Utility Player: Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac
Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac gets you through the miles to those out of town jobs
By Larry Walton
Over its tenure with a company, a pickup’s job description can change. Such has been the case with one of our tire-testing trucks. In recent months, this lifted Super Duty has been putting on a lot more highway miles to get to and from out of town jobs instead of plying the backroads.
That’s one of the reasons we fitted it with Goodyear’s DuraTrac, which has a less aggressive tread pattern than the mud tire it was replacing.
The Wrangler DuraTrac was designed for versatility with a priority given to on-road performance with a nod to dirt, gravel and mud capabilities.
On-road characteristics are quite good for dry, wet and wintry conditions. In fact, we noticed a marked improvement in wet traction through a wet winter in the Pacific Northwest.
Wet pavement is one challenge a tire faces in rain because of the reduced grip on road surfaces. Lots of biting edges, siping and soft tread compounds help with this. Wet is one thing, but running and standing water where hydroplaning is a serious threat require additional measures in tread design.
A good water-handling tire gives water a place to go in the voids of the tread pattern so the taller tread blocks have an opportunity to touch the road surface.
Goodyear did a good job designing the DuraTracs to handle heavy rain with ease, which is ideal for contractors in areas where driving in the driving rain is an everyday occurrence.
DuraTracs passed the minimum required performance in snow testing to earn the mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewalls so it’s not a surprise they provide good traction on ice and packed snow for a multi-purpose tire.
While big blocks can be counterproductive in these conditions, the high tread-block count and generous siping of the DuraTracs combine to make these tires work well in icy conditions for those transition times of the year when a dedicated snow tire would be overkill.
The tires are also prepped to accept #16 metal studs for dedicated winter driving.
The tread pattern is symmetrical with a distinct angled tread block pattern in the center for improved stability and traction. The pattern also provides a smooth ride, which can really be appreciated at low speeds compared to the vibes we got from the previous mud treads on this truck.
The tread compound was formulated to handle heavy loads for both hauling and towing. The compound also resists tearing and chipping, which is important for lots of use on gravel and rocky off-road situations.
The stepped shoulder blocks have a distinct alternating pattern that helps dirt and mud traction by presenting a different profile on every other block as the tire rotates. Pronounced blocks on the outer portion of the sidewalls enhance the aggressive look of the tire while providing added sidewall protection and improved traction in mud, sand and ruts.
The DuraTrac also sports another design feature that makes it a good tire for heavy construction use: a built-in bead lock. Goodyear’s bead-lock design keeps the wheel from spinning inside the tire while providing added protection from rock damage to the wheel.
If your current contracts have you driving lots of miles on pavement with only occasional off-road excursions, Goodyear’s Wrangler DuraTrac offers aggressive good looks in a practical commercial grade tire. It’s been working for us.