung portion of the vehicle and a level surface on which it rests unladen, to less than four (4) inches.

(c) Spring replacement limitation. No suspension springs which have a load carrying capacity or spring rate below that specified by the vehicle manufacturer shall be installed on any vehicle.

(d) Shock absorber mounting limitation. No shock absorber shall be installed in any manner which will allow it to reach its extreme stroke limitation while the vehicle is being operated.

(e) Tires – Limitation. All tires on the same axle or on axles which are less than six feet apart must be of the same tire size with respect to diameter and maximum width. Each such tire shall have a load carrying capacity specified by the tire manufacturer in excess of the intended maximum axle load divided by the number of tires on the axle. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 571.109 shall apply in establishing the load capabilities of tires.

(f) Wheel track distance. No modification of a vehicle suspension system geometry shall result in any reduction of such vehicle’s wheel track distance.

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Old 11-25-2019, 10:52 AM
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Talking Thanks!

Steedgun .. many thanks for your feedback. I have been away from the "Jeep mindset" for many years and am slowly updating my outdated knowledge, as well as learning much more the past few weeks. Installing adjustable control arms, for example, would restore the necessary geometry after lifting the chassis. Now that I think about it, if any modification does not restore the necessary geometry to drive the Jeep, then I can imagine how vague the steering becomes, as well as the wearing of parts considerably more quickly.

Your experience with your prior jeep's steering, after you made a modification, may have cost extra money to fix. What you gained is considerably more insight and experience as to the importance of installing - what I call - a "balanced" upgrade, meaning all of the parts associated with steering rather than a single component. Many thanks for sharing your experience.

--------

m998dna ... many thanks for your incredibly helpful feedback on interpreting the statutes. When I began studying the state law requirements for multiple states, Connecticut was the only one that had any limitations on suspension.

I inferred from your comments that the State is concerned about altering the height of the front and rear bumpers; any suspension change could alter that height. I remember reading somewhere that the bumper height must be within a certain distance from the ground, but I cannot remember if that was an article focused on Connecticut laws or laws from a different state.

What is interesting is that the language of the statute focusing on suspension actually encompasses both geometry limitations and bumper height limitations simultaneously.

--------

Now I have to figure out is the maximum tire size on a JLU Rubicon 2020+ after installing a 4-inch lift. Since this will be my daily driver, I do not think 40-inch tires is a good idea, although I have found many people on various jeep forums who have 40s on their daily driver and they love it. For now, all I need to do is define an upper limit for myself. For example, if I can install 42-inch tires on a 4-inch lift and use as both a daily driver and a rock crawler, then I will write down this limitation. I am not implying that I would actually get that big of a tire, I just want to define a boundary.
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Old 11-25-2019, 01:19 PM   #7
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Steedgun .. many thanks for your feedback. I have been away from the "Jeep mindset" for many years and am slowly updating my outdated knowledge, as well as learning much more the past few weeks. Installing adjustable control arms, for example, would restore the necessary geometry after lifting the chassis. Now that I think about it, if any modification does not restore the necessary geometry to drive the Jeep, then I can imagine how vague the steering becomes, as well as the wearing of parts considerably more quickly.

Your experience with your prior jeep's steering, after you made a modification, may have cost extra money to fix. What you gained is considerably more insight and experience as to the importance of installing - what I call - a "balanced" upgrade, meaning all of the parts associated with steering rather than a single component. Many thanks for sharing your experience.

--------

m998dna ... many thanks for your incredibly helpful feedback on interpreting the statutes. When I began studying the state law requirements for multiple states, Connecticut was the only one that had any limitations on suspension.

I inferred from your comments that the State is concerned about altering the height of the front and rear bumpers; any suspension change could alter that height. I remember reading somewhere that the bumper height must be within a certain distance from the ground, but I cannot remember if that was an article focused on Connecticut laws or laws from a different state.

What is interesting is that the language of the statute focusing on suspension actually encompasses both geometry limitations and bumper height limitations simultaneously.

