275 vs 285 Tires (The Differences)

Last Updated September 9, 2022

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It can be exciting when it comes time to buy new tires. It gives us the opportunity to change the look of our ride. It also gives us an opportunity to improve the performance of our ride and unlock some new potential. If you are driving a bigger vehicle such as a pickup truck, you might be looking at 275 or 285 tires, but which is better?

275 vs 285 Tires

Are 275 Tires Better than 285 Tires?

Technically, the answer is both. They are both better in a different way, it really depends on what you want to get out of your tires. 275 tires are cheaper, better for highway use, and are lighter. The 285 tires are on the other hand more heavy-duty, they have deeper treads, and they look, killer.

What Are the Advantages of the 275 Tires?

  • Better on the highway
  • Better towing
  • Good for everyday use
  • Cheaper

Better on highways

Due to the overall size and the shallower tread depth, the 275s are much better for highway driving. Because the diameter of the tire is smaller, the vehicle’s engine doesn’t have to work as hard, which improves fuel economy.

Because of the shallower tread depth, the ride will also be a lot quieter when driving on normal road surfaces. Additionally, because the tires are smaller and the sidewall is not as stiff, they will not feel as hard, providing a smoother ride.

Furthermore, acceleration and top speed will be higher with the 275s compared to the 285s. Not a big deal when off-roading but definitely a factor when you need to step on the gas and quickly pass that semi-truck.

Better towing

Depending on what kind of vehicle you have, you might have a harder time towing with larger tires. With most modern vehicles having smaller engines, smaller tires are better because the engines are high-power range engines.

Basically, the engine needs to be running at high RMP to really get the power down. With a smaller diameter tire, you are able to deliver the power from the engine to the road quicker than you can with larger tires. If you are having power issues, especially with towing, you might want to think about getting 275s instead of 285s.

Good for everyday use

Once again, the 275s are great for everyday use. They get good mileage, they are far less noisy, and the ride is much more comfortable. With all these things they can still be used as off-road tires. Yes, you do not have to get 285s to go off-roading. They might not be as good as 285 for your off-roading adventures but they give you the best of both worlds.

Cheaper

The math on this is quite simple, they are smaller, which means less rubber, which also means cheaper! Along with being cheaper, the 275s are also more popular, which gives you more options.

After doing some searching on Goodyear’s website, I found that the price for a good 275 tire was between $250 to $380 per tire. Whereas the 285 tires were $350 to $410. Additionally, I had many more choices and looks for the 275s in my area than I did for the 285s.

 

What Are the Advantages of the 285 Tires?

  • Heavy-duty – Thicker sidewalls
  • Deeper tread
  • Better looking
  • Great for off-roading

Heavy duty

These bad boys are heavy-duty for sure! They can take more weight and a lot more punishment. They might not be too fun to drive on the highway going 80 mph but they sure are fun climbing the rocks at Moab.

The 285s extra strength is largely thanks to their thicker sidewall. The sidewall provides a higher load capacity in addition to providing tire stability when going off-road. The tire is less vulnerable to flexing a warping.

Furthermore, the thicker sidewall helps prevent punctures, yet another advantage to off-roaders. As mentioned above, however, the thicker sidewall does give a rougher ride due to the lack of flexibility.

Deeper tread

Because the tire has a larger diameter, the manufacturers have more room to play with. This means that a lot of 285s will have deeper treads, giving you all the more grip in off-road conditions. The deeper the tread the better the tire can bite into the sand or mud without sinking in.

Better looking

Though aesthetics are subjective, many do agree that the bigger 285s look much better. There are two reasons for this. Firstly, they fill out the wheel well quite nicely. The wheel isn’t lost in this big open space which might look silly, especially on a lifted or bigger truck.

Secondly, because manufacturers have more rubber to play with, the treads can be more aggressive and intricate. Not only does this provide better traction in off-road conditions, but it also looks amazing.

Great for off-roading

All of the previously mentioned advantages all lead you to this one, the 285 tires are much better at off-roading. Whether it is mud, sand, or rocks, these tires are built to get you through it or over it. In addition to grip, they critically give you a higher ride height, allowing you to go anywhere you want without scraping your ride’s underbelly.

 

Potential issues to look out for

Whether you are upgrading from 275 tires to 285 tires or from stock to 275 or 285, you will want to keep two main issues in mind that might make you think twice. Those two issues are rubbing and gear ratio problems. Both of these issues can be overcome and you might not even need a lift kit, keep reading to find out how!

Rubbing

Rubbing occurs when you turn the wheel and the tire touches the mud flaps, wheel well housing, or sometimes it can rub on components such as the upper control arm. A good set of rims with the proper off-set will fix most of your rubbing issues however you might also need a lift kit.

You don’t have to go all out when it comes to lift kit however, simply changing the lower shock collar in order to adjust the preload on the spring should give you enough clearance without needing to perform a spacer life and needing to get new shocks.

Additionally, you would only have to perform a lift on the front because the back wheels do not turn, thus no rubbing back there. Just make sure your backspacing is good and remember this information might not apply to all vehicles.

Gear Ratio

Gear Ratio is the most common issue people face when they install larger tires on their vehicles. Gear ratio is the number that represents the number of times your driveshaft turns to the number of times your axle or wheels turn.

In most cases, a vehicle’s gear ratio is between 3.55 and 4.10. for simplicities sake, let’s say the gear ratio of a given vehicle is 4.00. This means that for every 4 times the drive shaft turns, the wheels turn once. This number is calculated by the manufacturer to give you the right amount of power without straining your engine and potentially damaging your gearbox.

When you put larger tires on without adjusting your gear ratio, your engine has to work harder because it is trying to deliver the same amount of wheel RPM but with a lot more wheel. You are giving the engine and transmission a heavier workload without giving it the right equipment.

When you re-gear your vehicle you ensure that the engine has enough leverage to do the work. No longer will you struggle to accelerate or tow with your new bigger tires.

Conclusion

Essentially both tires have pros and cons and it is up to you to choose which one is better for you. The 275 tires are the better city tire. Fuel economy is superior, ride comfortability is improved, and with the 275 being more popular you have more choices at lower prices.

If you want some sweet-looking boots for your weekend off-roader then the 285 tires are probably going to be your best bet. They are heavy duty which means they can haul more and get fewer punctures, they have more grip in mud, sand, and rocks, making the 285 an all-around better tire for off-roading. Additionally, if you want to make your weekend worrier look even better you can get the 285 tires with mugging treads.

Just keep in mind that if you are increasing the size of your tire, you should first check for rubbing. Secondly, you will want to make sure that your vehicle is not suffering due to a bad gear ratio. It is important that your gear ratio is at or close to manufacturer specifications because you could be damaging your transmission.

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