Sahara tires not ideal for snow

The_Phew

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I have no plans to crawl around on rocks (new Wranglers are way too expensive to risk in that way, IMHO), but I wanted a midsized manual transmission vehicle with 4 driven wheels for winter and light towing (5x8 utility trailer), and the Wrangler fits the bill. I don't particularly need a truck bed, and I wasn't too impressed with the 6MT Tacoma...that doesn't leave much else except the Wrangler (maybe upcoming Bronco/Ranger if they offer 6MT).

Because I don't intend to rock crawl, the Sahara trim seemed perfect, especially since it's available with Selec-Trac (i.e. Auto 4WD) and a mechanical LSD-both features that should improve winter traction/driveability immensely. HOWEVER, the JL Sahara has several configuration idiosyncrasies that make it a sub-par choice for winter driving:
-None of the three OEM tire choices on the Sahara have the Severe Service (snowflake on mountain) emblem, so they aren't very good for snow/ice
-The LSD requires selecting the upgraded wheels at additional cost, and switching to Severe Service tires myself (I'd probably pick Nokian Rotiiva AT Plus) would be nearly an additional $1k, so after those expenditures, overall cost is in Rubicon territory (which comes with Severe Service-rated KO2s)

I've learned that tires are everything when it comes to winter traction, so I believe that a Rubicon on KO2s would perform better than a Sahara on any of its OEM tire choices, even with LSD+Auto 4WD. I don't mind manually switching to 4High when necessary, but I really dislike open differentials in general. I don't foresee any usage scenario where I would find the locking differentials on the Rubicon to be necessary.

TL:DR-I wish the Sahara offered Severe Service-rated tires, at least when equipped with Selec-Trac and/or the LSD. I also don't like paying for the upgraded wheels just because I want an LSD.

EDIT-Seems like I would be satisfied with one of the inevitable special models, like the JK Arctic Edition which put Rubicon tires on a Sahara (among other cosmetic changes).





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RonH

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Or, you could just swap out the new tires for KO2's as soon as you take possession. I just put a set on my truck, and they are wonderful tires! Now, I'm ordering a Rubicon and plan on having it offroad quite a bit, so I'm taking the original wheels and KO2's off (probably in the dealer parking lot...lol) and putting on General Grabber X3's. Better tires offroad, but the KO2's are better in the snow. I'll sell the wheels and tires immediately and should get quite a bit out of 'em...especially since they'll be essentially brand new. You could do the same with your Sahara wheels and tires. Just an idea...
 
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The_Phew

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Yeah, I like the Rubicon wheels much better anyway, so selling or trading the upgraded Sahara wheels/tires in exchange for Rubicon wheels with KO2s probably wouldn't cost me much.

Looking at the JK, the special editions didn't really start showing up in the U.S. until year 4, so that might not be a viable option for me (I'm probably going to order a 2019 to get the 3.6 w/ BSG).
 

Schmeegz

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They said the upgraded wheels (extra $1200) was a glitch in the configurator, and that you aren’t required to purchase it with the LSD.
 

Covfefe

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I plan on swapping out for ko2's right away. The Rubicon is just plain overkill for snow. Look at some of the insane blizzards subaru's can get through with just AWD and less ground clearance.
 
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The_Phew

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They said the upgraded wheels (extra $1200) was a glitch in the configurator, and that you aren’t required to purchase it with the LSD.
That's great news! The upgraded wheels for both the Rubicon and Sahara don't look like much of an 'upgrade' to me. It's worth it on the Sport S though.

I plan on swapping out for ko2's right away. The Rubicon is just plain overkill for snow. Look at some of the insane blizzards subaru's can get through with just AWD and less ground clearance.
I wouldn't even say "overkill", I'd say just inferior (ignoring the tire issue for now). Selectrac (Auto-4WD) may or may not be beneficial depending on your awareness/reaction speed for switching to 4H manually, but open diffs are downright dangerous on ice. Having the ECU 'surprise' you by applying the brakes and/or cutting engine power when you are trying to merge on an icy road is a recipe for disaster. Mechanical LSDs just behave more predictably in that situation.
 

Holymoly1963

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I'm ordering a 2 door Sport S and have researched the 3 available tires 245-75-17. I would really like the KO2's but they are not listed. The Michelin all seasons are actually rated higher than either of the All Terrains... the Bridgestone's or the Goodyear's. Tireack ratings. How might I get the KO2's short of buying them after the Jeep arrives. I'm not interested in spending another grand. Thanks
 

Vedder

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As with all my vehicles.. I just type a set off high performing winter tires on.
 

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