--------

Now I have to figure out is the maximum tire size on a JLU Rubicon 2020+ after installing a 4-inch lift. Since this will be my daily driver, I do not think 40-inch tires is a good idea, although I have found many people on various jeep forums who have 40s on their daily driver and they love it. For now, all I need to do is define an upper limit for myself. For example, if I can install 42-inch tires on a 4-inch lift and use as both a daily driver and a rock crawler, then I will write down this limitation. I am not implying that I would actually get that big of a tire, I just want to define a boundary.
Vehicle height -- I applied "AAA driving laws" interpretation to that clause. The bumper height can be altered with or without a suspension change. One could install a 4.5" lift and lower the front/rear bumpers .5" and be within state regs. I'm assuming the state is concerned about killing other drivers with high bumpers - I'm sure it's happened.

As I read part (f), vehicle suspension geometry limitations are applicable to narrowing wheel track distance... assuming you have factory stock live axles, not sure narrowing the wheel track width is achievable with changing out just coil springs. However if you install an entire new aftermarket frame and suspension design - well, that's why there's laws.

Proceed with caution.

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Old 11-25-2019, 01:53 PM   #8
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Most Lifts go up more than advertised... That said IMO a 4" lift is a lot of lift and brings into the equation more issues than the State whether that be New Jersey or Connecticut.

I DD a 2" lift and 35's and have yet to have an issue as a DD or weekend off-roading chariot.


Just throwing it out there....
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Old 11-25-2019, 02:54 PM
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Vehicle height -- I applied "AAA driving laws" interpretation to that clause. The bumper height can be altered with or without a suspension change. One could install a 4.5" lift and lower the front/rear bumpers .5" and be within state regs. I'm assuming the state is concerned about killing other drivers with high bumpers - I'm sure it's happened.

As I read part (f), vehicle suspension geometry limitations are applicable to narrowing wheel track distance... assuming you have factory stock live axles, not sure narrowing the wheel track width is achievable with changing out just coil springs. However if you install an entire new aftermarket frame and suspension design - well, that's why there's laws.

Proceed with caution.

.

Although I really like GenRight's suspension system, the probability of me purchasing that kit is very low. I doubt my wife would support me buying a suspension system that costs more than a brand new jeep! I just wanted to see how far I can go in modifications and still adhere to State law. What I am doing now is defining boundaries.
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Old 11-25-2019, 03:11 PM
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Most Lifts go up more than advertised... That said IMO a 4" lift is a lot of lift and brings into the equation more issues than the State whether that be New Jersey or Connecticut.

I DD a 2" lift and 35's and have yet to have an issue as a DD or weekend off-roading chariot.


Just throwing it out there....

Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to do what you are doing: the jeep is a DD during the week and a rock hopper on weekends. I do want to get 35-inch or 37-inch tires. I love how the 40s look but I have read many posts on various forums on how impractical they are as a DD. I have read much more positive feedback on tires sizes from 35-inches to 38-inches.

Are you using stock parts for your 35s? The reason I ask is, based on what I have read, upgrading additional components are highly recommended for 37s and higher, like 1-ton axles and hydro assist steering. Except for installing a 2 or 3-inch lift, I have not encountered anyone yet who had to upgrade any other components when installing 35s. I am glad to hear you can enjoy riding the trails on 35s. That's good to know...could save me a lot of money in upgrades.
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Old 11-25-2019, 06:31 PM   #11
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Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to do what you are doing: the jeep is a DD during the week and a rock hopper on weekends. I do want to get 35-inch or 37-inch tires. I love how the 40s look but I have read many posts on various forums on how impractical they are as a DD. I have read much more positive feedback on tires sizes from 35-inches to 38-inches.

Are you using stock parts for your 35s? The reason I ask is, based on what I have read, upgrading additional components are highly recommended for 37s and higher, like 1-ton axles and hydro assist steering. Except for installing a 2 or 3-inch lift, I have not encountered anyone yet who had to upgrade any other components when installing 35s. I am glad to hear you can enjoy riding the trails on 35s. That's good to know...could save me a lot of money in upgrades.
I have been referencing (for years) the "March of the Tire".... there was once a day when the 31" was the "upgrade" size, 33's were the stretch. It then jumped to 33's w/35's the stretch... and here we are now. 37's and even larger are referenced more and more rarely with the downsides discussed. It is a little like talking to a gambler - you only get to hear the good stories.
The JL iteration of the Wrangler platform is really well suited for 35's.
I have my OE Rubicon wheels, a 2" Rancho Sport Lift and Geo correction brackets as well as a Rancho adjustable front track bar.
The Jeep rides/handles/performs better than stock by a noticeable margin.

