Full time RVing lends itself to socializing and meeting other road warriors with the same wanderlust as you. Although friendships are sometimes forged, oftentimes it is just the recognition of someone you’ve already passed in a park or restaurant that provides you with some familiarity along unknown, open roads.
And what makes “people” recognizable is as varied as the people themselves. Usually, it is their RV set up that most people remember. The size of the unit, colour, brand; all of this and more leaves an impression on other travellers.
So it came as no surprise that it was Edith, our 3500 RAM Cummins dually that caught other’s attention. Certain it was her large hips or roaring engine that was most impressive, we were corrected one evening while pulling into a campground to settle for the night. While passing a group of campers whom we had seen days prior on the road, we heard a shout out from the group, “Hey! It’s that truck with those tires!”
Since the moment they were installed (shout out to Tire Tyme in Leamington, Ontario; excellent service and unbeatable price – in this instance $600 cheaper than any other competitor), there has been a weekly and sometimes daily inquisition into the tires on our truck. So for those campers who are curious or those online researchers looking for performance information, here is True North Nomad’s review of our Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac tires.
Why All Terrain?
Our tire search began because winter arrived in Canada with a bang. We crisscross the country often during all seasons. In winter, weather can change rapidly, unpredictably and without warning; plus most provinces/territories make it a legal requirement to use either snow or mountain/snowflake designated tires.
Lily and I also do a little off-roading which means we’re putting Edith through mud, gravel, sand and soft dirt. Any tire we purchased had to meet the demands of the weather and environments we visit.
From his experience working the oil fields in northern Alberta, to driving the ice roads of the North West Territories, my brother highly recommended the Wranglers, which in his line of work stay on permanently until they need replacing. Perfect! With no home left to store “all-season” tires, the all-terrain was a win, win, win!
The Wrangler Duratracs are some aggressive, behemoth, lugged tires with rockstar, good looks. They are impressive! Especially 6 of them, 10 ply and 18-inch diameter set on a beautiful, monster truck! So not really performance related but hey, who wants an ugly tire?
Coupled with the thunder of the Cummins 6.7 turbo i6, after looking at the large lugs on the Wrangler Duratracs, I was certain we would need to do some sound dampening in the cab. But before I engineered some contraption to keep the noise level down, I decided to check the decibel level with the stock tires and then once again when the new Goodyears were installed.
To ensure similar conditions, the db reading was taken at the same speed, same location in the cab on the same day the tires were switched. This provided the same environment and weather for the tires to perform in. The OEM tires rang in at 65 db which is considered conversation level. After the tire swap, I took the reading again, already hearing a higher pitch coming from my wheels. As I had suspected the Wranglers hovered between 69 – 71 db which is the high side of a conversation or the low end of loud music. A bit louder but negligible really as Lily wasn’t able to hear a difference at all. That could have to do with the fact she plays her music so darn loud but that’s just splitting hairs! High marks to Goodyear for being able to dampen sound in such a large, lugged tire like the Wrangler Duratracs.
Crossing approximately 3600 km from Vancouver Island to Ontario between the months of November to March you have to expect and be prepared for any weather or condition winter will throw at you.
The mountain passes of British Columbia are beautiful and majestic covered in a thick blanket of white. Of course, during our trek it was Lily at the wheel navigating one particular pass when a blizzard decided to hit, something I think she thought I had a hand in orchestrating. As most Canadians, we’re accustomed to driving in snow but Lily mentioned on several occasions she could feel her back end sway from time to time, even though she was keeping a consistent, appropriate speed (80 km/hr or 50 mi/hr) for the weather conditions.
When it was my turn to jump behind the wheel I was given the opportunity as well to drive through blinding snow. And as Lily had mentioned, I too felt the sway from the back end. I realized the sway was on our ascent up the hill where we were giving the truck more power, but the tires were in complete control on the downside of the hills.
My dad had warned me duallies are no advantage in mud or snow, but the weight of Edith is. So once we were aware of what road conditions caused the duallies to sway, we were able to correct the movement with how we drove. Both Lily and I expected more from the performance of the tires in the snow but are unsure whether our lack of back-end grip had more to do with our dually setup vs the actual tires themselves.
Stopping distances remained the same on snow-covered roads. However, like any tire, distances were pushed on slushy and/or ice covered streets. But no more than what we expected.
Rain reviews should be held out on Vancouver Island during the winter months. The island gets a lot of rain. Daily rain. Sometimes, for weeks at a time. We’ve never seen rain like Vancouver Island gets rain! Ok, you get my point. Our Wrangler Duratracs performed flawlessly on the wet pavement. We never hydroplaned or slid. Again this could be due to numerous factors such as tread pattern, truck weight and Lily’s monitoring of my speed, but the tires performed excellently on wet pavement. Stopping distances and curves all remained the same whether it was raining or not.
For anyone who has ever crossed a prairie plain in winter knows that even though there may not be much snow, when a -40° C wind blows across a highway that has been heated slightly by the sun and traffic, black ice is a real possibility! (Its called black ice because you can’t see it. It blends into the colour of the road looking more like a wet spot rather than ice – hence the danger. You don’t know you’ve hit the ice until its too late and all you can do is attempt to recover from the slide).
Of course, we knew we would eventually have to deal with ice since we travel such distances. And of course, it was Lily driving when passing Regina, Saskatchewan when we hit our first patch. The Wrangler Duratracs have sipes to remove the layer of water that collects on the top of the road but that did nothing to prevent us from slipping. Like most tires, the Duratracs performed less than stellar on ice. Again, if ice was visible, sliding could be accommodated for by how we drove.
Although they are All-Terrain, most of these tires will spend the majority of their lifespan on dry pavement. It is important the tire perform without being a distraction to the driver. The Wrangler Duratracs did well in this regard. While the tread pattern is not linear like the OEM brand, I don’t have to over-correct on the steering to keep the truck heading in a straight path. Time will tell how the tread wears, but wear is very subjective depending on many factors including highway vs gravel road driving, inflation, temperature, hauling heavy loads, rotation schedule and even braking habits.
Note: We’ve only ever hauled on dry or wet pavement or gravel – never on ice or snow…. Yet! With temperature fluctuations through rain, mud, loose gravel, potholes, chipseal and oil-treated aggregate surfaces, both Lily and I found the tires performed very well in all conditions while hauling our heavy RV. On that note, many tire shops we stop at while crossing Canada to check inflation and add/release air as needed, all commented how the tires looked comfortable with the weight of our load.
There have been some performance issue in deep snow and on ice with the Goodyear Wrangler Duratracs but have otherwise performed quite well in most conditions we pushed them through. As for off-roading tires, they are exceptional, for wet and dry roads they are excellent, noise is negligible, handling is easy and as the opening of this article eluded too – these tires are unforgettable. Lily and I give the Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires 2 beaver tails up!
Have Goodyear Wrangler DuraTrac tires? Tell us in the comments below if you agree with TNN’s review.
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