For the last 5000+ miles, I have been testing out a new set of Yokohama’s 37 x 12.5 R 17 Geolandar G003 M/Ts. I went through my normal routine of taking notes on several categories we always make sure to cover like install, road noise, overall performance, and other observations. I actually wrote the bulk of this review before pulling up their product description and was impressed to see that I am mostly echoing the features they advertise. So, beyond having a great looking tire under my four door Jeep Wrangler JK, here are some things that stuck out to us….
Mounting & Balancing
For our on-road reviews, we always like to take a moment to cover installation. In the Geolandar’s case, it really was a snap. Since we were using AEV’s Borah wheels, we could mount and run them two ways: traditional and true bead lock. For both methods of install, especially for large diameter tires, seating the bead was no issue at all. When mounted in the traditional configuration (non beadlock), we were pressed for time so no balancing was done. You wouldn’t know it. The tires spun at over 70 mph with no issues at all. Not long after traditional install, we popped the outer bead to mount the bead lock rings. Again, the tires were extremely easy to work with and, even with all the extra material on the wheel (bead lock ring, bolts, and lots of Yokohama rubber), balancing was quick, easy, and required very little weight.
Noise & Comfort
It’s always a roll of the dice with off road tires and road noise; you just never really know what you are getting until they are on your vehicle and cruising over 35 mph. Though the Geolandars aren’t the quietest tire I have tested, they are certainly quiet for the tire type. With such aggressive lugs and a significantly wide tread print on the road, I imagine most people will be pleasantly surprised at the lack of road humming. Speaking of the massive lugs on these tires, another observation was how smooth they rolled. Other similar tires I have tested, especially when brand new, you can feel each lug hitting the pavement at low speeds. That was not the case this time; even their very first roll out under the jeep was nice and smooth.
These were maiden “oversized” tires for a new JK build. This important to keep in mind because the lift that was installed recommended tire pressures ranging 28 to 30 psi. I first started running the tires at 30 psi since it just sounded low to me (in the past I have run the standard 35 psi for light truck tires). On dry pavement, traction was everything I expected. In wet conditions, I noticed I was slipping out a little more than expected when I “pushed” the corner. Special note here, I am testing tires, not just driving normally; taking the exact same corner under normal driving conditions was fine. This led to an ongoing experiment where I theorize this: The G003 are significantly stronger and stiffer at the sidewall which may require lower pressures for on road driving. When parked next to another 4WAAM rig, it was instantly apparent that the Geolandars had much more of a true circle on the pavement compared to the longer “flat” contact patch of the other rig. The other rig was even running a higher air pressure. I dropped my normal running pressure to 28 psi and observed an improvement in on-road traction. A key feature of the Geolandar G003 is Yokohama’s Geo-Shield technology. Unlike some other tire companies, this side wall is NOTICEABLY stronger which might explain why slightly lower pressures are needed to get the most out of on-road traction.
Wrapping it all up
Most of the on-road testing was daily driving on the densely populated roads between DC, Annapolis, and Baltimore. For those that don’t know, that means you are dealing with some of the craziest traffic conditions in the nation where evasion techniques are needed almost daily. I am happy to report that every time I needed traction most, the Geolandars where there to grip, avoid accidents, stomp on obstacles, hop pot holes, and return me to a smooth and comfortable drive.