Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac RT Review


The Goodyear DuraTrac RT, emerging as a subtle yet refined update to its decade-old counterpart, presents modest innovations despite its longstanding heritage. While the addition of “RT” to its name might not reflect a dramatic rebranding, the tire itself offers noteworthy improvements in noise reduction and overall road handling.

DuraTrac RT's sidewalls
DuraTrac RT now offers pretty aggressive sidewalls.

Available Sizes

The DuraTrac RT comes in 42 sizes, from 16 to 20 inches rims. These sizes have following specs.

  • Speed ratings: R, S, T and Q.
  • Load ratings: SL, XL, E and F. (Learn all about load/ply ratings here).
  • Tread depth: 16 – 18/32″.
  • Weight: 42 to 85 lbs.
  • UTQG: 500 B B.
  • Treadwear warranty: 50k miles.

For Your Info: All sizes have Tri-Peak ratings, along with M+S, and come with black serrated lettered sidewalls.

Key Takeaway

Overall, the Goodyear DuraTrac RT tire excels in:

  • Dry Handling: It has a well-engineered contact patch and stiffer shoulders, provide notable steering responsiveness, particularly in non-LT sizes.
  • Winter Performance: Demonstrates effective grip on snowy terrains, particularly. Rated with tri-peak certification.
  • Tread Longevity: The inclusion of Kevlar in its rubber composition allow for great wear resistance.
  • Durability: Comes with 3-ply polyester casing and DuraWall technology.
  • Off-Road Traction: It delivers solid overall performance. In fact, I ranked it for mud performance in my list of top all-terrain (A/T) tires.

Though it needs to be improved in terms of:

  • Wet Traction: The stiffer rubber composition hinders the efficiency of its sipes.
  • Flexibility on Sandy Dunes: While it offers decent traction, its heavier construction and stiffer rubber needs slight enhancements.
  • Adaptability for Icy Conditions: The absence of studdable lugs, unlike its older variant, limits its potential for enhanced grip on ice.

Side Note: Looking for the perfect A/T tire tailored to your needs? Allow me to simplify your search. Start here.

Tread Structure

The new Wrangler DuraTrac RT, while seemingly akin to its older variant, presents several improvements.

DuraTrac RT's Tread
DuraTrac RT’s shoulders are more refined, with laterally oriented wave-like sipes on them.

The central lugs retain their three-pair block layout (like older variant), but are enhanced with larger sizes and additional biting edges.

Basically, here, the most notable advancement is in the siping design, which is now more aggressive, featuring a wave-like pattern and supplemented by linear sipes.

Other than this, you get similar (to older variant) features like the circumferential grooves with Tractive Groove Technology (a name Goodyear gives to the biters present on the base of these voids).

Moreover, the shoulder lugs also have minor refinements.

They are more, you can say, streamlined, coming with less off-set edges, and laterally oriented structures.

And yes, they also have slightly more aggressive siping, along with additional notches, compared to older variant, facing towards middle.

In terms of sidewall design, the new Wrangler RT exhibits a staggered shoulder pattern with prominent in-block notches extending towards the edges, forming effective sidewall lugs.

Although these sidewall lugs are significantly improved over the older variant, they are still less aggressive, especially when compared to other options in the tire’s RT category.

Review older DuraTrac here:

Wet Traction

In the world of wet traction, the efficiency of sipes and their design, can’t be overstated. Although they might appear as just simple slits, they play a significant role.

Here’s how they function: Sipes contain air, and as they compress against the ground, that air gets expelled, creating negative pressure behind. This mechanism then draws in water particles, which are subsequently dispersed as the tire rolls over them.

So for optimal wet traction, a tire needs to have abundant siping, and these sipes must be flexible enough to create effective suction.

Having said that, the Goodyear DuraTrac RT falls short here, especially when compared to its older variant.

While the tire does offer adequate sipes, with more aggressive linear and wave-like structures as seen in its tread design, its stiffer rubber composition hinders the sipes’ ability to efficiently absorb water particles, resulting in a somewhat reduced overall performance.

