For years people have been trying to find ways of wheeling at a lower cost. As all of us are aware this sport is not cheap. In fact a set of decent tires alone will set you back $1000 or more!
MOABJEEPER Magazine is always looking for ways to wheel on a budget. We?ve run a few articles on retread tires in the past (our most recent in 2004) and figured it was time to check in again and see what?s new. Not the least of the changes the company has made is the name. High-Tec Re-treading is now known as TreadWright, Inc. The company is trying to move into the medium light truck tire market so they figured a name change couldn?t hurt. Along with the new name are some new tire sizes and tread patterns. One thing that hasn?t changed over the years is the first rate quality they deliver.
We called TreadWright and spoke with Joel in March last year. He was very accommodating and really wanted us to put some miles on their brand new 33x12.50 by 17s - yes I said 17s. As many are aware, more and more vehicles are coming on 17 inch rims (New JKs for example). We were a little iffy at first but figured, hey this is exactly what we are looking for - something different and new.
We obviously had to get new rims for the vehicle (2000 Jeep TJ). We were able to pick up some cheap 17? 5 on 4.5 bolt pattern rims from Summit Racing.
The installation was simple. We took them to a local Sam?s club, and for about $5.00 per tire to mount and balance, we where ready to go. The tires balanced very well at no more than 2oz on any one tire.
Ok so how did they do? We were able to test the tires in both the dry heat of Moab, Ut and the cold wet trails of Tellico, NC.
In Moab we encountered the same dry hot slick rock that we are all used to. The tires performed great with only one setback?..Usually on 15? rims we would air the tires down to about 10-12 lbs; however, with the reduced side wall on 17? rims and 33? tires we had to air down to nearly 7lbs to get the same type of traction that we did with a 15? rim. Once we hit the right air pressure, these tires performed great! They were able to stand up to the heat with no issues, and they were just as ?sticky? as other tires we?ve used.
After the Moab Trip in April, we continued to rack up the miles driving daily on these tires with no peeling of the retread from the carcass. This is a major concern for most people considering retreads, but for our set (and all the ones we?ve run in the past) it proved to be a non-issue.
So fast forward to October 2007 and Tellico, NC. Once again we deflated the tires to less than 10 psi and began our journey into the Tellico Trails.
The Trails around Tellico are known for being muddy and wet at times; however, on our trip we were unable to find a single decent mud spot to give these tires a try. Don?t worry, though, we did find plenty of good mud on other wheeling trips throughout the year and the tires performed as we would expect from any good mud tire.
It was on this trip that we first noticed a few issues with the tires, (not in manufacturing). Unlike in Moab, the rocks in Tellico don?t heat up as easy if at all therefore the tires stay at a colder temperature. These cooler temperatures seemed to make the rubber of the tread more brittle, and with the strain of wheeling the Tellico rocks, caused some lugs to chunk off unnaturally (kind of like an eraser). We had noticed some cracking before, but this trip was the first instance of really bad chunking.
We talked to Joel at Treadwright about it. They were aware of the issue and were not happy about it. Subsequently we learned they had changed part of their process. They appreciated the feedback, and you can read their response below.
A little about the tires we tested:
These retread tires are safe on the steering axles up to 33? tires. Any size above that is strictly made for Off-Road use. The tires we tested are the Green Diamond edition. Here?s what TreadWright has to say on the Green Diamond concept."
?In recent years an Icelandic company, New Industries, has worked at developing a new type of tire - Green Diamond Tires. These tires are specifically intended for winter driving, but are also meant for year-round use. The Green Diamond granules (1 mm), which are comparable in strength to diamonds, are evenly embedded in the tire tread during manufacture. As the tire tread gradually wears, new Green Diamonds continually ?appear? on the surface. In addition to being safe, these tires are very environmentally friendly: noise and air-pollution levels are no greater than from regular, unstudded tires. And Green Diamond tires are particularly well suited for use with ABS break systems?
As mentioned previously, the main issue most people are concerned about with retreaded tires is how well the carcass and tread stay together. We had no issues with that part at all.
The main issue we observed over the last year was with the "chunking" of the tread. Aside from that, The Pro Comp carcasses our tires were made from held up very well.
All-in-all the tires have been wearing great. On the road they are just as loud as any other mud terrain tire. They are definitely worth the money for tires that will be used on a trail rig or a daily driver.
The folks at TreadWright have the retreading process down to a science. We definitely recommend these tires to anyone looking for a good performing mud tire while still keeping some extra change in your pocket for other mods.
Comments from TreadWright Inc.
"The "chunking" issue was attributted to a rubber we were using with one batch from a supplier that we no longer use for this reason. While they would not stand behind their product, we continue to stand behind ours; and it has cost us thousands of dollars. With the new supplier of the raw rubber in here since last July we have not seen any further problems with this."
Just so you are aware Treadwright has offered to send us another set of these tires so we can see the difference.