... What is the advantage to going wider without going taller? Does the 10-20% increase in width make a bigger difference than the 6% increase in diameter? ...
Makes a HUGE difference offroad. Wider tread is the difference between staying on top of or sinking in sand or mud. Every little bit of extra tread helps grab more dirt for better traction. It's the difference between needing to air down the tires to 10-psi for better traction or not. Wider tires help on jagged rocks by providing a wider surface that doesn't slip off as easily. Not to mention that the tread patterns on wider tires are usually bigger and deeper for better grip.
275's would've slipped on these rocks and there's no way I would've driven on this terrain on OEM width tires or a 285 because it'd be too risky to miss or slip and have the rocks damage an LCA or the undercarriage. On this first pic, driving over those rocks was the smoothest path available and it was very narrow so steering around them wasn't an option, any other path on that ridge would've teeter-tottered the undercarriage.
- Bob 2005 Armada LE 4x4
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I can see the issue in sand or mud, neither an issue for me. The extra two inches of a 35", or a 37" or bigger on a different chassis, would have climbed over rocks and trail inperfections more easily though.