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 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

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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83 thoughts on “Ford Transit Larger Tires Upgrade”

  1. Correct me if I am wrong, but that tire size (LT225/75R16 LRE) does not hold the same weight as the OEM tires…
    The Continental tires max load is 3195lbs @ 90psi, That is what the tire is capable of. A diesel ford transit requires 52PSI in the front and 71 PSI in the rear. 3195lbs/90psi = 35.5lbs per psi is what the Conti holds. If you Multiply the front and rear psi you will get what the transit holds out of the factory.
    Front @52psi will hold 1846lbs
    Rear @71psi will hold 2520.5lbs

    The BFG tires max load is 2680lbs @ 80psi = 33.5lbs per psi. So the new tire pressure should be Fronts 55psi, rears 75psi to hold the same weight out of the factory

    So it will hold what the factory holds, but you are limited to 2680lbs @ 80psi…

    • It’s true that they hold less than the factory tires.
      I don’t know about your calculations (xxlbs per psi), but you could have your van weighted fully loaded (front and rear axle) to determine exactly what’s the load on each tire; then you can be sure you’re not above the tire capacity. If that’s the case, you could look into the 245/75R16 as they have a higher load rating.

      Cheers!

  2. I kept getting stuck in the snow, so put these tires on my transit this winter. If you are in a state where you get any snow. They fit. I love them, have had them around 7 months. I put them on my Jeep also. Thanks for posting this. I know more about tires and load ratings than I want to. BF Goodrich KO2 are the best, and they look cool also.

  3. Re: the KO2 tires- did availability of tires factor into your decision (i.e. getting a flat when out and about and being able to replace it relatively easily) Also, are you in a situation where if you have to replace one tire, you have to replace all of them? (happened with my subaru even with relatively new tires).

    thank you for all the details, specs and links! your website is a trove of info nd guidance!

    • Hi!
      We didn’t factor availability, but the KO2 are popular and very easy to find. The KO2 can be installed on any wheel; so you can change only one tire.

      Good luck!
      Antoine

  4. Hi, I love your website. Very informative. I just bought a 2017 ford transit van and am very excited to take delivery of it but I am sooooooo overwhelmed. I do not have any experience with this type of work plus the van took a lot of my money. I want to raise the roof and, of course, build it out inside. I will be coming back to you site over and over again for help. The cheapest fiberglass roof I’ve found is about 2K. Any other suggestions?

  5. Thanks for all the great info. I love the idea of going with the BF Goodrich KO2 LT225/75/R16E All-Terrain tire. How well are they wearing? I find the stock tires struggle to get 50k miles.

    • We’re at 32k miles and I’m pretty sure the tires will make it to 50k. The reviews we read online were positive about the wearing. We will buy the KO2 again after ours wear out!

  6. Hi guys, we just ordered our van! Since you’ve been on the road for a while, if doing it again, would you buy the same tires? How is the road noise on them? We also want to get nice looking rims, but between Discount Tire and Les Schwab only 3 show up as options and I was wondering if there is some catch with this. Thanks for running this amazing website! We plan to use a bunch of your links once the build begins.

    • Hi and congratulation for the van!!
      We would buy the same tires. We don’t noticed road noise (especially since the van is insulated) and they do the job in summer/winter.
      We don’t know about the rims; we just use wheel covers on the factory wheels.

      Good luck and THANKS in advance for using our links 🙂
      Cheers!

  7. Any chance you know what you paid the dealer for the tires/installation. I just received a price from my dealer for $967.

  8. The one thing that I didn’t like about the Transit was the design of the rims so to hide them I ordered the silver hubcaps but plan on painting them all black with Plasti Dip to match the black van that I just ordered.

  9. You know Nokian makes a tire that meets the weight specs for the transit it’s call a Hakkapeliitta C3 (with studs) or CR3 (studless).

    • We did, it fits in the spare tire spot.
      We include the spare into tires rotation and we learned the spare doesn’t have a tire pressure sensor… the van computer is constantly showing a “Tire Pressure Sensor Error” and that’s annoying (we can’t see outside temp, MPEG, etc). Next time we change our tires, we will install a sensor in the spare!

      Cheers!

  10. Do you know of any problems or have any concerns about the larger tires affecting the shift points of the transmission due to the slight change in the speedometer?

    Thank you! Your website is great!

    • We have the 4.1 transmission ratio, but the Transit can also be ordered with the 3.73 ratio. With our larger tires we’re probably somewhere in between 4.1 and 3.73, so I doubt it’s a problem. Also, many people have installed larger tires with no issues.

      cheers!

  11. We are planning on being gone for as long as… as long as we can hike, walk and drive!

    One other question for you. When building… in what order did you do insulation and wiring? What wiring did you use? It looks flat…

    Perhaps we will meet up some day!
    Cheers!

