Goodyear Wrangler ATS vs DuraTrac

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Both the Goodyear Wrangler ATS and the Wrangler DuraTrac are packed with innovative tread features which yield amazing results, on both rugged terrains, and smoother paths. Though still, let’s take a closer look to see which one will bring you a more favorable experience.

Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac
Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac

From my testing as a tire engineer, I can conclude that the Wrangler ATS is better-suited for roads (especially on dry ones), offering better grip, fuel economy, tread life and overall comfort. Whereas the Goodyear Duratrac does better off-road, mostly on sandy and muddy terrains. Though its on-road performance in terms of wet and winter traction is also pretty impressive. It’s the only one here with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating.

Sizes Facts

Here the Goodyear Wrangler ATS comes in 15 to 20 inches with following specs:

  • Speed ratings: R and S.
  • Load ratings: SL, C, D and E.
  • Weight range: 30 to 60 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 13 to 16/32″.
  • Winter ratings: No 3PMSFR,. only M+S available.
  • Treadwear warranty: None.

While the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac comes in 15 to 22 inches, and its sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: Q, S, P and T.
  • Load ratings: SL to F.
  • Weight range: 35 to 68 lbs.
  • Tread depth: 16 to 18/32″.
  • Winter ratings: 3PMSFR, and M+S.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles but only on P metric sizes
  • Also all LT sizes have studable lugs.

Learn how to read tire sizes:

Tread Features

There are two main tread parts to look for here, the middle, and the shoulders, discussing that, let me start things off with Goodyear Duratrac.

Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac
Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac

Considering shoulders first:

  • Lugs are bigger here, and are joined together (in pairs) by reinforced foundations, think of it as the lugs sitting on a secondary rubber layer.
  • Siping pattern is also more aggressive here, compared to the lugs in the middle.
  • These lugs carry stud holes but only on LT sizes, so from the image, you can tell, this ones a P metric size.
  • The outer edges of these lugs are serrated, and on sidewalls, they offer thick lugs which promote off-road bite with lowered air pressure especially.

Moving towards the middle:

  • Lugs are smaller here (compared to shoulders).
  • They carry a less aggressive wave-like siping design, though they are full depth here as well.
  • They get to offer more biters, in the form of saw toothed edges, and chamfered sides.
  • All of them have reinforced foundations as well, just like the shoulders, so on-road stability is also not so bad on this tire.
  • And speaking of off-road, as these lugs create a web of grooves connecting outer circumferential rings, the tread is pretty self cleaning.
  • These channels are also embedded with powerful biters, which Goodyear calls “Tractive Grooves”.

On the other side, its pretty obvious why the Wrangler ATS features a less aggressive structure.

Goodyear Wrangler AT/S
Goodyear Wrangler ATS

In the middle:

  • The tire’s tread is more on-road oriented with 3 longitudinal ribs overall.
  • Two of these ribs (in the middle most) are dedicated in to providing on-road traction, as lugs there are more crowded.
  • Basically these blocks join up with each other vertically, and make very small longitudinal grooves in between as well.
  • These features basically yield more rubber to road contact, which results in superior on-road grip.

On shoulders:

  • The shoulder ribs on the other side are in charge of providing off-road grip.
  • They have a more open structure forming wider circumferential grooves.
  • And they have a lot of biters in the form of off-set edges, and notches.
  • Moreover, the sipes seen all over the tread also have dual functionalities. They offer wet grip, and at the same time allow the blocks to open up a little, offering chewing abilities.


The durability of off-road tires is essential in providing optimal performance in challenging environments. And to achieve this, tires are given cut-resistant rubber and robust internal construction.

Both of these tires that’s why come with 2 ply polyester casing with 2 steel belts on top, which are then further covered with 2 cap plies of nylon.

But with thicker lugs on sidewalls, you still get better toughness on Goodyear Duratrac.

Side Note: Out of all A/T tires I’ve reviewed, the BF Goodrich KO2 (review) gets to be the toughest one out there.

Dry Grip

When it comes to gripping on dry roads, the central area of the tire’s tread holds a lot of significance. This is because while rolling straight, the whole weight of the tire, and the vehicle, gets focused (a lot more) on the central portion.

So how better a tire connects with the surface form there, can make or break the overall gripping efficacy.

That’s why it makes sense why Goodyear Wrangler A/TS with its closed up longitudinal central ribs, renders shorter stopping distances (a measure of directional grip).

The Goodyear Duratrac on the other hand, although has closed up lugs in the middle too, to enhance highway stability, they are still way too spacious to form similar friction values.

Dry Handling

Handling is a dry performance metric that is a combination of sideways grip and steering response, and both of them are delivered better on Wrangler A/TS.

It’s shoulder lugs supply larger contact patch to meet up with the road, and with a stiffer tread (composition), and shorter tread depth, it’s lugs stay in place (without bending too much), and offer superior under and over steering balance.

The Goodyear Duratrac on the other side with such wild tread voids does not provide it’s lugs with supports, and they flex a lot more, negatively impacting the steering response.

Winter Capability

Out of both tires, the Goodyear DuraTrac is the only one with 3 peak mountain snowflake rating. And it makes sense.

The tire offers mini tread blocks in the bottom of the groves, and these help in holding on to the trapped snow, and making better contact with the ground with it.

And since this type of contact yields better friction compared to rubber to snow (contact), you get finer traction with this tire.

On the other side, Goodyear Wrangler AT/S with vertical arrangement of the lugs can only do so much here. They simply roll over the snow without trapping or scooping them out as effectively as its counterpart, limiting overall grip.

