LT vs P Tires + Recommendations for 97 Suburban

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Apr 15, 2017
Napa, CA.
1997 Suburban K1500. Needs new tires all the way around. I still have stock wheels.

First things first, I'm trying to decide between a LT and P type tire.

I'm under the impression that P tires ride smoother but LT tires are better for towing - is that correct? In that case, if the only downsize to LT tires is a slight decrease in ride quality I'll go for LT.

Next up, it looks like the K1500 pickups came with 265 75 16 tires vs the 245 75 16 tires Suburbans came with. Any reason against using the slightly large tire size?

Looks like these are the cheapest LT tires on Tirerack for this size. Any feedback on those?

If I go for a P tire I'm going to go with Firestone Destination LE2 as I've had them before and they're great!
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LT that have a higher load rating will certainly help you when towing heavy loads. Just make sure you air them up accordingly, which does not mean to sidewall max but at some point between your door jamb PSI for p rated tires and the lt rated sidewall max.
LT tires have a higher safety margin for truck use and when you haul or tow anything. The ride quality on a good brand LT tire is barely indistinguishable from a P tire. You see it a lot, someone ends up with P tires on a truck, forgets about it, and then one day hauls a load of firewood or decides to tow a buddy's trailer and blammo! the sidewall lets go because the tire can't handle the heat. If all your going to do is use the 'burb as a people mover, the P will be OK..but the LT will be better. What does the door decal say it came with originally?

As far as the size goes, it will throw your speedometer and the speed feed to the transmission computer off slightly. The wider tire may hydroplane a bit easier but not likely noticeable.
I just went the other way. I went to P tires for my F-150. The LT (General) ride was/is to harsh for any back road travel with my wife.

I had to drop the pressures to the low 20's to get any ride quality, and then air back up before pavement. I don't like doing that as it leads to rock cuts on the sidewalls ...

It all depends on how much load you will be putting on them? My new tires are similar to your question. They are P tires and good for 2230# each at 44 PSI. At 30 PSI they ride very nice. As long as the wear is even and correct, you are at the right inflation. You need to adjust that by keeping an eye out...

I went with Kenda Klevers in 265/70 from Simple Tire. Kenda's have been awesome in off-road work with the motorcycles. Well known in the desert race crowd, etc. Another Kenda (Kinetica) was the ONLY tire I ever had that required ZERO weights for balance on two installs. If you follow their weight or force mounting instructions, they will be close.

How much tongue weight? How much internal vehicle load?

The door sticker is a good indicator of inflation. It's a safe number. But it's not the only number that will work. As you plus the tire size, you may need to adjust accordingly ... Plus tires with slightly lower pressure, same effective tread pressure, may be a big improvement in ride quality
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Yeah, like PiperOne says, you can't really go wrong with the tire size and rating that's printed on the door jamb. If it doesn't need LT tires, you can choose to get them if your use case warrants it.

Larger OD tires will affect your speedometer. Larger tires and LT tires will be heavier than passenger tires as well, affecting acceleration/gas mileage.
The 265/75-16 tires on the K1500s were an option, and weren't standard across the board. They were probably only on the Z71 trucks. I'd stick with the stock 245/75-15 size, especially since you're moving to snow country, you'll need narrower tires.

I had a 96' C1500 Silverado and I put LT tires on it, it rode fine. But since you'll be towing with a tow dolly, you probably won't have that much tongue weight, LT tires probably aren't necessary, but you could go either way.
I would probably go with the LT tire if it was me. Tire size is preference also, the 265/75R16s would probably work fine, I did that on my 2002 2500 Suburban. Speedometer went from showing me going faster than I really was to be slightly the other way, now when it shows 60, I'm going 61 vs. 58.

I like the stiffer sidewalls, even if it means degradation in ride quality. I like the better control, especially when loaded heavy. I have no experience with the tires you are looking at.
I have a 97 k1500 z71 and I run Cooper AT3 265/75R16 P rated tires. The load rating on the tires exceeds the tow rating of the vehicle. No need for LT tires in my case. My tires ride good, low noise and great traction and were cheaper than LT tires. I keep them aired up to max psi on sidewall.
Another factor that frequently is overlooked or people simply aren't aware of, is that a P-rated tire's load rating is reduced by a factor of 1.1, when they are mounted on a truck or SUV.

That means that as in an example given above, a P-rated tire that states it can carry "2230 lbs @ 44 psi" it's load rating is reduced to 2027 lbs @ 44 psi.
Don’t know what you are towing but I have never seen an LT ride like P metric …
Lots of my family have been back and forth buying LT for half tons … I did it twice …
SUV or truck … all about what you want … but they are coming from the factory for the ride …
Going from 245s to 265s is less than 4%. At 55 indicated you'll be going 57 if your speedo was true. As noted most speedos read fast. Every truck that I've upsized one size puts the speedo very close to dead on. There's really no downside to the larger tires if you want them. IMO the slightly larger tires look better.

On the '16 Silverado I went from the 255 street tread OEMs to 265 ATs and can measure no difference in mileage and I calculate every tank.
In a big heavy vehicle like a suburban the difference between a P and an LT tire can be a big thing. Fast lane changes in a Suburban with LT tires can be a non issue. The same fast lane change with P tires can be much different. My dad went from LT to P tires on his Suburban and the sidewall flex when doing quick maneuvers was a bit unsettling at highway speeds to say the least.
All I know is on some vehicles such as a Suburban, swaying in the rear can be a big issue with the deep tread of aftermarket LT tires. I checked the tread depth on OE LT tires on new 3/4 truck sitting on the lot, and the tread depth was 3/32's less than most aftermarket tires. They will get better when worn down, but P-metric would be my choice for many reasons including the extra $$$.
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check the specs for your size + figure your weight you haul + or tow. using a bigger + heavier tyre-wheel combo hurts MPG's + performance + can wear suspension parts faster!! keeping the OD of your setup close to OE insures speedometer closeness, use 4 of the same OD of course that fit the wheel specs correctly.
I had a similar dilemma with my F150 and choose to split the difference with XL rated tires. I have been down that road with LT tires and the ride is to harsh for DD IMO.
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