Ford Transit All-Terrain Larger Tires Upgrade

Ford Transit All-Terrain Larger Tires Upgrade

Ford-Transit-Larger-Tires-KO2-All-Terrain
Updated:

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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Portrait-FarOutRide-Van

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
BFGoodrich KO2 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 IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)Load IndexLoad (lbs)
7585210118191263748
7688210218741273858
7790810319291283968
7893710419841294079
7996310520391304189
8099210620941314289
81101910721491324409
82104710822051334541
83107410922711344674
84110211023371354806
85113511124031364938
86116811224691375071
87120111325351385203
88123511426011395357
89127911526791405512
90132311627561415677
91135611728331425842
92138911829101436008
93143311929981446173
94147712030861456393
95152112131971466614
96156512233071476779
97160912334171486844
98165312435271497165
99170912536381507385
1001764    
Tire Load Index Table

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.

VancoFourSeasons

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 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@80142.4YesNoYesTire Rack
LT255/70R16/E 120 S6.5″ – 8″10.2″ on 7.5″30″3085@8047.7YesNoSee 3Tire Rack
LT245/75R16/E 120 S6.5″ – 8″9.8″ on 7″30.4″3042@8048.9YesYes2See 3Tire Rack

Notes:

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.


6. Clearance


FRONT:

(Note that minimum clearance is achieved when wheels are fully turned. The clearance shown is for straight wheels)

REAR:


7. Durability


  • 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
Thule-Konig-XG-12-PRO-Snow-Chains-Review-2
Size, installation, etc.
Winter VanLife Guide
Winter-Vanlife-How-To-Tips-FarOutRide-Induction
Traction & driving in snow, staying warm, condensation control, electrical/solar, water/showers, etc.

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:

Ford Transit AFtermarket Wheel Upgrade
Ford Transit Wheels Aftermarket Upgrade Heading

Want More?


WE’RE JUST GETTING STARTED.

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About us


NICE TO MEET YOU.

About-Us-Narrow

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. 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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Thanks to all of you, we managed to negociate group discount on these. Strength in numbers!

112 thoughts on “Ford Transit All-Terrain Larger Tires Upgrade”

  1. Amazing site causing a 1st time response to any website: As an engineer, you speak my language perfectly, and so I am “cut & pasting” (#P&C – Twitter reference as I understand things as a non-tweeter) your van experiences into my build – 2023 Ford Transit AWD XL extended length and tall although with windows all around so that kids can see “things”. Tires have become a worry as Costco won’t install the KO2’s and reading thru threads it may be warranted. I love the feedback and discussion from your team.
    I realize the load rating will be significantly decreased if I install KO2’s w/ 245 vs. 255, but is the “trimming” or rubbing issue related to width. I like the idea of not raising and continuing stock design. Pre-school kids road in dad’s mid-90’s Bronco with lift and top off, but large tires rubbed when turning, so not completely averse. My build will be a lab/sleep van for skiing/mountain-biking w/ the weight issues related only to my girth and kids growth:
    – PROs
    — Increased buoyancy
    — Better traction
    — Fewer confused looks at Sizzler/Chuck-a-rama
    – CONs
    — Can’t think of any
    — On other hand, less “sexy”
    Not a live in, so no water storage, kitchen, etc.
    We will be skiing (kids)/riding (parents) and MBing out of it for weekends, but more worried about safety than looking cool. Dad van.

    Reply
  2. I just put on the BF Goodrich 245/75/16 on my 2017 Rear wheel drive transit and had no clearance issues. Thought I would put that size out there as well.

    Reply
  3. Your site is incredible! Just got the 2019 high roof extended with quigley 4×4 and found you all due to my tire search – (so much great info for everything!)
    I was 3 hours into getting the K02 LT25560r16 when the tire shop informed me that they were worried about the difference in psi that these require and the 70 (for the rear) that ford specs. I will be using this as a live in and work out of (construction) vehicle so I will have some additional weight but I didn’t think it would be significantly different than all of the builds such as yours and others I’ve seen. They would do it if I approved but They wanted the tires to be “c” rated . I didn’t know enough about any of that and it’s why I went to the “tire specialist’s in the first place.There is a falken model that is “c” rated but it’s just as small as the stock and I’m really thinking the larger size tires are more appropriate for this huge van. Thanks!

