Jeepers have a taste to flaunt about whether it is about bigger tires, beefier suspensions, or beadlocks.
Beadlocks are something cool you must have heard if you are a Jeeper, but I bet you will have to learn about what beadlocks are, the pros and cons, and why beadlocks are not street legal. Don’t worry; we are here to share all the information with you as we have researched a lot about their contribution to an off-roader’s life.
But before all that; do you really need beadlocks?
Let’s dig deeper into this article and find the answer to your questions.
What are beadlocks?
Beadlocks are an assembly of tiny nuts and bolts, referred to as beads (as the name suggests) that fixes the tire to the wheel. They protect the dismounting of tires from the wheel assembly when going on higher torque loads and lower tire pressure.
In normal conditions, a Jeeper can drop tire pressure up to 12 to 16 psi while using beadlocks; you can go as low as 5 to 7 psi without dismounting issues.
Originally, beadlocks were manufactured for military purposes. Still, later on, its uses generalized to the off-roaders community for effective performance in sandy, muddy, and rocky trails since it increases the traction and connection patch with the ground offering more friction and stability.
- They prevent air leakage from the tires, and in case of a flat tire, they buy you enough time to reach a safer place for a tire changeover.
- Beadlocks offer stability and integrity against rough terrains and challenging paths.
- Beadlocks have the capability to lower down pressure up to 5 psi, encouraging better traction in skidding areas.
- Increases overall appearance.
- Beadlocks increase the weight of your tires and, ultimately, the overall vehicle; therefore, they are not advisable to use.
- An over-pricey upgrade
- Increased maintenance as you often check for air leaks, balance, dirt, and bolt tightening.
- Car service becomes difficult as well as costly.
- The majority of beadlock rims are illegal due to DOT disapproval.
Why is beadlock illegal?
There has already been quite a discussion going on regarding the legality of beadlocks but simply said they are illegal. Yes, you heard it right.
Besides being the coolest upgrade to your Jeep, they are banned for city commutation. But, to understand why beadlocks are not street legal, you must understand a few baseline theories.
#1 theory: Beadlocks consist of a multi-piece construction that creates numerous failure points. Similar to the construction of split rims and multi-piece streetcar wheels, which are considered legal contrary to beadlocks.
#2 theory: In certain circumstances, one or more than one beadlock bolt built in series could break, causing the beadlock to separate from the wheel.
#3 theory: Due to the sequential beadlock failure, pressure could immediately fall from 5 or 7 psi to 0 psi, leading to a complete burst out, endangering the lives of the passengers and passersby.
Why is the installation of beadlocks not feasible?
Beadlocks consist of 30 high-strength bolts and a nut system that needs to be tightened to clamp the tire with the wheels. When the torque is applied, the bead is set by adhering the tire firmly with the wheel; that means you have to apply the torque to 30 bolts, which means you have to go through each bolt three times to ensure that all of them have equal pressure, i.e., 90 bolts need to be fixed in a star pattern for each wheel. And in a 4×4 Jeep, this number jumps up to 360 passes which is quite a tiring job due to which mechanics usually avoid the installation of beadlocks.
What do regular tires cost against beadlock tires?
Whether you have a Jeep Grand Cherokee, Jeep Wrangler, Rubicon, or Trailhawk, the average cost of tires would range between $220 to $400+. In contrast, beadlock tires would cost you around $400 to over $1200.
Therefore, you have to analyze whether you need beadlocks or want to avoid the hassle of maintenance and save the bank.
DOT approved beadlocks
First thing first, here, DOT stands for the Department of Transportation. Every tire used in the US has a tiny red seal of DOT on it that refers to the validation of the federal agency of transportation issues for all legal tires.
Besides, there is no such thing as DOT-approved beadlocks. Few states in the US allow the usage of beadlocks, while others restrict its practice due to the multi-piece construction. Therefore, there is a high probability that you will get caught if you use the beadlock wheels on public roads and highways.
Beadlocks are in your favor if you do a lot of off-roading; otherwise, using beadlocks on a regular commute would not only break a series of tickets, also you have to deal with severe maintenance drills.
Therefore, if you are still confused after reading this complete guide about whether you need beadlocks, we recommend you not to consider installing it and avoid the hassle as much as possible.