Question about 2001 Dodge Caravan

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Bigger Tires on a Caravan

I have a 2001 Dodge Caravan SE 2.4L 4Cyl. I travel a lot and the tires I have now are getting worn. They heat up and explode from road heat. I know my van isnt a jeep but Id like to know if I could fit slightly bigger meatier tires on my van, so that the tread will last longer. I also do a lot of moves and transporting. Will I have to get a lift kit to add bigger tires?

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  • 3 more comments 
  • John McCallum
    John McCallum Sep 05, 2009

    Wow thanks. I run p215 75 R15 tires now. they arent worn completly Id say they have like 70% life in them. It is about time for new tires though. The tires are only a year old but the front passenger has a plug in it. The rear passenger was replaced and it is a different brand , the rear drivers side has a chunk missing from the side wall, the front driver has nothing wrong with it. I dont carry hundreds of pound loads but I do put boxes and furniture in there occassionally. When I travel long distance like 400-600 mile trips my tires get extremly hot and they explode. Thats why I was asking about a more meatier tire or maybe a bigger tire.
    So your saying I should switch to a heavy duty tire?
    I have another question as well. I know the R15 part means 15 inch tires but the first part of the sizing p215 what does that represent.
    For example I see jeep with 15" tire but they have meat on them, what sizes would those be?

  • John McCallum
    John McCallum Sep 06, 2009

    thats awesome thanks so much for the information. Since winter is coming I was actually thinking about getting a new set of tires. I was thinking I would get a set of light truck tires a stronger tire. However I have another question.
    In the winter, the more tread you have the better, the more rubber and traction you have on the road the better the ride control. I was wondering if I could stick with 215 and stay at 15" but get a wider tire.
    Or do you think it is best to just stay at 215 70 r15 in light truck tires?
    I know it is a minivan but I want more stability and control as well as temperature ratings. I also need the control in the snow because my van never stops running.

  • John McCallum
    John McCallum Sep 06, 2009

    I also like the look of a wider more aggressive looking tire even though it is on a socker mom mini van

  • John McCallum
    John McCallum Sep 06, 2009

    soccer (sorry)

  • John McCallum
    John McCallum Sep 06, 2009

    I found two sets of tires:
    Mastercraft Avenger Touring LSR 215/70R15 98T
    80,000 mile warranty with a SL Ply Rating and a T speed Rating but the Utog is Rated 780-a-a

    Next is:
    Goodyear Assurance Fuel Max 215/70R15 98T
    BSW Sidewall rating
    65,000 Mile warranty
    Utog 620AB

    Which do you think is better in specs and name brands? They are both around $55-$65 each tire.
    Thanks for the help.

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  • Dodge Master
  • 6,982 Answers

A larger tire will turn a bit slower, but it will also throw off your speedometer and engine control system by changing final drive gear ratio. With a smaller engine this is critical because you don't make enough torque to overcome the added roll resistance. I would change to a more "heavy duty" tire (higher load rating) than whatever you are using. They will cost more but will handle the load better. No tire is safe if it is very worn, so don't expect that they will not fail after that happens..
I would also rotate them more frequently...that spreads out the wear a bit.
Regarding your suspension, If carrying loads, you can change over to variable rate rear springs and possibly coil over shocks. this will help with "dragging" the back end.

Posted on Sep 05, 2009

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  • 1 more comment 
  • Richard Scordino Sep 05, 2009

    generally speaking, the size of the tire is pretty much arbitrary. Although ones manufactured by one company as lets say a 215 may stand 30" tall, the same # from someone else may be 30.5 or 29.5 (really important to know if you have a 4x4 as that can cause a transfer case failure) With the advent of ABS, this can also change the way it works because speed sensors on different wheels will be "seeing" different wheel speeds though the car is going at one speed.
    Using tires of varied height can also mess with trans axles and differentials as the unit thinks you are going through a slow turn all the time.
    For you, the first number should remain the same all the way around. The "p" in front of the number means passenger tire. The next two numbers such as 75X15 are first the aspect ratio...without getting into it more it means the difference between the sidewall height as compared to the width. As a rule a 50 is much wider than a 75, but may not stand as tall either. The 15 is just the size of the hole in the center. a 13 fits on a 13" wheel, 16 on a 16" wheel.
    On the sidewall of any tire, you will find a load rating, traction rating, temperature rating and a treadwear rating.Load rating is the most weight the tire can support at 35psi (max inflation) some require higher Psi and are rated as such. Traction rating is how the tire performs as compared to others similar. That is controlled by tread design and the type of compound used to make the tire. This also relates to wear rating in that generally the higher traction rating the harder the compound and the better it will wear (but, some harder compounds will get poorer traction and will be so hard that sidewalls will crack over time.) Temperature rating is just that. It says that the tire design was tested over a pre-determined course at 100+mph for a certain length of time and did not fail.
    In a perfect world the highest wear rating and all "A" ,ratings should give you the best tire.but, there are compromises all over the place.
    By adding LT to the sidewall number you are then dealing with a light truck tire. those may have a different carcass construction...such as more than a two ply sidewall and possibly more or better tread belting. (therefore stronger)
    The more research you do on this, the more you will learn and it can get confusing.
    I would pick a decent name brand light truck tire with at least a 400 or better tread wear rating, and the highest possible temperature and traction rating. I would not go beyond a 70,(60's will feel better but will wear on edges faster) and would definitely stay with the oem first number. The size of the hole is a given.If you don't get what you are looking for and you still have problems, switch to the same ratings only a different manufacturer. Only problem I've always had is as soon as I find one that works, they discontinue it and I need to start all over again!!!


  • Richard Scordino Sep 06, 2009

    Don't go wider than a 70...don't forget, the snow has to go somewhere...too wide and it will pack up under the tire instead of going around it.. The side lugs mean a lot in snow... get something with a tread design like a goodyear wrangler...I find these to work well even with vehicles that are light in the back end.
    Care to rate this answer? I wrote more than if I needed to tell you how to build an engine!!
    good luck!


  • Richard Scordino Sep 06, 2009

    Mastercraft is a cooper tire. I like the galcier grip tread pattern but don't see specs I'm looking for (perhaps I'm just tired)...goodyear as I said I prefer the "wrangler r/t tread design (but it may be discontinued...last time I looked though I was looking for 225's) I had one set of coopers and they didn't seem to last as long as the goodyears do. Side-lugs I mentioned are different between the two tires...they make a big difference in snow (lugs are where sidewall meet tread)
    The tires you mentioned are pretty much passenger car tires and that may leave you with two ply sidewalls which may defeat what you are trying to do here. The wranglers are two ply but I take it easy off road, and on road I don't have tire heating issues.
    You do and that needs to be considered. You don't want or need a truck tire but a good light truck tire will work well.


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