As far as looks - it is an eye catching setup for sure. Not too bad getting up/down, I recommend some slider/steps to facilitate but other than that - I Highly recommend.
I can not say that about 37 and beyond.
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:12 PM   #12
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I have been referencing (for years) the "March of the Tire".... there was once a day when the 31" was the "upgrade" size, 33's were the stretch. It then jumped to 33's w/35's the stretch... and here we are now. 37's and even larger are referenced more and more rarely with the downsides discussed. It is a little like talking to a gambler - you only get to hear the good stories.

The JL iteration of the Wrangler platform is really well suited for 35's.

I have my OE Rubicon wheels, a 2" Rancho Sport Lift and Geo correction brackets as well as a Rancho adjustable front track bar.

The Jeep rides/handles/performs better than stock by a noticeable margin.



As far as looks - it is an eye catching setup for sure. Not too bad getting up/down, I recommend some slider/steps to facilitate but other than that - I Highly recommend.

I can not say that about 37 and beyond.

Attachment 4187413


I just wish there were more choices for narrower 35” tires. I had 12.5” wide on my jk and it was not very good in the snow and rough roads.


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Old 11-25-2019, 08:25 PM
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Wow. That's a beautiful Jeep. I am going to seriously consider your advice. The investment required for your setup is very manageable. If I can go rock-hopping on 35-inch tires & appropriate lift, shocks, etc., I will enjoy it!
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Old 11-25-2019, 08:32 PM   #14
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Does anyone understand Jeep modifications adhering to state laws?

Sorry for the topic derail, but are you still liking your iron cross steps/sliders?


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Old 11-25-2019, 08:46 PM
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I just wish there were more choices for narrower 35” tires. I had 12.5” wide on my jk and it was not very good in the snow and rough roads.


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Not good in snow? That's an important fact I had not considered. I have to drive in snow often during the winter. I will need a jeep that can handle almost anything a DD needs, as well as rock hopping on weekends.

In my research on wheels and tires, I have been focused on two areas: daily driving on roads and technical off-road trails on weekends. For my DD needs, I have to drive to work on back roads (both dirt and paved roads) before I get to the freeway. That means plenty of mud with heavy rain, and driving thru snow between 2 and 12 inches high. I currently use my wife's Subaru Outback when the weather gets bad and that car does extraordinarily well in mud and snow. I just have to make sure the Jeep can perform just as well. (I wish I could go off-road with an Outback, but there's no way that car can succeed on basic off-road trails. I considered this once and had to dismiss the idea.)

That being said, I never gave any thought to the width of the tires. My driving experience ranges from small cars to pickup trucks with wide tires. However, those "wide" tires were probably not as wide as the tires that can be placed on a modified jeep.

I am still learning...trying to identify the best wheel/tire setup. Once that is done, then the rest of the jeep upgrades will fall into place.
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Old 11-25-2019, 10:39 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by RubiconSS View Post
Most Lifts go up more than advertised... That said IMO a 4" lift is a lot of lift and brings into the equation more issues than the State whether that be New Jersey or Connecticut.

I DD a 2" lift and 35's and have yet to have an issue as a DD or weekend off-roading chariot.


Just throwing it out there....
My lift I plan on purchasing after holiday bills for my 2020 will be a 2" lift and I plan on going with 35s. I had 35s on my 2014 and loved them. For me that is the max I can deal with on a personal basis like rotation, etc. No, I don't trust tire shops.

I really want to see a picture of the OP's Jeep after that 4" lift and 40" tires. Wow.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:18 AM   #17
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Sorry for the topic derail, but are you still liking your iron cross steps/sliders?


