Retread Tires — WildSnow Silverado Gets Agro Snow Eaters

Post by blogger | October 10, 2012      
Treadwright tires on 2500 Silverado Duramax. This thing eats front tires for breakfast, so we'll see how the soft tread compound on these does. One thing for sure, they'll grip snow and ice as well as anything.

Treadwright retread Guard Dog M/T meats on 2500 Silverado Duramax. Due to the weight of the engine and front bumper, this rig eats front tires for breakfast, so we'll see how the soft tread compound on these does. One thing for sure, they'll grip snow and ice as well as anything.

They laughed at me in Europe when I told them we covered truck tires at But blog readers didn’t laugh (at least for the most part) when back in 2008 we tested environmentally friendly and supposedly wallet preserving retreads from Treadwright.

Though I was happy with my first try at using retreads, I made the mistake of only buying four tires. When one was damaged, I couldn’t replace it (due to Treadwright discontinuing that tread design) and thus ended up with a mis-match. That was ok for the old gaser Silverado, but the newer 2009 Duramax is overall more sensitive to tire diameter discrepancies — to the point that if you delay rotating your tires and pair a more worn meet with a newer tire, you get weird behavior such as the truck tending to stay in power mode longer and the steering feeling stiff (not to mention the rear posi diff needing tires of the same diameter to work properly).

Treadwright Guard Dog M/T tires.

Treadwright Guard Dog M/T tires.

Not a big deal, as buying 5 tires gives you a compatible spare you can rotate in to get more overall life for your tire set– that is, if you don’t get lazy about those tire rotations!

The numbers worked out this way: I got five Guard Dog M/T tires from Treadwright. They’re built with a rubber compound they call KEDGE (soft, with walnut shells and glass powder, said to be awesome on ice but makes the tires wear quite a bit faster). Since we use this truck for extreme service on icy and snowy roads, the tires were also purchased as ready for studs, which were installed by the local tire shop who did the mount and balance.

Here is how the numbers worked out:

From Treadwright, the five 265/75 R16 tires totalled to $699.00 including shipping. Having them mounted and balanced here will be an additional $163.00, for a total of $862.00.

From Big 0, an equivalent tire is about $1,250 for five, out the door with studs.

Initially that saves $388.00. Not bad for getting a set of perfectly good and environmentally friendly tires.

The catch? Big 0 will rotate a previous customer’s tires for free, even if the particular tires were not bought from Big 0 (a method of bringing in business), but if you need a balance it’s $14 per wheel. If it’s a Big 0 tire they’ll rotate AND balance for free.

Thus, let’s say I get 35,000 miles out of these 5 snow tires, and rotate every 4,000 miles (yeah, I’m lazy). That’s about 9 rotations. Out of those 9, I’ll probably need a re-balance 4 times, meaning I’ll shell out another $224.00 for balancing, making the total cost of running the Treadwrights is $1,086, for a savings of only $164.00 over a Big 0 brand tire with free balancing.

Whew, not that great in the end, kind of embarrassing really, considering I could have gotten a totally new set of tires for just $164.00 over the cost of the Treadwrights.

Consolation prize? I’m betting these are super grippy snow and ice tires, perhaps better than anything I can get at our local tire shops. But mostly, I AM green, baby. Treadwright claims that their tires “save up to 70% of the oil and materials needed to make a new tire.”

Summary of bummer: Treadright claims “You can …save 50% or more over the price of a truly comparable new tire.” In my case not even close, but we’ll take the green benefit and the small money savings in return for the fun of experimenting with these tires Perhaps better deals exist for mounting, studding and rotations so some of you out there could still come out way ahead. And I’ll admit, I wish this would have worked out better…

(Note, retread tires get a bum rap. You can find a number of websites with stories about failed retreads. What such websites fail to explicate is if the failed tires were a. underinflated for their load or rating, b. running with exceeded load capacity, c. running over or near their speed rating. While I’ve got a moderate amount of concern about how well our retreads will hold up, I’m not overly worried about a catastrophic failure any more than I worry about my OEM tires. In fact, no matter what tire we run I know it’s my job to make sure they’re inflated correctly for whatever load I’m hauling, and inspected frequently. Also, I’ll be honest here and if we do have some sort of failure that seems unusual it’ll be reported immediately.)


16 Responses to “Retread Tires — WildSnow Silverado Gets Agro Snow Eaters”

  1. Jason lam October 10th, 2012 10:21 am

    These look like the old style good year mt/r. Wonder what diff in performance the bands have

  2. Karl October 10th, 2012 10:50 am

    I’ve been using a set of Treadwrights on our GMC Sierra 2500 (4WD, w/ pop-up camper on the bed at all times). I have the E load range BFG All-Terrain copies, non-kedge grip. They’re wearing evenly, but wearing fast — I haven’t rotated them, but need to do that, as the rear tires have worn noticeably more than the front, and only about 6000-7000 miles on the set of tires.

    Good traction, good price (can get them mounted & balanced at Walmart for around $10 apiece), but the tread wear has me thinking that I won’t buy them again.

  3. Lou Dawson October 10th, 2012 7:29 pm

    Karl, good tip on mount/balance at Walmart…

    I think on some of Treadwright tires they do use a rather soft rubber compound. The ones we got are super soft. I like that for a snow tire, but not for a summer tire.

