One of the most important — and costly — investments you’ll ever make in the life of your Jeep is the tires you put under it. The rubber rolling stock not only keeps you firmly planted on the road or trail, but plays a significant role in your breaking distance and fuel economy, too. A quality set of Jeep tires easily can cost between $300 and $400 a tire, sometimes more!
Here, then, are a few tips to get the most miles out of your tires and maximize your safety and that of your passengers.
- Avoid running under- or overinflated tires. While the larger off-road friendly tires Jeepers commonly run are built for lower pressures, you’ll want to keep at least 28 psi in them for daily use on the street.
- Check your tire pressure at least once per month (Don’t forget the spare!)
- Keep an eye on your treadwear indicators (those little ridges between the tread blocks) so you’ll know when it’s time to replace your tires
- Inspect tires for uneven wear, cracks, foreign objects or other signs of tire trauma
- Inspect your tires — and wheels — for damage at the end of each off-road excursion
- Do not overload your Jeep. Make sure you know the maximum recommended load for your vehicle
- If you’re towing a trailer, remember some of the weight of the loaded trailer is transferred to your vehicle
You should plan to rotate your tires at intervals of no more than six months or 8,000 miles. (Personally, I recommend every three months or 5- to 7,500 miles for maximum tread life.) But, should you do a four- or five-tire rotation? Those drivers who are used to a typical passenger car, crossover or SUV might be puzzled by such a question, but utilizing your Jeep’s full-size spare tire distributes the mileage you travel across all five tires, rather than just four. This allows you to significantly lengthen the service life of what easily could be a $1,500 set of tires. The down side, of course, is that you’ll be purchasing all five tires, not just four, when it’s time to replace them. It’s a personal decision, but I’d rather not be in a position of having to trust a spare tire that’s potentially dry-rotted and possibly a full inch larger in diameter than the other tires on the vehicle. (Using a single tire of a different diameter places extra stress on your differential gears.)
Based on my assumptions above, here is the pattern I use to rotate my tires every three months. Keep in mind, it’s important to always follow the same pattern within a set of tires.