Why the BFG KO2 Is the Ultimate Sprinter Van Tire
If you’ve done any off-roading or overlanding, you know the BFG KO2. BFGoodrich first debuted to classic Radial All-Terrain T/A over 40 years ago. The latest iteration of the KO2 released in 2015. Tens of millions of these tires have been sold and used on nearly every drivable trail in the United States. We have run these tires on 2WD Sprinters, 4X4 Sprinters, Land Cruisers, Jeeps, GX460s, GX470s, 4Runners, and Tacomas. That's every popular off-road rig that you’ll find in the mountain West.
What we love about this tire is:
- Availability in E load rating
- Low on-road noise
- Puncture resistance
- Great off-road and wet condition traction
Airing down a 2WD van got us out of 24” of snow that fell at the trailhead we camped at during the Snowpocalypse last year. We made it to Loveland in time to enjoy first tracks. After thousands of miles of use, we can say that these tires have met and exceeded our expectations. You can read a great detailed long-term review at https://www.off-road.com/blog/products/bfgoodrich-all-terrain-t-a-ko2-long-term-review/.
Choosing a Tire Size
This can be a difficult decision to make for many. While we love the look of 35-inch tires, it’s not possible to fit a large tire size without major modification. Some considerations to make are:
- Will the tire fit in the stock spare location? We recommend that your spare tire be the same size as the other 4. Mercedes has put a ton of technology into the wheel sensors and ABS system in the Sprinter vans. A mismatch in tire size can create a safety risk. We have found that the 265/75r16 or 265/70r17 are the largest tire that will (b a r e l y) fit in the stock spare location. If you decide to go larger, we recommend purchasing something like this expedition tire carrier from Owl Vans https://owlvans.com/collections/sprinter/products/owl-tire-carrier-for-sprinter-van-2020-revel-2019-sprinter-vs30
- Is the tire going to rub? In our experience, anything larger than 265/75r16 or 265/70r17 will need modification to the fenders. Agile Offroad sells a no-rub fender kit here https://agileoffroad.com/product/agile-no-rub-fender-sprinter-2019/.
- Do you plan on doing any suspension modifications? With a lift, serious cutting of the fenders, and some massaging of the wheel wells, it is possible to fit a 285/75r16 tire. But, this may cause conflict with the adaptive cruise control and other technology in the modern Sprinter. We don’t recommend going this big unless you understand the consequences.
In short, if you want to avoid heavily modifying your vehicle, stick to a 265/75r16 or 265/70r17. This will gain you roughly 1.5 inches over the stock tire size and we’ve found them to be extremely capable off-road. Some users of these sizes have reported rubbing but we’ve rarely seen it.
16” vs 17” Wheels
The Sprinter comes stock with 16” wheels but many people choose to swap them out for something with more style. The good news is, the BFG KO2 is available in both 16” and 17” sizes.
- Classic look
- Greater Sidewall – more cushioning off-road and improved protection.
- If you don’t mind the look of stock wheels, you already have them!
- More modern aesthetic
- Still very off-road capable
- More aftermarket wheel options
The difference in off-road performance of a 16” vs 17” wheel is marginal. But, we do prefer the look and extra cushioning of the 16” wheel. Black Rhino makes a number of great looking 16” wheels that we’re sure you’ll be pleased with https://www.blackrhinowheels.com/16-inch-truck-wheels.php.
The most underrated trick for avoiding (and getting yourself out of) a stuck situation. I’ve used my tire air down tool from Boulder Tools more times than I can count. It’s gotten me out of serious mud and snow and always makes for a more comfortable ride on the washboard roads of Colorado. During the Snowpocalypse last year, we aired down to 18 psi in a 2WD van and were able to push through 24” of fresh powder. Be careful not to air down so low that you compromise the tire and be sure to bring a compressor to air back up. It’s critical to have proper inflation for driving on paved roads. We’ve found that 99% of the time, we don’t need to use traction boards if we air down.
The BFG KO2 is one of the most driven All-Terrain tires of all-time. Millions of user miles driven, and our own personal experience makes this our favorite tire for camper vans. Rugged, great on-road manners, and excellent off-road capability. We’ve seen great longevity, reasonable fuel efficiency, and outstanding winter performance. So far, we have yet to find a reason for disappointment. With so many options for AT tires these days, it’s easy to fall into analysis paralysis. Don’t overthink it. Take our word and go for the BFG KO2 for your van conversion.