Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade

BFGoodrich KO2 tires

Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade

Looking to upgrade your Ford Transit stock tires for larger diameter, all-terrain, tires to improve ground clearance and traction? We were too! Here is the data we gathered during our research and our long term review.

Too Long; Didn't Read

Let’s get straight to the point. 

We are running BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E 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).

BFGoodrich KO2 Tires on Ford Transit van

Why we swear by them:

  • The traction in mud and snow is outstanding.
  • It's the largest tire size possible on the stock wheel and with no modification to the van body.
  • They increase ground clearance.
  • They clear the GVWR (Gross Vehicle Weight Rating) of the Ford Transit.
  • These tires make our van look mean, just like us.
BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires

1- Understanding Tire Sizes

What does all these numbers mean?

LT255/70R16 E

  • 255: The first 3 digits are the tire width in millimeters (255mm tire diameter)
  • 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)
  • LT: Light Truck metric size intended for vehicule capable of carrying heavy cargo or towing large trailers.
  • E: Load Range / Ply Rating. (D = 8 plies, E = 10 plies). Check this article for more info.

2- Ford Transit Factory Tires

Our 2016 Ford Transit came equipped with stock tires Continental VancoFourSeasons 235/65/R16C.

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…

VancoFourSeasons

3- Ford Transit Compatible larger tires

Tire Size, Load Index & Speed RatingRim Width Range (Min/Max)Section Width on Measuring Rim WidthOverall DiameterMax Load, Single (lb @ PSI)Tire WeightFit on Factory Wheels?Modification to Van Body Required?Fit in Spare Tire Carrier?Buy Link
LT225/75R16/E 115 S6″ – 7″8.8″ on 6″29.2″2680@80142.4YesNoYesAmazon
LT255/70R16/E 120 S6.5″ – 8″10.2″ on 7.5″30″3085@8047.7YesNoSee 3Amazon
LT245/75R16/E 120 S6.5″ – 8″9.8″ on 7″30.4″3042@8048.9YesYes2See 3Amazon

Notes:

1 LT225/75R16/E 115 S don’t clear the Ford Transit GVWR. Some installers will refuse to install them because of that. If you still decide to go with the LT225/75R16/E 115 S, it is your responsibility to ensure you don’t overload 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.

4- What sizes did we actually try?

4.1- LT225/75R16/E 115 S

Wear Out

We got 45k miles out of them, 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!

Clearance

Note that for the front tires, minimum clearance is achieved when wheels are fully turned. The clearance shown below is for straight wheels.

FRONT:

BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (2)
BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (4)

REAR:

BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (3)
BF Goodrich KO2 on Ford Transit Clearance (1)

4.2- 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.

Because we’re on the road full time, we ordered the tires online from Discount Tire and had them ship and install to one of their store (they have stores literally everywhere in the US). It took 2-3 days for the tires to show up and the installation took less than 45 minutes; sweeeet!

Hint: select “my store” on top of their web page, shop by size (not by vehicle) and select an installation appointment date/time at checkout:

Wear Out

We installed them in december 2018, we’re still running them!

Clearance

Same as for the 225 above, minus half an inch!

5- Good To Know

5.1- 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 🙂

5.2- 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…

6- 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:

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…

Conclusion

We're done, thanks for reading!

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about us

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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100 thoughts on “Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade”

  1. Hello,

    Did tire chance affect stability? I changed same tires and it feels than it does not drive nearly as well on highways. Just asking if you had the same or if they messed up with aglinement…

    Thanks! Awesome page! Keep doing it!

    Axel

    • The KO2 are All-Terrain tires, so you get more off-road traction at the expense of smooth (and silent) highway driving. That being said, the KO2 still do OK on highways; it might depends on your expectation (or maybe they did really mess up the alignement).

      Good luck,
      antoine

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