Tire Recommendations for Vanagon

GoWesty currently offers two different model tires for the Vanagon application:

1)    Michelin Defender (supercedes the HydroEdge)
2)    BFG All Terrain KO

The Michelin Defender is the manufacturer's premiere "all season" tire, designed to handle dry, wet, wintry conditions (even light snow). It features a technologically-advanced traction system to evacuate water and enhance resistance to hydroplaning. The tread wear rating is amazing (820!) and the driveability is simply off the charts. This is the most "street" tire we offer, but it still handles surprisingly well off-road. We carry both the 215/65-15 and the 215/60-16 for the Vanagon.

The other tire we offer is the BFG A/T KO,  available in either 215/70-16 or 225/70-16, depending on gearing and engine size. The BFG is the most aggressive tire we offer, and probably the best all-around on/off-road tire available today. It is a bit noisy on pavement, however (that's the trade-off for supreme off-road ability).

On a scale from -10 to +10, here is how we would rate these tires for on-road handling, fuel economy, tire life, and lack of noise:

215/60-16 Defender:    10
215/65-15 Defender:    9.5
215/70-16 BFG:    8.5
225/70-16 BFG:    8.5
185/80-14 ANY:    -20

On a scale from -10 to +10, for pure OFF-ROAD traction and performance, we would put them like this:

225/70-16 BFG:    10
215/70-16 BFG:    9.5
215/65-15 Defender:    6
215/60-16 Defender:    5
185/80-14 ANY:    -20

So, with regard to on-road handling, the disparity between the tires is not as great as the disparity when it comes to off-road traction and performance. The main draw back with the BFG is road noise and fuel economy; they tend to be noisy—especially under 50MPH—and are not as fuel efficient as the smoother tread tires.

The Defender will outlast either the BFG by around 2:1. The Defender is the most smooth, and most fuel efficient.

Hopefully, this analysis helps when choosing a tire.

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