When it comes time to buy new Willys Jeep tires there are a few pieces of advice to follow to ensure you get the best tires for the job while maintaining the look of your Jeep.
Should You Buy NDT Tires?
There is some debate about whether jeepers should stick with the classic military NDT Willys Jeep tires or opt for something more modern. To be accurate, the original Willys Jeeps did not use NDT tires. Although many jeepers believe they did, NDT didn’t come into common use until the 1950s. However everyone associates the look of those tires with Jeeps so most Willys owners want to use them.
The main drawback to NDT Willys Jeep tires is that they don’t handle as well as modern tires. Many Jeep owners find they perform poorly off road although others think they work just fine. A larger problem is that NDT tires can be downright dangerous on wet or icy pavement.
Your decision will be based on what you use your Jeep for. If your vehicle is more of a showpiece and doesn’t see a lot of rugged driving, then NDT tires are the way to go. If you drive off-road then you may have to try mounting NDTs and see how they perform.
If you are set on NDTs then you can get increased traction by taking them to a tire shop and having them siped. The shop will cut dozens of tiny cuts in the tread to give the tire more flexibility and surface area for gripping the road.
Correct Tire Inflation
Finding the proper inflation for your Willys Jeep tires is harder than you might think. Unfortunately a lot of drivers are riding around on tires with the wrong pressure and suffering uneven tire wear and poor traction.
The right pressure is probably not the pressure in your Jeep manual. That pressure is only right if you are running a completely stock vehicle on normal surface streets. Optimal pressure will change if you’ve customized your Jeep in ways such as adding heavy accessories like winches, or if you are using non-stock tires.
The best pressure for your tires is the pressure that has the edge of the tread and the center of the tread contacting the ground with equal force. To find the perfect inflation, squirt a chalk line refill onto the tread of your tires. You don’t have to do all four but should do one in the front and one in the back. Create a band a couple of inches across that covered the tread from edge to edge.
Drive slowly down the road for a while then get out and see where the chalk is wearing off the tire. If it’s wearing off the edge you are underinflated. Center wear means you are overinflated. Adjust the pressure and try again until you get even wear across the chalk band.