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Yes. They have held up extremely well - look and function as new. Work really great as intended a step and a stand off measure. They have taken some pretty good shots from logs on the trail with no ill effect.
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Old 11-26-2019, 09:21 AM   #18
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Not good in snow? That's an important fact I had not considered. I have to drive in snow often during the winter. I will need a jeep that can handle almost anything a DD needs, as well as rock hopping on weekends.

In my research on wheels and tires, I have been focused on two areas: daily driving on roads and technical off-road trails on weekends. For my DD needs, I have to drive to work on back roads (both dirt and paved roads) before I get to the freeway. That means plenty of mud with heavy rain, and driving thru snow between 2 and 12 inches high. I currently use my wife's Subaru Outback when the weather gets bad and that car does extraordinarily well in mud and snow. I just have to make sure the Jeep can perform just as well. (I wish I could go off-road with an Outback, but there's no way that car can succeed on basic off-road trails. I considered this once and had to dismiss the idea.)

That being said, I never gave any thought to the width of the tires. My driving experience ranges from small cars to pickup trucks with wide tires. However, those "wide" tires were probably not as wide as the tires that can be placed on a modified jeep.

I am still learning...trying to identify the best wheel/tire setup. Once that is done, then the rest of the jeep upgrades will fall into place.
Rule of thumb: Snow = narrower tire. Look at what's on the P/U truck plowing the convenient store parking lot. That said, I run BFG KO2's (snowflake tire) and they go anywhere/everywhere I need to go and they are as mentioned 315/70-17.
The "Tire" matters a lot so not all 12.5's are created equal.
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Old 11-26-2019, 06:09 PM   #19
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Rule of thumb: Snow = narrower tire. Look at what's on the P/U truck plowing the convenient store parking lot. That said, I run BFG KO2's (snowflake tire) and they go anywhere/everywhere I need to go and they are as mentioned 315/70-17.

The "Tire" matters a lot so not all 12.5's are created equal.


Run the same tire in a narrower size and you will see how much better a pizza cutter is. The tire does make a difference, but most are too wide to do “great” in the snow as a 35” tire.


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Old 11-27-2019, 07:21 AM   #20
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Thanks for your feedback. I look forward to do what you are doing: the jeep is a DD during the week and a rock hopper on weekends. I do want to get 35-inch or 37-inch tires. I love how the 40s look but I have read many posts on various forums on how impractical they are as a DD. I have read much more positive feedback on tires sizes from 35-inches to 38-inches.
Here's some feedback some folks here may not appreciate. I really don't like to see highly modified Jeeps or trucks running around on public roads for various reasons.

This week, there was a severe "accident" in SoCal involving two kids and a modified Jeep that looks like it has 40" tires with a 4" plus lift... nice looking Jeep, but as one youngster hangs on to life by a thread with severe head injuries, any hope to pull out of this is slim... and if he does, it's certain he will have permanent brain damage. Hospital bills and rehabilitation will exceed $1 million.

How this kid got wrapped up underneath this Jeep is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol -- as the driver of the Jeep posted $100K bail to free himself from jail...

There's a California law that stipulates tires must be covered completely with fenders... the language reads,

VEHICLE CODE - DIVISION 12. EQUIPMENT OF VEHICLES [24000 - 28160]

It requires extensive modifications to run 37", 38" and 40" tires on a Jeep... the larger the tire; the more trimming bumpers and fenders, changing wheel offsets and widening the track... in essence, these modified vehicles on public roads typically DO NOT meet California vehicle code.

Why is this important? Well, aside from being severely injured which can happen at any time, any place -- as you're being run over by a modified Jeep with open wheels and 40" tires... the chances this kids medical bills will be covered by the drivers auto insurance is questionable and will be subject to policy limits.

I expect to see auto insurance claim denials...

The father of this young boy in ICU is asking for financial help for the medical bills... and I guarantee there will be lawsuits as the dust settles, if it ever does.

Food for thought my friend...

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Old 11-27-2019, 10:30 AM
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Thanks for your feedback on tire size and performance on snow. Now I am pondering on what is the best option for me. If I do not plan on going on trails during the winter months, I suppose I could install the thinner, winter tires. During the warmer months I could swap out the tires for something much wider. (In both cases the diameter of the tires would be the same.) If I did go this route, I would end up buying 2 sets of wheels and tires: one set would be on the Jeep and one set in storage in my garage. (I would not try to mount the tire onto the wheel itself; that's a nightmare.)

