Snow Wheeling with Goodyear DuraTrac Tires
First Impressions of Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac Tires
Now that you bought your 4Runner, it’s time for the first important modification for any off-road intended vehicle tires.
For many off-road enthusiasts, tires are the first modification to go on their vehicle, with some new wheels of course.
Whatever you choose to wrap those pristine new wheels in can be one of the most important decisions you make for your rig. Despite the fancy, adjustable suspension, or a winch-equipped bumper, you won’t be getting very far on a regular old set of street tires. Especially in the snow.
I was among one of these many off-road enthusiasts that chose wheels and tires as my first real modification.
Taking into consideration the most popular tires in our ever-changing 4Runner community, the Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires had my immediate attention, despite not having the limelight.
The only thing that may come close in terms of off-road snow performance might be a set of studded snow tires like the Hankook I-Pike studded tires. But, unless you are prepared to swap them out in the summer for a set of street-friendy tires, you may want to stick with a good all season or all-terrain tire. The list below is a good place to start.
A few other popular tire options
- Nitto Terra Grapplers
- Nitto Ridge Grapplers
- Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT
- Cooper Discoverer A/T3
- Cooper S/T Maxx
- General Grabber ATX
- BFG KO2
- Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac
PUT TO THE TEST: TRUCKEE, CALIFORNIA
California is notorious for having some of the best off-roading spots in the nation.
And the winter season is no exception.
12 hours after the most recent snow-dumping storm swept through the town of Truckee, I was ready to hit the trails. And put my favorite tires to the ultimate test, two feet of fresh powder and snowpack.
The interstate had barely been open, and the roads were nice and icy, just to add a bit of challenge to my ultimate tire test. The Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires did wonderfully on the icy roads and didn’t have any slip whatsoever.
I will say, as the day drew to a close, some of the snow on the backroads had gone a bit glassy and did cause minor slip, but nothing that required correction.
When choosing a spot to off-road, I made sure to head to a place I had been to during the summer months, so that I was familiar with what was under all of that fresh snow.
My spot of choice was the Prosser Pits OHV area right off of I-80. I had ridden dirt bikes in this area a few months prior and was very familiar with directions and terrain.
I cannot stress enough how important it is to know your surroundings when going off-roading in the winter. Just two days after we left the mountain, a couple required rescue from a snowy backroad because they had completely stuck their stock 4Runner in the winter conditions.
Granted, I did go into this situation without a winch, or a buddy to pull me out. Don’t be like me.
Location, Location, Location in Snow-Wheeled Off-Roading
When I first ‘arrived’ to my desired spot, I was thrown for a loop.
I thought we would be able to get to the back portion of the trails, which I was more familiar with. But, in order to get there, we had to trek through deep snow a lot sooner than anticipated.
I put the truck in 4Lo, and off I went. My travel companions had stepped out of the runner to let me know when I couldn’t go any further… (they had no faith).
To their surprise, it just kept going.
The only slip I noticed was when it came over a muddy spot under the snow, understandable as these are not mud terrain tires.
As you can see in the photo above, the tires brought the vehicle through heavily packed snow to plow right through.
At some points, the tire lugs were completely packed with snow. But that still provided the top-notch performance to get the vehicle through the winter terrain.
DURATRAC TIRE FEATURES
The Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires have several features that align with exactly what 4Runner enthusiasts look for:
- TractiveGroove technology provides top-notch traction in mud and snow
- Rim Protection
This is an absolute deal-sealer for me.
The inside lip of the tire is raised just enough to protect your rim from accidental curb or trail damage, a must when expensive wheels are on the chopping block.
DuraTrac Tire’s TractiveGroove Technology and Rim Protection
- Severe Snow Certified
- Self-clearing shoulder blocks keep the tread free and clear of debris when off-roading. This is very important, as it is easy to lose traction once tire treads become caked with mud and snow.
Now that you’ve heard my testimony, let’s take into consideration some other important factors when choosing the best tire for you.
Price (285/70/17) Per Tire
- Nitto Terra Grapplers: $170
- Nitto Ridge Grapplers: $205
- Cooper Discoverer AT3 XLT: $225
- Cooper Discoverer A/T3: $250
- Cooper STT Pro: $257
- BFG KO2: $258
- Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac: $267
Price is an important aspect to consider when buying tires for your vehicle, especially if you plan on purchasing a spare. The Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires rank the highest on the price list, but I truly believe that you pay for quality.
Although, if budget is an issue, you may lean towards the other options, which will most likely hold up to similar performance tests.
I, on the other hand, cannot speak on behalf of these community-favorite tires.
Oh, the price we pay for performance. Road noise is a major factor to consider in the tire world. Mud terrains are usually the culprit of terribly obnoxious road noise, so choosing an all-terrain tire can greatly decrease the decibel of this issue.
Road noise on this set of tires is nearly unnoticeable, with any sort of music playing you can’t hear the tires at all.
The only instance I can recall hearing road noise from the DuraTrac’s was on the freeway at about 80mph with no music at all.
I think everyone building a 4Runner takes aesthetics into consideration.
It’s simple, we want our rig to look nice, while also performing the best it can. I personally was looking for a rather aggressive tread pattern, as many people do. It gives the vehicle a complete makeover when comparing to stock tires.
This was a huge deciding factor for me when choosing the DuraTracs, they not only had an extremely aggressive-looking tread pattern, but they also had a mean looking ‘squared off’ edge to them.
The edges weren’t overly rounded as some of the other competitors were, which added to the aggressive look of the tire.
Aggressive Look and Performance of the DuraTrac Tires
My experience so far with the Wrangler DuraTrac tires has been nothing short of amazing.
I am thrilled with the recent performance in winter conditions, and also with the on-road performance.
At the moment, my 4Runner is my daily driver, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the road noise and aesthetic of this tire. I would highly recommend this tire to anyone looking to get into the 4Runner’s off-road capabilities.
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