Buying Tires for the 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL: What You Need to Know

July 1st, 2020 by

The 2018 Jeep Wrangler JL is commonly accepted among Jeep enthusiasts as being one of the strongest cars Jeep has put out yet. A comfortable interior loaded with amenities, incredible suspension, great steering geometry, and more all combine to make for an amazing driving experience, on and off road. The Wrangler JL also just looks good, plain and simple, so that you’ll savor every opportunity you get to take it out for a ride. 


One of the big questions that plague potential buyers of the 2018 Wrangler is what tires they should spring for. Better yet, what are the largest tires they can buy without having to lift the Jeep. The JL’s wheel openings are large enough to allow a wide range of tire options, giving considerable freedom to any potential buyer.


Different editions of the JL come equipped with different tires, the Sport with 31.5 inch tall 245/75R17 tires, the Sahara with slightly larger 32 inch diameter 255/70R18 tires, and the Rubicon with the 33 inch diameter 285/70R17 tires. The Rubicon comes with a different suspension and larger wheel openings than the other two models, so keep that in mind if you are thinking of getting a Wrangler fitted for larger tires. 


If you want to go with 33 inch tires, then it would be wise for Sport or Sahara owners to replace the plastic fender flares on the vehicle with raised or high-top fenders, which will NOT affect how your Jeep rides. If you want to do this, then you’ll also need to add wheel spacers or install new wheels with ~4.5 inch backspacing. If this doesn’t sound ideal, you could alternatively install a 1.5 or 2 inch suspension lift while keeping the stock fender flares. 


For 35 inch tires, you’ll still be able to fit them onto a Rubicon JL, which was specifically designed to handle them. Unless you solely plan on driving carefully on streets, you should get 1-2 inches of lift to ensure safe off-road experience. For the other Jeep trim levels, 1-2 inches of lift will work if you get aftermarket raised fender flares as well. Otherwise, sticking with the stock fender will require 2-3 inches of lift 


If you’re thinking about serious off-roading, 37 inch tires will have a Rubicon owner springing for a 2-3 inch lift with correct bump spots along with axle upgrades. Add all that plus new fender flares if you own a Sahara or Sport. 


Going with 40 inch tires will require fairly massive modifications to ensure your Jeep can fit these tires. Expect to get 5-6 inch lifts and aftermarket fender flares as a starting point, with careful inspection of bump spots and severe modifications to the fender openings for the sake of making it all work. 


As for brands Bridgestone, BFGoodrich, Goodyear, and Maxxis are all worth considering. Call Cross Jeep Service department for recommendations based on your goals for off-roading and general driving expectations could lead you to the right tire.