The Toyota Tacoma is an excellent truck for adventure seekers. It comes with a powerful V6 engine and remarkable ground clearance. But, for some, it might not be enough. So, more and more, people are tempted to install bigger tires. In this article, we’ll discuss whether you can fit 35-inch tires on a lifted Toyota Tacoma. Let’s find out.
Can you fit 35s on a 3-inch lift Tacoma?
You can fit 35-inch tires on a 3-inch lifted Toyota Tacoma with additional modifications. Since the tires are so massive, rubbing will occur. Whenever you’re installing bigger aftermarket rubber, chances are high you will run into friction between the tire and the body. The Toyota Tacoma is no exception. In fact, from stock, you can only fit slightly bigger options.
The Toyota Tacoma comes with three available wheel and tire options. These are 16″, 17″, and 18″ wheels, with their respective tire sizes, which are 30.6″, 31.6″, and 32″ approximately. Realistically, the biggest tires you can fit on a stock Tacoma will be 32″.
So, does this mean that you cannot fit 35-inch tires on a Toyota Tacoma? Well, not on a stock version. Indeed, a 3-inch lift will do. But, this isn’t the only modification that you must go through to ensure the appropriate clearance.
Fitting 35-inch tires is a big step. To ensure the best installation, it’s highly likely that you will have to extensively modify your Tacoma. This means not only permanent changes to the vehicle but also a bigger budget.
The first modification people think about is a lift kit. And, it’s necessary. So, let’s find out how a 3-inch suspension lift kit allows you to fit bigger tires on a Toyota Tacoma.
A 3-inch lift kit helps you fit bigger tires on your Tacoma
As we’ve seen, there aren’t a lot of tires that you can fit on a stock Toyota Tacoma. So, a suspension lift kit is a great step in the right direction. But, it’s not the only one.
A lift kit increases the clearance between the vehicle and the ground. It does so by adding inches to the suspension components, either using longer shocks and springs or installing spacers between the body and the control arms.
Ideally, the best suspension lift kit for this job would be a 3-inch kit (or more). While you might fit bigger tires with a 2-inch option, the more space, the better.
But, as we’ve said before, 35-inch tires are beefy. So, it’s highly likely that you will run into rubbing. This happens when the tire is too big and comes into contact with the vehicle’s body.
So, don’t be surprised to run into some contact after installing 35-inch tires on a 3-inch lift. Also, keep in mind that these upgrades increase the weight. Because of their mass, these tires increase the load considerably. Suspension components like shocks and springs could wear out faster.
In fact, the Toyota Tacoma suspension has earned a reputation for bending under heavy load. So, there are plenty of Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) that make spindle gussets that act as reinforcement in trouble areas.
Installing these supports might require welding and grinding. But they’re an excellent addition.
And, the cutting, welding, and grinding doesn’t stop there.
You might need other modifications to fit 35-inch tires.
The Toyota Tacoma, and any other truck for that matter, is designed to fit a specific tire size. So, there are elements like the cabin mounts that might contact any bigger rubber pieces that you install.
Cabin mounts are precisely that, supports in which the cabin rests. Some parts of this support stick out, and it’s common to cut these.
The best way to know where and how much to cut is to have a professional do the job. This involves power tools, cutting, welding, and grinding. So, it’s not the most straightforward task out there. It consists of cutting a piece of the support and welding a cover to reinforce the chopped part.
After cutting up the mount, some people bend the pinch weld. These consist of cutting slits into the pinch weld several times so that you can flatten any areas that come into contact with the tire.
It’s important to note that you risk exposing it to the elements whenever you’re cutting into the frame. Therefore, the chances of rust increase, especially in winter climates.
To prevent this, you can spray protective paint over the cuts and welds. If you don’t feel up to the task, you can always take it to a professional job for cutting and welding.
But, there are other modifications that you might want to consider for bigger tires.
Bumpers and fender flares might need trimming too.
Even if you go up one size with the Toyota Tacoma, one of the first intrusions you will find is the bumper. That’s why you see so many aftermarket bumpers for these vehicles. If you don’t want to spend the money on a new one or feel creative, you can always cut.
Cutting bumpers involves taking off of the front and the sides so that the bumper’s lip doesn’t come in contact with the tire. But this goes hand in hand with more prominent fenders as well.
It’s common for people to cut off the fenders. This creates a bigger arch that is less likely to come in contact with the tires. For better looks and a high-quality overall finish, you can install flares to cover the newly cut area.
So, all of this might seem like a lot of work. And, it is. Fitting 35-inch tires isn’t for everybody, so it raises the question. Are these tires worth it? The following section will cover some of the pros and cons of fitting them.
The pros and cons of 35-inch tires
This article has shown you that fitting 35-inch tires on a Toyota Tacoma with a 3-inch lift kit isn’t that easy. But, it’s possible. So, why do all the work? Here are some of the pros and cons of this process.
- More surface area: 35-inch tires are big. The width and diameter increase considerably. This means more surface area for your Tacoma to grab onto the most challenging terrains.
- More ground clearance: These tires have a big diameter, which translates to a taller ride. Even if your car has a lift, you will surely have more inches of space between your Tacoma and the ground.
- More durability: 35-inch tires are usually very thick. The last thing you want when you’re offroading is to have a massive puncture. Thanks to their increased thickness, these tires can be more resistant.
- Improved looks: nothing beats the look these tires give your ride. They’re massive, imposing, and functional. It’s almost the perfect combo.
- Increased weight means more wear: since they’re actually cumbersome, these tires put more stress on components like the transmission and brakes.
- Less power: the Toyota Tacoma doesn’t have an excellent gear ratio. So, the moment you fit bigger tires, the engine will work harder to move the additional weight and diameter.
- Less MPGs: more weight and less power equal to less fuel economy. Some users have reported an average of 14 mpg when a stock Tacoma could provide 21 mpg.
- Expensive installation: with the kits, cutting, grinding, and welding, the price for installing these tires might be too much for some.
- Permanent modifications: most of the workaround fitting these tires requires permanent changes to your car. If they’re not done right, there’s no going back.
The Toyota Tacoma is an excellent pickup for adventure seekers. But many ask themselves if they can fit bigger tires, going as big as 35 inches.
Unfortunately, stock Tacomas have very little room for modifications, especially in the tire department. You can fit 32-inch tires with no rubbing, but not much more.
So, if you’re going for the massive 35-inch tires, you might have to go through several modifications. The first, and most important, is a suspension lift kit, to give you plenty of room. After this, you might have to go through cutting several parts such as the cabin mount, fenders, and bumpers.
Big tires will indeed affect performance. Fuel economy decreases, and strain on the transmission increases. But, you’ll have more traction and improved looks.
Fitting 35-inch tires is a big step. The end result is impressive, but it requires a lot of work and money. So, it’s not for everyone. Hopefully, this article gives you the tips you need to go ahead with this significant makeover.