Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac Review

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Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac is a very old tire now, and it’s performance is still very surprising. It’s a first ever hybrid (which brings a mixture of mud-terrain and all-terrain tires’ features). So where its so good on harsher terrains, it’s on road performance is not disappointing at all.

Goodyear Duratrac on Jeep Wrangler
Installed Goodyear Duratrac on Jeep Wrangler (14 model).

Being a tire engineer, in my opinion, the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac is one of a kind tire, it offers features which no other tire does, it’s good on road with it’s foundations supports, it’s wet traction is credited to it’s full depth interlocking sipes (mostly on shoulder lugs), it’s steering response comes form the tire being light in weight. The only place the tire lacks is on road noise, and off road durability, but other than this you can go wrong with this tire, if you go off road 50% of your time. Speaking of which its very good on mud and sand. And for snow, it’s 3PMSF rated.

Tire sizes

Goodyear Duratrac also offers 15 to 22″, but with less overall sizes. Speed rating stays in Q, S, P, and T. And weight ranges from 35 to 68 lbs (load rating goes up to F).

And speaking of tread depth, almost all sizes have 18/32″, with an exception of a few which offer 16/32″.

Tread Features

In case of Wrangler DuraTrac, all its blocks have saw tooth teeth to them and they are joined together by one another, with the help of another layer, you can say it’s dual compound.

Wrangler Duratrac
Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac offers a symmetrical design with bigger shoulder lugs and smaller inner ribs.

The shoulder lugs are highly voided. They run in pairs are are joined with together from beneath, the surrounding gaps are huge, that’s the reason why it’s considered a hybrid tire (having shoulders of a mud tire).

These blocks have make deep (full depth) siping, where the wave-like pattern offers more flexibility to these blocks.

In the wide grooves the tire offers a small biters (Goodyear calls it Tractive Groove Technology).

Towards the middle ribs get smaller, but features are the same, though siping is less interlocking here.

These lugs are closely packed together, and offer a very decent directional stability overall.

While the chamfered edges ensure the ribs don’t push each other during cornering and heavy braking as well.

The tire has 3 Peak Mountain Snowflake rating, and on top of that, it supplies stud-able lugs (on LT sizes), so you can improve traction on icy terrains as well.

Compare Goodyear DuraTrac with others

Highway Performance

The tire’s aggressiveness compromises it’s highway response. But Wrangler Duratrac is a very different tires, it’s very well engineered, so you don’t have to compromise a lot on dry grip, response and handling.

Let’s check all these factors out.

Dry Grip

The more voided the tread gets, the less it meet with the road and the less friction is generated, which naturally limits the grip.

Now in case of Duratrac, the Goodyear made it’s contact patch rounded, which means the central most area of the tread gets to meet with the road with firmer grip.

And here as the blocks arrangement is closed up, the overall directional grip is not compromised.

Moreover, the tire offers a high silica in it’s tread, so

Goodyear Duratrac on the other hand, although also provides reinforced foundations, the larger gaps between the blocks compromises the road grip.

Goodyear Duratrac, although has less rubber to road contact to offer, the tire is still not too far off. It’s softer rubber compound sticks to the surface and as all blocks here also have rigid foundations, the tire presents good enough braking distances and handling times.

Steering Response

If you compare this tire with all-terrain tires, then you are going to see some lag on roads. This lag has to do with it’s larger shoulder gaps.

As they don’t meet with the road continuously, the overall response gets to have a delay.

The good thing about this tire is that it’s weight is not that heavier, as it’s just 2 ply polyester, so although this compromises the durability, the tire does not over steers as much as an average rugged terrain tire would.

So overall, the tire is pretty impressive here, if you consider it’s off road capabilities (without worrying about it’s sidewalls that is, as they are not as confidence inspiring).

Also check, Goodyear Wrangler Workhorse AT.

Handling Stability

The handling is another factor of traction, let me explain. There are 2 key parts here, one is directional, which depends on the central lugs, and the other is lateral traction, where the shoulders come in to action (as the whole weight of tire shifts on them when a vehicle turns).

So the Goodyear Duratrac with joined up shoulder blocks provide a great traction values and stability.

With rounded contact patch (explained in dry grip), the tire offers a very smooth transitions to forces towards the shoulders when a car turns, so you don’t feel the jerking movement.

Goodyear is known to make such tires, for a while now, and it helps a lot, though such tires are also a little bit more expensive as well.

Wet Performance

On wet asphalts there are 2 main things grip and hydroplaning, and both of these do only one thing, water removal.

Water escaping is important, as without it the tire wont be able to grip, as water is not compressible, it has to move away so the tire can meet with the road and offer any sort of grip.