Side Note: You can view the detailed comparison between the Duratrac and DuraTrac RT here.

Winter Performance

All-terrain tires are celebrated for their all-season versatility, excelling in both summer conditions and various snowy terrains, including ice and deep snow.

Reflecting this versatility, many of these tires, including the new Wrangler DuraTrac RT, come with the 3-peak mountain snowflake rating.

This rating essentially means the tire offers at least 10% better acceleration (on light snow) compared to standard touring all-season tires, and it features a rubber compound that remains flexible even below 40 degrees F. I discussed it in greater details here:

So despite being slightly stiffer, the tire still maintains the effectiveness of its biters for effective grip.

Moreover, Goodyear RT also features various in-groove notches and biters at the base of the tread (Tractive Groove Technology).

These features are particularly effective in capturing and retaining snow particles within the tire’s voids, enhancing snow-on-snow contact, which is generally more effective than rubber-on-snow, as snowflakes adhere better to each other than to the tread.

Additionally, the tire offers numerous features like offset biting edges, shoulder notches, chamfered edges, and full-depth linear and wave-like sipes (which are better compared to its older variant), all of which improve its performance, particularly on ice.

Though unlike the older variant, the RT tire does not feature studdable lugs, which could have further improved its icy grip.

But yes, you get better sidewall lugs on newer variant, which now provide better traction on deeper snowy terrains, particularly in terms of acceleration, where they effectively shovel deep snow backwards, creating forward momentum.

Tread Longevity

The tread life of a tire is significantly influenced by its rubber composition and the weight of its overall construction. And here, the Wrangler DuraTrac RT performs above average.

Despite its considerable weight, which puts greater force on the lugs, as they rub against the road, the tire exhibits appreciable overall wear resistance.

Additionally, the inclusion of Kevlar makes the rubber composition stiffer. As a result, the lugs don’t bend excessively under the weight, limiting heat generation, which is a common accelerator of wear.

Therefore, it’s logical that the tire comes with a 50,000-mile warranty for both LT (Light Truck) and P-metric sizes, (unlike the older variant which only offers 50k for non-LT sizes), reflecting RT’s robustness and longevity.


To endure the rigors of off-road terrains, which are often puncture-prone, tires require exceptional durability derived from their robust internal construction and superior rubber quality.

Now, this is precisely where significant advancements are evident in the new DuraTrac.

The Wrangler RT now offers a 3-ply polyester casing, making its sidewalls highly puncture-resistant. Additionally, the tire’s DuraWall technology further enhances protection against punctures, abrasions, and cuts in rough off-road conditions.

Moreover, the tire also features dual steel belts, and two ply nylon cap plies, with bent edges, providing on road stability along with toughness.

DuraWall Technology is specifically engineered to withstand the challenges of off-road driving. It ensures that the sidewalls are robust, featuring a high turn-up structure that adds to the tire’s stiffness.

FYI: A high turn-up means that polyester casing plies extend higher up in the sidewall, providing additional strength and stability to this critical area.

Overall Dry Performance

Understanding an all-terrain tire’s performance on dry roads necessitates examining its longitudinal grip and ability to corner, two key performance indicators. Let’s go through both, separately.

Directional Grip

Directional grip reflects a tire’s ability to maintain and provide traction when it’s rolling in a straight line. It primarily gets measured by the tire’s braking effectiveness, and depends on the tire’s footprint (especially from the middle).

Now, the Goodyear DuraTrac RT offers a pretty well engineered, and optimized contact patch that ensures strong connectivity with the road, offering decent overall braking.

Despite being more aggressive, particularly with a heavier construction, the tire only lags behind its older version by less than half a foot in averaged stopping distance tests.

Basically its greater weight, increases its momentum inertia, making it marginally more challenging to stop.

Overall Handling

Handling encompasses both the lateral grip and the steering response of a tire.

Now speaking of lateral grip first, this depends on shoulder-ribs/sidewalls of the tire, as they endure the most pressure during cornering. Therefore, the contact and design of the tire’s shoulders are crucial for effective cornering.

Now, the Goodyear DuraTrac RT despite its aggressive voids between and around shoulder lugs still delivers decent lateral traction, indicating greater g-forces on average, on test evaluations. Plus it also delivers appreciable steering feedback, especially on its non-LT sizes.

Steering basically depends on the flexibility of the lugs. Meaning, the more pliable they are, the longer they take to return to their original shape before deformation, resulting in a delay in response.

So Wrangler RT with its stiffer rubber composition, reinforced with Kevlar, reduces lug pliability, maintaining firmer lugs during cornering.

And yes its well engineered contact patch is also helping here, particularly on sizes with heavier construction, as it distributes the weight more evenly, adding to better mid-cornering feedback.

Off-Road Traction

To properly do the analyses of this tire’s off-road capabilities, I considered three main terrain types here. Let’s start with mud.

On Muddy Trails

All-terrain tires can greatly enhance their performance in mud with wider grooves and self-cleaning capabilities.

In this regard, the Wrangler DuraTrac RT, equipped with wide interconnected circumferential grooves, excels, where its grooves efficiently expel mud in all directions, thereby improving traction.

Additionally, the tire’s Tractive Groove technology, featuring biters at the tread base, further breaks down mud particles, facilitating their easier expulsion and consequently enhancing traction.

However, the tire’s standout performance in deeper muddy terrains is largely due to its more aggressive staggered shoulders and sidewalls, (particularly, when compared to its older variant).

These more aggressive edges of the tire’s tread provide it with great paddling abilities, pushing mud backward and generating forward momentum, in return, preventing getting stuck, particularly on deeper muddy trails.

For Your Info: The tire is rated as the best for mud, in A/T category, in my list of top all-terrain tires.

Grip on Gravel

Off-road tires are designed to resist cuts, but without effective stone ejectors, sharp dirt particles can still embed themselves and cause damage, compromising traction.

In this aspect, the DuraTrac RT, equipped with Tractive Groove and DuPont Kevlar technologies, performs exceptionally well.

The secondary tread pattern at the base of the tire’s tread functions as stone ejectors, preventing dirt particles from lodging between the tread and the surface, thereby enhancing traction.

While the incorporation of DuPont Kevlar results in an aramid fiber construction of the tire’s tread, a material known for its excellent strength-to-weight ratio.

This reinforcement makes the tire more resistant to punctures and tears, further boosting its durability in challenging off-road conditions.

Rock Climbing

The Goodyear DuraTrac RT impresses with its rock climbing capabilities as well, where the tire achieves an optimal balance between lateral and circumferential traction, which becomes evident upon examining its tread.

I mean, its numerous and spacious groove openings running at all angles, provide superb chewing power on rocky surfaces, with their multi-directional grip. Additionally, the full-depth sipes, particularly those of linear designs on central lugs, open-up/flex the blocks, further enhancing the tire’s overall bite.

And while these biters grab rocks, the tire’s tough 3 ply sidewalls allow for a confidence inspiring mobility.

On Sandy Dunes

In sandy conditions, avoiding sinking is essential, and this is typically achieved by lowering the air pressure in the tires.

At first glance, the Goodyear DuraTrac RT, with its stiffer rubber compound and additional plies in its internal construction, might seem heavy, and “more digging”.

But it’s quite the contrary. You see, the tire offers pretty decent sidewall lugs which, under lower air pressure, flex and expand, increasing the rubber-to-sand contact patch and maintaining a lower overall density of the tire.

So you still get pretty decent overall sand traction out of these tires.

Wrapping Up

Overall, this Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac RT strikes a fine balance between durability, traction, and handling, making it an excellent choice for a wide range of driving conditions.

Its enhanced tread structure with larger central lugs, aggressive siping design, and streamlined shoulder lugs provide superior grip and handling in both dry and wet conditions.

Moreover, its winter traction is also much more appreciable, where it performs pretty great on soft snowy terrains, and average on ice.

Furthermore, owing to its durability, the tire provides good enough tread longevity, and provides decent off-road traction, where it excels in mud, gravel, and rocky terrains, thanks to its effective stone ejectors and sturdy sidewalls, while also performing well on sandy dunes.

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