Too Long; Didn't Read
Let’s get straight to the point.
We are running BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E (load index: 120) tires right now and this is what we recommend if you want to upgrade to all-terrain, snow-approved tires on your stock Ford Transit van (factory wheels, no body lift).
Why we swear by them:
BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires
1- Understanding Tire Sizes
What does all these numbers mean?
LT255/70R16 120/117 E
- LT: Light Truck metric size intended for vehicule capable of carrying heavy cargo or towing large trailers.
- 255: The first 3 digits are the tire width in millimeters (255mm tire width)
- 70: The second 2 digits are the tire aspect ratio in percentage (ratio of the sidewall height to its width). (70%)
- R16: The is the diameter of the wheel the tire is intended to fit. (16″ wheel diameter)
- 121/117: Load index (this is critical, so please see next section for more info)
- E: Load Range / Ply Rating. (D = 8 plies, E = 10 plies). Check this article for more info.
2- Tire Load Index
For your safety, it is critical to understand that each tire brand/model/size all have different load index. The load index is the maximum weight (per tire) that your tire can support safely:
|TIRE LOAD INDEX TABLE|
|Load Index||Load (lbs)||Load Index||Load (lbs)||Load Index||Load (lbs)|
Remember that the weight each tire sees is subject to change with time; for example as the payload change (cargo) or when going steep incline the rear tires support most of the weight. There are many variables to take account of, so in doubt select new tires with load index no lower than the factory tires. In fact, most tire shop will not accept to install tires with lower load index, for liability reasons.
LT tires (light truck) have two load index. The first load index is for single tire. The second load index is for dual tires. The reason the capacity for two tires is lower than a single tire is to make sure that the vehicle can continue to carry the load should one tire fail.
3- Ford Transit Factory Tires
Our 2016 Ford Transit came equipped with stock tires Continental VancoFourSeasons 235/65/R16 121 C.
They are 28″ diameter.
Don’t be fooled by the “Four Seasons” or “All Seasons” appellation. They’re simply not made for snow! For example, driving with these in Quebec (Canada) during winter is illegal! They are also useless in mud or on wet grass…
Note the “121” load index.
4- Ford Transit - BFGoodrich KO2 Compatible larger tires
We can’t possibly go through all the different brand/model on the market, so we’ll stick to what we know for now:
|Tire Size, Load Index & Speed Rating||Rim Width Range (Min/Max)||Section Width on Measuring Rim Width||Overall Diameter||Max Load, Single (lb @ PSI)||Tire Weight||Fit on Factory Wheels?||Modification to Van Body Required?||Fit in Spare Tire Carrier?||Buy Link|
|LT225/75R16/E 115 S||6″ – 7″||8.8″ on 6″||29.2″||2680@801||42.4||Yes||No||Yes||Amazon|
|LT255/70R16/E 120 S||6.5″ – 8″||10.2″ on 7.5″||30″||3085@80||47.7||Yes||No||See 3||Amazon|
|LT245/75R16/E 120 S||6.5″ – 8″||9.8″ on 7″||30.4″||3042@80||48.9||Yes||Yes2||See 3||Amazon|
1 LT225/75R16/E 115 S: Take note of the “115” load index… this is much lower than factory tires. We DID ran these tires at first for a few years without issues, but because the load index is so low, we wouldn’t recommend them.
2 The pinch weld has to be trimmed. Check out Morey’s in Transit instructions.
3 Fit in the spare tire carrier of the Ford Transit 148″ Extended-Length only. You can still fit it in the non-extended length by following Morey’s in Transit instructions.
5- What sizes did we actually try?
5.1- LT225/75R16/E 115 S
We got 45k miles out of them, that’s including the spare in the rotation (so 5 tires). It’s not a lot, but keep in mind they’re made for traction not for wear life!
Note that for the front tires, minimum clearance is achieved when wheels are fully turned. The clearance shown below is for straight wheels.
We ran these tires for a few years without issues, but we wouldn’t really recommend them because the “115” load index is much lower than the “121” factory tires.
5.2- LT255/70R16/E 120 S
We loved our first set of BFGoodrich KO2 so we stick with them for our second set (installed December 2018). This time, we are trying the LT255/70R16/E 120 S because the weight rating is higher, the diameter is slightly larger and no modification to the van is required. We confirm that they fit on the factory wheels without modifications to the van.
Edit December 2020: We are installing a new set of the KO2, same size: LT255/70R16.
We got 32K miles out of them, which is less than our previous tires. But this time, we did NOT include the spare tire in the rotation (so less mileage was expected). In addition, we could have kept them longer but we wanted new tires for the start of our skiing season. Driving in snow/ice with worn out tires isn’t ideal for safety…
Same as for the 225 above, minus half an inch!
BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires
6- Good To Know
6.1- Larger tires affect speedometer reading
Larger tires will decrease the speedometer reading of about 3-4 mph (depending). For example if the speedometer reads 55 mph, our true speed is 58-59 mph. We have to keep that in mind to avoid speeding tickets!
Ford dealers can’t fix that and there’s no “unofficial” fix that we know of. So suck it up and drive a bit slower 🙂
6.2- All-Terrain tires are more noisy
Agressive threads are more noisy. We don’t mind that at all, but some people are more sensitive to noise…
7- SNOW CHAINS
Snow chains are sometimes mandatory; we don’t want to miss a powder day so we’re carrying a pair with us at all time!
Be aware that Ford doesn’t allow to install snow chains on the Transit. However many people, including us, do it. Your call!
Here are the snow chains you need according to your tire size:
- LT225/75R16E: THULE/KONIG XG-12 PRO SIZE 245 (Buy on Amazon)
- LT255/70R16E: THULE/KONIG XG-12 PRO SIZE 255 (Buy on Amazon)
Or check out our review; there’s a sizing guide in there.
THULE/KONIG XG-12 PRO SNOW CHAINS – REVIEW
An empty RWD vehicle don’t do too well in snow. However, with the added weight from the van conversion, the Transit is doing just fine. We can go pretty much wherever we want! Here is the full debrief of our first winter living full time in the van; we talk of the LSD differential, driving in snow, 4×4 (or the lack of), etc…
- That's it folks, hope that helps! -
More Ford Transit goodies
Tested and Reviewed from our research lab facilities (a.k.a. Our Van)
Nice To Meet You.
Hello! We’re Isabelle and Antoine In 2017 we sold our house (and everything in it), quit our engineering careers and moved into our self built campervan. We’ve been on the road since then and every day is an opportunity for a new adventure; we’re chasing our dreams and hopefully it inspires others to do the same!
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