Let’s talk about these two dimensions.

Wet Traction

Wet traction is again a combination of directional and lateral grip, so here the central lugs of the tire are closed up together and they provide interlocking sipes which is enough for water removal.

With rounded contact patch, most of the pressure in on these middle lugs, and water gets pushed out from here to sides, the little water that stays stuck is wiped off with sipes (they flex to suck water in).

The outer shoulders are open and water leaves form here quickly, and although the siping is less here, these are more interlocking, so wet handling is not compromised at all.

In fact it’s pretty impressive.


Another factor of wet performance is mostly credited to hydroplaning, which is basically just water removal from the grooves.

Now like I explained above, the central lugs pushed the water sideways, and here the tire is pretty bald and does not restrict the movement of the water, so it leaves out pretty easily and effectively.


Noise is one area where you’d have to compromise a little with this tire, as it’s loud. But why is that?

Well first things first, understand that noise is just air. Besides rolling noise and other on road factors (texture composition, groove spectrum, resonance and so on), the air plays a huge role.

Now as I already explained the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac has a rounded contact patch, so shoulder are a little open, and it’s tread design tells us how much of it’s shoulders are voided (they are pretty bald).

So air can move in and out easily, and that air when strikes the tread generates noise, which we also call tread noise.

The tire offers variable ptich technology here to dampen it, but its’ softer rubber simply produces more resonance, so it’s best you rotate these tires after every 3k miles if possible (otherwise they are going to get louder).

For Your Info: Also, if noise is you main concern and you have to get his tire, go with D rated sizes, instead of E or F.

Winter Performance

In winter, there are a lot of key areas to check out, as there are different types of terrains, like ice, deep snow, light snow and so on, and performance factors like acceleration, grip, handling…

The Goodyear Duratrac is 3 peak mountain snowflake rated, so at least we got the acceleration part covered (as it’s tells us that the tire is almost more than 20% better in moving forward on road snow, compared to average all season tire).

Moreover, if we talk about handling and braking, the tire is again very impressive, it’s basically does things a lot better on deeper terrains, anything above 3 feet of snow is no problem for this tire.

The tire surprisingly also does a good job on hard packed snow and ice, as there its full depth interlocking sipes grab on to the ice and it’s spongy rubber don’t get rigid with freezing temperatures.

Moreover, you can also install 16 studs on the tire (on shoulder lugs), but they only come in LT sizes.

Off Road Performance

Off road, there are a lot of terrains to consider, but lets talk the famous ones.

Starting with mud (the toughest terrain of all).

Mud traction

Goodyear Duratrac with wider outer longitudinal grooves, is very quick in escaping the mud, if fact it’s one of the top ones in my list of all terrain tires.

The tire basically has mud scoops which provide this tire with spoons so it digs its way out even when it’s knee deep in mud.

It’s also not too heavy (with less plies in it’s construction), so the tire does not dig in, it moves forward. Some rugged terrain tires are just too heavy and with sharper sides they dig, which is not preferable, you need forward momentum.

The small scale tread pattern installed in it’s grooves, also helps in ejecting and breaking apart the mud, so the broken down pieces are easier to leave.

Traction on Rocks

Rocks need durability, and this is the part where the Goodyear Duratrac lacks. With just 2 ply sidewalls and not thick enough lugs on top, crawling this tire on rugged terrains is not as confidence inspiring.

Though its sidewall lugs are very biting when you air down the tire.

Other than this the tire does great providing you with very sharp biters in the middle and big groove mouth towards edges.

Sand Traction

On sand, the Goodyear Duratrac is probably on the best tires out there, this is because of the tire’s lighter weight, which helps it on an incline (which is what you mostly encounters with sandy dunes).

The tire is also very molding, so with lowered pressure (which you always do on sand), a lot of it’s tread is able to meet up with the sand underneath.

The sidewalls are also not sharp, so there’s no digging, and chances of getting stuck becomes low.

All these factors ensures better performance on this tire.

To Conclude

The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac is now more than a decade old, yet the tire is still great. That’s the reason why it’s still ran by so many, and come in per-installed on Jeep Wrangler Rubicon and other popular off road jeeps and trucks.

There’s actually very little that you have to compromise with this tire, as it offers a great balance between on and off road.

The only thing that bugs me about this tire is noise, and other than that, it’s great on dry roads in terms of traction, absorbing bumps, tread wear, to name a few.

Off road the tire does best in mud and sand, where I rated this tire for mud in my list (see in mud section above).

The only thing off road that’s not working for this tire is it’s durability, so you get just 2 ply sidewalls, which are although good enough, they are prone to punctures, but then again it makes this tire lighter which improves it’s steering response.