Looking to upgrade your Ford Transit stock tires for larger diameter, all-terrain tires to improve ground clearance, traction, and look? We were too! Here is the data we gathered during our research and our long term review of the BFGoodrich KO2 AT tires.
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1. Too Long Didn’t Read
(Straight To The Point)
Let’s get straight to the point.
We are running BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E tires on both of our vans (2016 RWD Transit & 2021 AWD Transit) and we highly recommend them if you want to upgrade to all-terrain, snow-approved tires on your stock Ford Transit van (factory wheels, no body lift):
Why they’re our favorite All-Terrain tires out there:
- 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.
- These tires make our van look badass, just like us!
BFGoodrich KO2 LT255/70R16 E Tires
2. Understanding Tire Sizes
What do all these numbers mean?
LT255/70R16 120/117 E
- LT: Light Truck metric size intended for vehicle 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; in this case, 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.
3. Tire Load Index
For your safety, it is critical to understand that all tire brands/models/sizes have a different load index. The load index is the maximum weight (per tire) that your tire can support safely:
|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 changes (cargo) or when going up a steep incline, the rear tires support most of the weight. There are many variables to take in to account, so when in doubt select, new tires with a load index no lower than the factory tires. In fact, most tire shops will not agree to install tires with a lower load index, for liability reasons.
LT tires (light truck) have two load index numbers. The first load index is for single tires. 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.
4. Ford Transit Factory Tires
Our 2016 and 2021 Ford Transit came equipped with Continental 235/65/R16 121C.
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.
5. Ford Transit/KO2 Compatible Tire Sizes
We can’t possibly go through all the different brands/models 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||Tire Rack|
|LT255/70R16/E 120 S||6.5″ – 8″||10.2″ on 7.5″||30″||3085@80||47.7||Yes||No||See 3||Tire Rack|
|LT245/75R16/E 120 S||6.5″ – 8″||9.8″ on 7″||30.4″||3042@80||48.9||Yes||Yes2||See 3||Tire Rack|
1 LT225/75R16/E 115 S: Take note of the “115” load index… this is much lower than the factory tires. We DID run 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.
(Note that minimum clearance is achieved when wheels are fully turned. The clearance shown is for straight wheels)
- 1ST SET: 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!
- 2ND SET: 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…
8. Good To Know
8.1. LARGER TIRES AFFECT SPEEDOMETER & Odometer
Larger tires will decrease the speedometer reading by 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!
It also impacts the odometer, so some things like the oil change warning might be off.
Ford dealers can’t fix that, and there’s no “unofficial” fix that we know of. Edit: there might be ways to do it: Speedometer calibration on FordTransitUSAforum.com
8.2. ALL-TERRAIN TIRES ARE MORE NOISY
Aggressive threads are more noisy. We don’t mind that at all, but some people are more sensitive to noise…
8.3. ALL-TERRAIN TIRES = Compromises
Road tires are optimized for the road and performs poorly off-road. Off-road tires are optimized for off-roads and are not great on highways. All-Terrain tires offer a compromise between road/off-road tires.
If going off-road is not in your plans, there’s probably no needs for all-terrain tires. But if, like us, you plan on using your van to travel (i.e. highways) and then to get to the trailhead (i.e. off-road), all-terrain tires will do great for that application 🙂
9. Snow Chains & Winter
Snow chains are sometimes mandatory. We don’t like missing a powder day, so we carry a pair with us at all times!
Be aware that Ford doesn’t allow the use of snow chains on the Transit. However, many people, including us, do it. Your call!
Thule/Konig XG-12 Pro Snow CHains
Winter VanLife Guide
10. Aftermarket Wheel Upgrade
We didn’t mind the look of our factory wheels on our 2016 RWD Transit, but something was off on our 2021 AWD Transit… So we went ahead with paired our KO2 tires with Method MR703 wheels: