TreadWright Guard Dog M/T (Mud Terrain) Tires – 285/70R17 – Initial Impressions and Partial Review
If you are looking for an affordable M/T (Mud Terrain) tire, you may want to take a look at the TreadWright Guard Dog M/T sitting at only $154 (285/70R17).
The Guard Dog is one of TreadWright’s most popular off-road tires, designed to provide maximum traction for just about all of our 4×4 adventures.
The TreadWright’s Guard Dog is an affordable off-road tire option that provides a rugged look, stellar off-road performance along with well-mannered on-road behavior.
Offered in a load range D and E, which sets them at 8PLY(D) or 10PLY(E) which are built to handle heavy loads. For reference, most load range C, D, and E tires are intended for light-truck and SUV applications such as 4Runner.
Rated for a quieter around town and on-highway experience with firmly planted deep lugs, the Guard Dogs are supposed to be a great off-road tire while featuring the much-desired characteristics of an all-terrain tire.
With all of this hype for a well-mannered M/T sitting at only $150 per tire, we were incredibly anxious to see what they were all about.
Popular MT Tire (285/70R17) Prices:
- TreadWright Guard Dog M/T 285/70R17: $154 – Current Price
- BFG A/T KO2 (285/70R17): $250 – Current Price
- Cooper SST Pro (285/70R17): $280 – Current Price
- Toyo Open Country M/T 285/70R17 – $300 – Current Price
Above are some of the tires we were considering for Jade, our 2016 TEP MGM 4Runner. As you can see, M/T tires are not cheap. Although it would be nice to pull the trigger on some Toyo M/Ts, $1250+ for tires alone was out of our budget.
What are TreadWright Tires (Remolded Tires)?
Many get the TreadWright tires confused with straight retreads. They are not simple retreads, they are remolded retreads.
TreadWright takes an old tire that has high miles (30K-50K miles) and they inspect it for imperfections. After the inspection, they either fix any defects or discard the tire if it doesn’t meet their standards. Once they have a “perfect” tire, they shave off all the lugs (tread) down to the radial steel corded belts.
Then they wrap it in new, fresh rubber all the way around, sidewall to sidewall (not just retreading the top).
Once the fresh rubber is applied, they vulcanize the rubber (stamp their pattern into the fresh rubber) with a fresh tread pattern, and in this case, the Guard Dog M/T.
Remolded retread process:
- Apply an unvulcanized layer of rubber and balance the tire prior to remolding
- Cure the tire for approximately 60 minutes
- Close the mold on the tire
- Tire casing with unvulcanized layer is inflated to the proper pressure (expands)
- Expansion conforms rubber into the tread pattern stamp (creating tread design)
- Extended heat and pressure curing occurs
- The tire is now remanufactured back to a completely “new” condition
TreadWright uses the same mold curing process that is standard in all new tire manufacturing plants, however, their original casings are used.
Retread Vs. Remolded Tires?
Retreading involves adhering new rubber only to the tread of the old tire. Remolds however, shave off the old rubber and then apply a new rubber “bead-to-bead,” layer, creating a continuous new surface around the tire.
TreadWright shaves off the old rubber then applies a new rubber layer. Finally, they stamp their tread pattern so the rubber outside essentially makes a new tire.
After the remold process, there might be a thick rubber line or large gaps in the tread pattern. This is because of the new rubber stamp plates, not a defect in the tire.
M/T or A/T (All-Terrain) tires?
If you are debating between an M/T and A/T tire, there are some points to consider.
Generally speaking, M/T tires are louder around town and even more so on the freeway than an A/T tire. However, M/T tires perform better off-road. There is a trade-off here and depending on your driving style will ultimately make the difference in which tire you buy.
Mud Terrain tires are great off-road, but you will hear them on-road. You will hear humming at lower speeds and howling at higher speeds.
M/T tires also give your truck an aggressive look. And even though “aggressive look” comes last for me, it comes first for some guys. I know a guy that drives brand new F350 platinum with an 8″ lift and 40″ Nitto M/Ts.
Needless to say, he doesn’t wheel his truck and you can hear it on the freeway and around town.
What’s the point? Looks.
If you daily commute your 4Runner 10-50 miles on the freeway every day and explore trails on the weekends, most guys would suggest going with an A/T tire. M/T tires are not built for commuting on the freeway as they might be a little too loud for most. Depending on the brand tire, you may hear a loud and consistent “hum” and possibly feel vibrations at the steering wheel.
The vibrations are usually dependant on how often the tires are rotated and balanced but the ‘hum” is usually consistent throughout the M/T lifecycle.
Some M/T tires are loud, have bad steering wheel shake and are a nightmare to balance. Others can sound more like an A/T with zero steering wheel shake and balance just fine.
It really depends on the brand of tire you buy.
If you daily drive your 4Runner around town, put fewer miles on your truck every day and like to off-road a lot, M/T tires might be for you. The wear and tear will be less severe than consistent freeway miles and the noise level shouldn’t bother you as much, if at all. But again, this is all personal preference.
Our 2016 4Runner pictured here is a daily driver with ambitions to go off-road once a month. I don’t have a problem with running M/T tires around town in search of the coming weekends’ off-road performance.
We do have plans for a new lift kit, spacers, and some other off-road goods, so M/Ts are a great option for this Trail Edition 4Runner.
Strictly an Off-Road truck?
If your 4Runner is not your daily driver, and you mostly explore on the weekends, M/T tires are absolutely a great option to consider.
Historically speaking M/T tires handle rocks and general off-road terrain better than A/T tires. When M/T tires have lower PSI, the deep lugs grip and conform to the terrain giving the truck more traction and making the ride much more comfortable on the driver.
The best way to determine whether you want an M/T or A/T tire is to test drive the actual tires you are considering. If you don’t have that option, sift through forums and read through the good and bad on all tires and make your best judgment.
Why TreadWright Guard Dog M/Ts?
We decided to run the TreadWright Guard Dog M/Ts on RR5-S 17X8.5 (6X5.5 | 6X139.7) wheels for our second 4Runner because of the price, the fact they are made in the USA, and for the most part, they got good feedback.
Bottom line, they are $100 less per tire and that is a huge plus when buying a new set of tires.
Keep in mind, this is only our initial review, so we will have a follow-up article coming soon after we put 3000+ miles on these tires.
TreadWright’s Guard Dogs – Around Town Driving
One of the first and most important aspects of a tire is the general “around town” performance. Unless you are strictly wheeling these tires, focusing on what these tires are like getting to the trail or for a daily driver is really important.
The TreadWright’s Guard Dogs around town are surprisingly very well-mannered for M/T tires. When running these tires at full 38 PSI, they feel stable, track well, all while having a minimal road noise (comparative speaking).
Feeling the tires stable on the road with no steering wheel shake and tracking well after good balance and alignment was a really good sign.
The balanced tires reflected straight to the wheel resulting in absolutely zero steering wheel shake. And, with hands off the wheel, a spot-on alignment from Big-O-Tires resulted in dead-on tracking.
You can start to hear the hum of the tires around 30-40mph. You can hear the tires humming at 30 with windows down but when you roll the windows up, they quite down. You can offset the hum around 40-50mph with your sunroof open or your music at a level 4 out of 10.. if you will.
Either way, they are not bad on the road around town under 50mph.
What about a really expensive M/T?
I have heard much louder tires, like the Nitto M/Ts Mud Grapplers, for example. Usually, the more money you spend, the better manners the tires have on-road but that’s not always the case. I’ve heard the Nitto M/T Mud Grapplers and Nitto M/Ts Trail Grapplers, both of those tires were loud but the Trail Grapplers are far less noisy.
The TreadWright Guard Dogs are much quieter than both of those tires on-road and for much less money.
One tire that performed incredibly well around town were the Toyo M/T Open County. A guy had a set with 10k miles on a Tundra at the Toyota parts department and he took me for a ride. This was right after I bought my Toyo A/T 2’s. I was impressed with the Toyo M/T but at $320 a pop, they are a bit outside the budget. That’s $1280 for a set before install! That’s really expensive for a set of tires.
In any case, TreadWright Guard Dogs are incredibly impressive at first glance for the price. My set balanced well, aligned correctly and have felt really good around town.
For $150 a tire, they are a great option to consider.
TreadWright’s Guard Dogs – Freeway Driving
After about 60mph the TreadWright Guard Dogs start to bark. They will get loud the faster you go but this is to be expected from M/Ts.
What I found interesting about the Guard Dogs is that I let my girl drive this truck on her 40min commute and she didn’t have one bad thing to say.
I asked her: So what did you think of those tires? Her words exactly… “I didn’t think they were loud at all”.
Her last 4Runner was running the BFG KO2s and the fact that she didn’t notice a big difference was kind of eye-opening.
I know f0r sure, I listen to all the details but maybe some people don’t. Maybe she had the music up, maybe she was on the phone the whole time, who knows.
My point here is that everyone has a different driving style but at the end of the day, they are M/T tires and if you are listening, you will hear them.
I noticed a big difference between TreadWright Guard Dogs M/Ts and my Toyo Open Country A/T 2s on the freeway but that’s because I’ve been driving with A/Ts for 30K miles.
If you slap a set of M/Ts on your truck after A/Ts, I would hope you notice a difference.
TreadWright’s Guard Dogs – Off-Road Review
From what little offroading I did, the Guard Dogs did perform quite well. Granted they were new tires but honestly, they are pretty impressive tires once you get them on the dirt.
I started off by pushing the tires at high-speed on a gravel road with lots of dips at full PSI to see how they responded and wow did they. The deep self-cleaning lugs on the tires are great for absorbing bumps, humps, whips, and dips. They are honestly smoother than my Toyo AT 2s at full PSI. I was shocked.
I then aired down far to 15 PSI and the Guard Dog M/Ts with the Falcon Suspension we have installed did incredibly well. The tires felt spongy underneath the truck soaking up just about anything in their path. Crunching over sticks and throwing rocks off to the side like nothing, these tires are built for the dirt, not the pavement.
In 4HI and speeds, they can tolerate just about anything you would need them to.
In 4Lo and 2-4mph, I put them face up against a few rocks and ledges on the trail. To my surprise on jealousy, they crawled smoother and easier than my Toyo AT 2s. I had crawl envy as my white truck is more built and this is our second 4Runner project (three 5th gens for me so far and five tires later).
With the 4Runner in 4Lo ad no push on the pedal, the truck climbed up a small ledge I normally need to give it some gas on. The Guard Dog M/Ts dig deep and provide impressive traction.
I pushed the truck through a few water crossings but nothing to write home about or put any details on.
I have not experienced the tires in Mud, Sand, or Snow and from what I have heard and read, these tires kick ass in those three categories as well. I am anxious to get these tires back out on some new terrain this fall and when the rains come.
We will have an updated post this coming mid-winter.