Wet Grip

Sipes and flexibility work together to efficiently evacuate water from the tire tread, leading to reduced slippage on wet roads.

Basically sipes are just slits, and they create a vacuum by expelling air (in them), and so they need flexibility to do that.

That’s why out of both tires, even though you get much more aggressive tread pattern with Goodyear Duratrac, the tire still offers better overall wet traction on smooth paved roads.

Goodyear Wrangler AT/S on the other side, only offers stiffer sipes, with missing interlocking structure so water wiping abilities gets limited.

Moreover the tire also lacks in offering as much evacuation of water from the grooves (especially through sideways), due to closed up voids and longitudinal orientation of its lugs. So it also lacks in hydroplaning resistance.

Ride Comfort

The smoothness of a tire’s ride is dependent on its ability to absorb road bumps and vibrations, largely influenced by its composition. And here both on and off-road riding experience is taken into account.

Considering that, I would go with Goodyear DuraTrac on this one. Let me explain why.

The tire has a malleable tread compound (which offers superior settling of the shocks). And it’s tread depth is greater, so there’s more rubber between you and the bumps.

Furthermore, it’s blocks have reinforced foundations underneath, so they also don’t compromise on the overall stability when it comes to smooth pavements, and highways.

Goodyear Wrangler AT/S on the other hand, is very stable and comfortable on streets, as well, but it’s cushioning abilities (to the bumps) isn’t that great, off-road mostly on gravel, where it feels very jittery.

Fuel Usage

The fuel usage of a vehicle is determined by the overall structure of the tire, which includes weight, composition, and lugs arrangement, (as the most significant ones).

And considering them all, it can be explained why you get to see better fuel efficiency on Goodyear Wrangler AT/S, as it comes with a lighter structure, which needs less energy to roll. And with longitudinally arranged lugs, it’s gets to move straight (on highways) with much more ease.

Goodyear DuraTrac on the other side, enforces its lugs to bend and flex more, even with it’s reinforced foundations. It simply does not offer a firm enough contact with the ground, wasting energy in to deforming its tread, where it could have consumed in to rolling of the tire.

Tread Wear

When it comes to overall tread life, there are two main things to consider, the rate of wear, and the time it takes to come down to 2/32″ of legal limit, tread depth.

Both of these show better results with Goodyear Wrangler AT/S. It features a stiffer rubber composition, which wears slower, thanks to its lighter construction, and packed up lugs evenly distributing its weight.

And it’s tread depth is also pretty great, reaching up to 16/32″, so even though there is no treadwear warranty on this tire, it still lasts longer in comparison.

Goodyear DuraTrac on the other side, is also not offering any warranty on it’s LT sizes (non LT have 50k miles though). And its softer compound with excessive weight burns off quicker in comparison.

Ride Noise

Tread noise gets generated by a lot of variables, including the rubber to road contact type, surface friction, lugs density, and outer construction of the tread.

Comparing both of our boys here, its much easier to explain why Goodyear Wrangler AT/S is significantly quieter with it’s closed up lugs arrangement.

Since a major portion of noise gets generated with the air particles hitting the tread blocks, the Goodyear Duratrac with such a balder structure not only lacks in comparison here, but it’s also one of the loudest tire you can get in the list of all-terrain tires.

Rock Climbing Abilities

On rocky terrains, durability is a big one, and although both tires don’t have ample of that, the Goodyear Duratrac still provides better efficacy with it’s sidewall lugs pushing away sharp objects and prohibiting them from puncturing in.

Moreover, it’s lugs there allow for extra footprint with lowered air pressure, and act as biters which grab and pull, adding to overall traction further.

And form the middle, the tire offers bigger groove mouth, with lugs having sharp off-sets and chamfered edges, both of these ensure you with a superior grip in all directions.

Goodyear Wrangler AT/S on the other side, lacks with it’s less aggressive longitudinal structure.

Mud Performance

The capability of all-terrain tires in mud can be significantly improved by having wider grooves and self-cleaning features.

And considering both tires, its not odd to see Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac coming on top. The tire offers multiple pathways for the thick clay to move out form all directions (without any hurdles).

And it’s staggered shoulder lugs with bigger mud scoops, provide the paddling effect, pushing mud backwards and rendering forward momentum as a result.

Goodyear Wrangler AT/S on the other side gets packed up with the thick clay pretty quickly. With ribs aligned circumstantially, it simply does not allow for ample mud evacuation through sideways.

Also Read –
Are A/T tires good in Mud:

Sand Performance

Sand is a pretty tricky terrain, and here there are two main things to consider. One is the tire’s overall structure, and the other is it’s footprint offering.

And after considering these both, I can explain why I saw a lacking traction on Goodyear Wrangler AT/S. The tire is missing with lugs towards sidewalls, and has sharper outer edges in comparison. Both of these factors make this tire more prone to digging in (which is the worst for sand traction).

Goodyear DuraTrac on the other side, is although heavier in comparison, it’s only by a tiny margin, which gets more evenly distributed on it’s sidewall lugs.

These sidewalls spread out, and account for enhanced contact patch with the sand, providing better floating abilities.


Goodyear Wrangler AT/S is a better tire for pavements and highways, which is no surprise, given its on-road oriented structure. Though it’s still surprising to see, how it still lacks when it comes to wet grip and winter performance.

Though its great on dry, fuel economy, overall comfort and tread life.

Goodyear DuraTrac on the other side does great on snow grip and wet traction (its the only one with severe winter rating here). Moreover, the tire is also better by a huge margin, off-road, especially on muddy tracks.

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