Do I Need a Lift for 35-inch Tires?

Any off-road enthusiast knows that bigger tires are one of the best bang-for-the-buck upgrades to improve ground clearance and off-road capability. Large tires also make your truck, Jeep, or SUV look more aggressive.

35-inch tires are a popular upgrade size. 35s will get your truck an additional inch of axle clearance over 33-inch tires and provide improved traction while wheeling. Upgrading to 35’s is not always easy. A lift and other modifications may be needed to make them fit properly. Keep reading to learn whether or not you will need a suspension lift to put 35s on your rig!

It’s All About Clearance 

Unsurprisingly, the main challenge that comes with fitting larger tires on a vehicle is clearance. Additional clearance can be obtained through a lift, negative offset wheels, and other suspension/body modifications.

Clearance is needed vertically and horizontally to ensure the tires don’t rub during turns, going over bumps, or driving straight. 

A Lift is Needed in Most Cases

A lift is required on most vehicles to accommodate 35-inch tires. The lift size needed can range from 3.5 to 6 inches. An exception is the new Ford Bronco, which requires no modification to fit 35s. Some trims even come with them from the factory!

The lift your vehicle needs also depends on whether it has an independent front suspension or a solid front axle.

Fender and Wheel Well Clearance

You will likely need to modify the factory fenders and wheel wells to clear larger tires, especially to achieve full suspension compression. To get the optimal clearance you may need to remove plastic wheel arches and trim the fenders with an angle grinder. These modifications are more common on vehicles with independent front suspension.

Upper Control Arms

Running 35s can cause the tires to rub on the upper control arms. There are a few things you can do to fix this problem.

Wheel Spacers

Wheel spacers push your wheels out and can reduce UCA rub. Spacers are a cheap option for addressing UCA rub but have some safety risks. By increasing the offset of your vehicle, you’re putting extra strain on the axle studs, and in some scenarios the ball joints.

Negative Wheel Offset

Running a wheel with a negative offset can accomplish the same thing as wheel spacers. Unfortunately, this option requires buying a new set of wheels which can get very expensive quickly.

Upgraded Upper Control Arms

Upgrading your upper control arms to an aftermarket unit can eliminate clearance issues. Most aftermarket UCA’s designed for off-road use will easily accommodate 35-inch tires.

Crash Bar and Pinch Welds

Safety features like the crash bar can cause clearance issues on modern vehicles and may need to be relocated. The pinch weld in the wheel well can also cause problems. Grinding or hammering it down can help.

Other things to consider

The modifications needed to fit 35-inch tires can be extensive, but it doesn’t always stop at suspension and bodywork.

Differential Gearing

Depending on your vehicle, you may need to consider re-gearing your differential to better accommodate the larger tire size. Otherwise, you may experience sluggish acceleration and poor on-road performance.

Speedometer and Odometer Calibration 

Larger tires will throw off how your speedometer and odometer read, as the tire‘s increased circumference will cover the same distance in fewer rotations. You will need to bring your vehicle to a dealership or shop with the software required to reprogram it.

Get Your Rig Riding on 35s at Scott’s U-Save!

If you want to take the plunge and upgrade your truck, Jeep, or SUV to some 35-inch tires, come visit Scott’s U-Save! Determining what you need to fit larger tires can be difficult, but our suspension and wheel experts will guide you through the entire process and help you achieve the goals you have for your rig. We have locations in Steger and New Lenox, Illinois as well as Schererville, Indiana. Give us a call or schedule an appointment online today!

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Whether you're shopping for tires, looking to lift your truck, or need auto repair, Scott's U-Save is here to serve you! Schedule an appointment online or call today!

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