    Reply
  4. The company “Discount Tire” would not put the K02 Lt 255/70R 16E tires on our 2016 Transit because the tires were rubbing against the suspension. Does that make sense to you? Thoughts?
    We love your site and we built our van using a lot of your ideas and are very appreciative!
    Tom and Terri Schwartz (TomTerriTransit on FordTransitForum)

    Reply
    • Many installers don’t want to install tires that are slightly different than stock. That’s a very common thing…
      You best bet is to shop around and find one that will accept 🙂

      Reply
      • Except they showed me how the tire was rubbing against the suspension (they put grease on the tire and it rubbed off on the suspension). Maybe our suspension is out of alignment or something is wrong?? I don’t expect you to have an answer but I guess I just want other people to know that they may encounter a similar issue.

        Reply
  5. Adding another data point here on a 2022 250 RWD.

    I got some LT255/70/R16 K02’s with Black Rhino wheels (has +30 mm offset) and needed to cut the pinch weld even with a 2″ lift. I had about 1 or 2 mm of space between the tire and the body with the steering wheel slightly turned. With compression, this would definitely contact the pinch weld.

    It seems like the stock wheel offset is now different between RWD and AWD so perhaps that is the confusion. I couldn’t not confirm the numbers so I won’t post them.

    Reply
  6. So stoked on your sight. I have a 2020 awd mid . It sound as if your suggested tires fit the awd probable do to the 1’” lift stock? If you can give a shout out as i will be ordering soon. From the other coast

    Reply
  7. I just finished installing the K02 255/70/R16 tires and discovered they do NOT fit without trimming the wheel wells in the front.
    I have a 2020 Ford Transit 2WD.

    I ended up taking off about an inch from the rear side of the front wheel wells and the tires have about an 1/2″ clearance front and back when turning.

    I read this entire thread and comments, along with a few other forums where people all stated they fit without modifications. I didn’t see any posts saying they wouldn’t fit. Thats why I wanted to add to the conversation so people know it’s not 100% guaranteed the K02 255/70/r16 will fit without modification.
    Hopefully you are lucky like the rest of these folks not needing to trim, but beware, you might be like me and have to do a little more work to get them to fit.

    Good luck.

    Reply
    • Hey Dan after reading this blog post I was really excited to install the K02 Lt 255/70R 16E on my 2019 Transit 350 XLT. I do notice they are rubbing when taking wide turns. I am taking a trip next week i would like to get this resolved before I do. I was wondering the process you used to trim an inch off and are you having anymore problems? Antoine, I think you should modify your blog post it is a bit misleading that it seems the K02 Lt 255/70R 16E do NOT fit our vehicle across the board without modification.

      Reply
  8. Love this site, thx for all you do. Perhaps I have over seen this , but we are curious and would like to confirm if there is any changes from the 2016 Transit Medium/ medium in tire clearance to the 2017 as far as the winter tires you recommend?
    We are due for tires and plan a trip to southern California this winter from British Columbia.
    Cheers and Thanks. Geordie

    Reply
  9. Thanks for all the detailed blog.

    I just wanted to let people know that I bought the K02 255/70R16 Tires after reading all of the positive reviews saying they fit without any modifications needed.
    Turns out, they did NOT fit my van.
    Not sure why they fit everyone elses and not mine.
    They rubbed slightly on both of the front wheels.

    I ended up trimming about an inch of the wheel well and now it has about 1/2″ clearance when it is turning. Hopefully this works out and doesn’t give me any issues moving forward.

    I’m jealous of all of you folks that didn’t need to trim.