I would like to avoid changing tires completely. Personally, I would feel embarrassed if my Jeep was having trouble in the snow. The general public's perception of Jeep Wranglers is that those cars can go through anything. Maybe I will stick with narrow stock tires or the equivalent tires with larger diameters. What I think I will do is try 1-set of tires and see what happens.

I am astonished that wider tires have trouble in the snow. Logically, you would think that more tire surface area would provide more traction regardless of terrain. Forgive me if my question is very naive, but why are wider tires better for mud and worse for snow (assuming you have the correct tires installed)?
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Old 11-27-2019, 10:51 AM
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Here's some feedback some folks here may not appreciate. I really don't like to see highly modified Jeeps or trucks running around on public roads for various reasons.

This week, there was a severe "accident" in SoCal involving two kids and a modified Jeep that looks like it has 40" tires with a 4" plus lift... nice looking Jeep, but as one youngster hangs on to life by a thread with severe head injuries, any hope to pull out of this is slim... and if he does, it's certain he will have permanent brain damage. Hospital bills and rehabilitation will exceed $1 million.

How this kid got wrapped up underneath this Jeep is being investigated by the California Highway Patrol -- as the driver of the Jeep posted $100K bail to free himself from jail...

There's a California law that stipulates tires must be covered completely with fenders... the language reads,

VEHICLE CODE - DIVISION 12. EQUIPMENT OF VEHICLES [24000 - 28160]

It requires extensive modifications to run 37", 38" and 40" tires on a Jeep... the larger the tire; the more trimming bumpers and fenders, changing wheel offsets and widening the track... in essence, these modified vehicles on public roads typically DO NOT meet California vehicle code.

Why is this important? Well, aside from being severely injured which can happen at any time, any place -- as you're being run over by a modified Jeep with open wheels and 40" tires... the chances this kids medical bills will be covered by the drivers auto insurance is questionable and will be subject to policy limits.

I expect to see auto insurance claim denials...

The father of this young boy in ICU is asking for financial help for the medical bills... and I guarantee there will be lawsuits as the dust settles, if it ever does.

Food for thought my friend...

.

Wow. Your post is very eye-opening. I have not bought my jeep yet and will not be for a while. Given the expense of a new jeep in addition to the expense of modifications, I am expending considerable time in research. I have been reading multiple 4x4 forums on a variety of topics for quite some time. I find very few threads focused on safety on public roads. Ironically, most of those threads discussing safety are fixated on safety while off-road and not on public roads.

In New Jersey, they do have a law stating that the fender must be as wide as the tire. You would think that limitation would force people to use only narrow tires. What I have found is that people install new fenders that are much wider. In other words, people can be very creative to remain compliant. Even more interesting is that I see modified jeeps at NJ dealerships with a lift and wider tires, but the fenders are not as wide as the tires.

I had already planned to begin a new thread on the effects of modifications on safety while driving on public roads. Given your feedback, I will start that thread today.
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Old 11-27-2019, 01:03 PM
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Originally Posted by SteedGun View Post
My lift I plan on purchasing after holiday bills for my 2020 will be a 2" lift and I plan on going with 35s. I had 35s on my 2014 and loved them. For me that is the max I can deal with on a personal basis like rotation, etc. No, I don't trust tire shops.

I really want to see a picture of the OP's Jeep after that 4" lift and 40" tires. Wow.
Thanks for your feedback. I have not bought a jeep yet. I am currently doing research on modifications and am defining boundaries, otherwise my imagination will get the best of me. Since I need to use my jeep as a daily driver, I don't think I will install 40-inch tires. I have read multiple posts indicating how impractical they are for everyday use on paved roads. Also, your gas mileage plummets. Based on what I have learned so far, the highest I will go is 37 inches with the minimum lift required for those tires & off-road use. I am also seriously thinking installing 35s. Most of the off-roading I will be doing can be enjoyed with 35s, and the number of modifications needed would be significantly reduced.

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