    • We did insulation first, then wiring. This way the wiring is more accessible for modification later (if needed…).
      It looks flat because it comes with the positive wire (red) and negative wire (black) into a white protective sleeve; it’s called duplex. For example duplex AWG 14 is referred as 14/2: http://amzn.to/2B48Qau .

      Hope that helps!

  12. Hi Guys,
    Just got our used 2015 Transit T250 HT 148. Very excited and you should be getting a huge kick back from all my purchases. I really want to put the 245s on but am a bit nervous with the rubbing possibility. Planning to hit the road for good in March. West Coast up to Alaska then next fall and from then on Central and South Americas. Do you know of anyone who did install the 245s? Thanks in advance.

    • Wow, sounds like a plan!! Solid itinerary! How long are you planning for?

      I don’t know someone personally, but I’ve read on the discussion forum (here) that it can be done and there should be no rubbing.

      THANKS for using our links 🙂
      Have a good one!

    • Hi dos Chicas, I have 245/75/16 installed and I really like them. I have a 4 bike rack on the back and it the added height allows the rack to fully extend to the ground so the rear doors can open. The larger tires also look more natural than the small skateboard wheels that come stock. I do recommend eventually changing your gears from 3.31 to 3.73. Once you do this there is no change to the speedometer since the gears make up for the change in tire diameter.

  13. Hey there!,

    First off your website is the bomb.com! Second off and the point of this reply to your post is I’m nearly finished with my van build and winter is a comin! Sooo I need new tires (rear wheel drive is fun until you have to drive in a straight line) for ski season. I live in the front range of Colorado and plan to drive about 15k miles this winter with a big trip up to Banff/Revelstoke for several weeks, a Montana trip, Wyoming, Utah, okay you get the picture LOTS OF STOKE CHASING, gas burning, coffee drinking road trips are in my near future. *Insert snow dance here*

    So, originally I was planning to go with your idea and buy K02’s with chains for when I have to hit the ‘oh sh*t’ button. Annddd then I read the post from Lifeakimbo that you have a link to in this page.. So in your opinion should I stick with the K02 idea with chains or go with studs and no chains?

    Your opinion is much appreciated!

    • Hi!

      We got the KO2 because we’re travelling full time and we didn’t want having to swap the tires for winter/summer during our trip. If we were weekend warriors (with a house as a home base), we would probably install studded winter tires during winter, then swap for A/T tire during summer. It’s probably the best thing to do!

      Hope that helps!

  14. Bonjour,
    Pourquoi avez-vous choisi LT225/75/R16E?
    Ford me dit que le Transit 250 est offset de 4% avec ctte taille et peut endommager les suspensions.

    Ils recommendent LT215/70/R16C

    • Des pneus plus gros donne une meilleure traction et un plus grand dégagement avec le sol (pour le hors-route).
      En effet, nous avons observé que l’odomètre est environ 4% offset, mais ça ne nous dérange pas vraiment…
      Pour la suspension, j’en doute. Plusieurs personnes installent même des LT245 (et même 265). Évidemment le concessionnaire Ford ne vous conseillera pas autre chose que ce qui est “standard”.

      Voilà!
      Au plaisir, antoine

  15. Hi do you have any troubles with rubbing on any part of the vehicle, with the tyres. And did you have to have any modifications to fit them

  16. We JUST got our van on Friday and I asked about bigger tires but we were so excited, my wife and I both forgot to follow up before driving off…
    Did Ford do the tire swap or did you have to do it elsewhere? Were you able to exchange or did you have to sell the tires?
    Thanks for a great blog.

    • Ford did it before we took possession of the van, but didn’t exchange them (we had to pay for tire install). We then sold the old tires on Craiglist (as new tires since they have no mileage on them).
      Good day!

  17. Awesome! I want this for our transit van that we just got at the beginning of the year. We got this van because we are a family of 7! 5kids! This van is awesome!

  18. Are the tire chains in your link (KONIG 12mm XG12 Pro Deluxe SUV/Crossover Snow Chain, Size 245) the correct size (245s) for the BF Goodrich (LT245/75/R16E) that you purchased?

    I have studded ice tires on my Fiesta ST for winter fun – virtually like on rails – I couldn’t be happier!!! The BF G T/A’s are certainly top choice for my van. Another blogger said he lost about 1 mpg with the T/A”s from his stock tires on his van.

    • We installed them from the very beginning, so we can’t tell. That being said, i’m sure badass AT tires reduce the MPG…
      With the conversion 95% finished, high-roof, extended-length, 4.10 Transmission ratio, 3.7 engine, our MPG is at about 15.

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