    Reply
  10. I been researching on tire replacement on 2020 transit 350hd drw awd reading service body uplifter , it has stock 205/75r16 tires , shop says 225/75r16 load range f will not fit , I’m looking to get a all terrain tire rated for weight and towing with about 1” of additional height for off road clearance , can anyone assist on this

    Reply
  11. Thanks for all the great info! I ordered. 2021 AWD Long 350, do you know of the 255/70/R16 will work on AWD? Thanks!

    Reply
  12. Great info! I have the VanCompass topo lift which they claim can accommodate max 265/75/16 and I’m in the process of buying a summer (off-road) wheel/tire set with wider wheels as my factory 6.5″ wheels have narrower winter tires mounted.

    I’m considering 255/70/17 tires on 7.5″ wheel width. Given your setup, would you anticipate any issue with running a wider wheel? I have 1.5″ spacers that I may or may not use depending on wheel offset selected, but let’s assume the new wheels have factory offset for sake of argument. Thanks!

    Reply
  13. Thanks for sharing all your awesome knowledge!

    We have 2017 LWB European production and they come with the plastic wheel well liners.
    It was a bit mission to get these tires legal in Germany, but with a bit of patience and determination, everything is possible.

    There were 2 main challenges along this path:

    1. get the tachometer adjusted to the new circumference (and certified by TUV test)
    2. get a clearance of 6+mm in all turning positions under simulated full load

    While you originally posted that “there’s no “unofficial” fix that you know of”

    It can be adjusted by tapping into the board computer and a bit of black magic – check forscan.org if you’re up for a hacking mission.

    We couldn’t go this way directly, had to find someone who can do it with a certificate test on top – tachodoktor.de might help if you live close to Berlin.

    On getting a bit more clearance – one option would be to get the liners out, but that’s always the last option.

    There is a metal bracket on the bottom of the liner that can be shifted by cca 3.5cm backward. That gives an additional 1cm space between the tire and liner when roughly half turned (min clearance in this case)

    Safe ride on the roads and off the beaten paths ☮

    Reply
  14. Hey Guys,
    Your site is awesome! My wife and I are currently in the planning stage and our research is leading us toward the Ford Transit as well. It looks like we’ll need the extended version like you have to fit us and our daughter somewhat comfortably. We are planning to have the van converted to be a 4X4 by Quigley as we like to get as far off the beaten path as we feel comfortable doing. We are a little worried about the extended length being an issue with steeper ascents. Have you had any trouble with this? I’ve seen some posts about adding casters to the rear bumper and a skid plate but am unsure if this is necessary. It would be great to hear your thoughts.
    Thanks for all the amazing and thorough resources!

    Reply
  15. Hi I absolutely love this site! It’s one of the best accidental discoveries I’ve made in a long time. Thank you for all the effort you have put into thoroughly documenting your van project. The tires on my Transit 350 passenger van are nearing the end of their lives and I will be installing 255/70 r16 KO2s instead of the 235/70 r16 KO2s that I had been running my for sure! I’m excited to get another inch of diameter. I have one question though about something else on you van however. In some photographs you appear to have a red vehicle recovery hook under the front of your van. I am looking for something exactly like this. Would you mind sharing about it? Thanks!

    Reply
  16. We are having a hard time fitting the spare tire under our 2020 awd transit now. We ended up with the BFG K02 tires like you recommended and the ultra black rims that fit the awd models and love them. Any tricks to get the new spare tire in better?

    Reply
    • The spare fits fine for the extended-length van, but it doesn’t for the “normal length” from what I heard. Some people take some air off the tire, but of course you’ll need to carry a compressor if you do that…

      Reply
  17. Hello Isabelle and Antoine,

    Now that you’ve had your K02’s in the 255 for awhile now, have you experienced any rubbing? or have you had to modify anything to accommodate the new size? I have a 2021 AWD coming and I’d like to upgrade my tires for where I live (Vermont). Thank you for all the information you provide on your site.

    Reply
    • We did no modifications and got no rubbing. If you have the wheel well liners option, then it might sometimes rub form what I heard (on very specific occasion, like going down a steep hill while braking and turning), but it’s not an issue.

      Reply

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