  4. Bar Barrique October 10th, 2012 8:21 pm

    I’m not sure that I would use retreads on a diesel pick-up. These trucks are heavy, and, their tire requirements are different than lighter vehicles (what casings are they retreading?). I have a F350 powerstroke. I have used three different winter tires so far: Toyo Open Country G-02 plus, Yokohama Geolander, and, most recently the Blizzak w965.
    So far; I my favourite is the Toyo. The Yokohama’s performed well, but they wore out more quickly than the Toyo’s, and, failed due to broken belts.
    I bought the Blizzaks last season, and, they are going back on the truck next week. These tires are rated for commercial use, and, have higher inflation pressures that result in a rougher ride. Their performance is a bit less impressive on ice than the others. I guess time will tell on how long they will last.

  5. Lou Dawson October 10th, 2012 9:01 pm

    Good points and tips Bar, thanks!

    They’re load range E, same as the OEM tires with max inflation pressure 80 PSI. Plenty of beef. Interestingly, they sent me a set of load rang D tires that looked nice, but when I noticed that Treadwright had Fedex pick up the tires and swapped for load rang E.

    The weight of the truck is indeed an issue, especially on the front tires. My truck is a bit nose dived when not loaded (typical) which is even harder on the front tires than a level truck. I’ve been thinking of adding a small lift to the front so I can back off on the torsion bars, which are cranked up to compensate for our gigando front bumper.

    It never ends. But it’s fun.


  6. christian October 12th, 2012 6:40 am

    Do you use studded tires? I switched to that when I switched to a heavy 4×4, as there is much more mass to be stopped.

  7. Lou Dawson October 12th, 2012 8:03 am

    Christian, I always use studs in winter, but always swap for summer. Not sure how the studs will hold up in the soft rubber of these tires, especially the front tires which have huge weight on them and lots of steering force from the long wheelbase…. I’ll definitely do a report as soon as I see enough wear and tear to relate. Lou

  8. Troy October 13th, 2012 10:33 am

    Lou, I’m not sure you’re thinking correctly about the load on the front tires due to the “nose dive” and the torsion bar adjustment being increased over stock.

    Neither of those things puts more weight on the front tires. Installing a lift and dialing back the t-bar won’t take any load off your front tires. They have to hold up the weight of the front of the truck, which isn’t changed.

  9. Lou Dawson October 13th, 2012 11:32 am

    Troy, perhaps the slight rake of the truck is not a big factor in additional load to the front tires, but it’s basic physics.

    Take a balanced beam, scale under each end will show equal weight. Tilt beam, scale under lower end will continue to show more weight until beam is vertical, at which point 100% of the weight will be on the lower end of the beam. Again, basic physics.

    Now, of course the tires have to hold up the weight of the _front_ of the truck. In this we agree. What I’m saying is the rake forces the front tires to hold up more of the _overall_ weight.


  10. Stevie D October 15th, 2012 4:09 pm

    Toyo M-55 siped and studded are the best snow tires out there….they last as well…a looooong time

  11. Chuck October 16th, 2012 11:27 am

    We just started to use TreadWrights here at Aspen Digger. Curious to know how they will hold up to construction use.

  12. dillon October 16th, 2012 11:38 am

    I agree with Stevie D on this one. Toyo m55s are a great tire. Pretty pricey, but definitely worth it as they typically outlast any other tires I’ve used by a large margin.

  13. Joe Risi October 16th, 2012 11:56 am

    I personally have been extremely interested in these tires. I had Goodyear Wrangler Duratrac studded on my truck this winter. My primary reason for selecting those over others was their tread pattern was the most aggressive A/T tread available while still being quite on roads. I took the tires through 2ft+ drifts and extremely icy conditions in which they performed amazing.
    The one factor that keeps concerning me is how fast they wear out and the astronomical price for a replacement set.
    I’ve noticed several construction, DOT, and plow trucks have Duratracs (in the 10 ply version I assume) but they all exhibited extremely fast wear to the point of being nearly bald.
    Looking forward to hearing how these perform/wear this winter.

  14. Greg November 25th, 2012 8:10 am

    I’ve run three sets of the treadwrights now in the Guard dog. one set was messed up due to truck issues that were not caught in time. I run them on an 85 F250HD. your newer trucks do not put near the abuse on them as mine. It pulls heavy horse trailers, climbs rocky gravel roads and pull in snow and mud just fine. If properly handled, these tires will outlast “new” tires. I put a piece of rebar thru one, patched it and ran it two months before it blew. even then it did not separate. I recommend these to most people. Wouldn’t put them on a long-tripper that never needed aggressive tires. But I’ve gotten 35,000 out of the old OTR MT’s on a jeep cherokee. Enjoy them.

  15. Lou Dawson November 25th, 2012 8:31 am

    Hi Greg, thanks for chiming in. I just did my first rotation of the Guard Dogs, Kedge. Not enough wear to get a read on their life, but no problems so far. They grip snow and ice amazingly well, and with studs too it’s almost like I have chains on. I did notice that the Kedge rubber chunked out a bit when used for a bit of rocky off-road, but that didn’t bother me as that sort of travel is clearly not what they’re intended for.

  16. John November 4th, 2013 11:55 am

    Lou and all,
    My Michelins on my 2002 Toyota Tacoma TRD don’t really drive well on hard pack and ice, nor in say 6″ of soft over hard pack.

    I am trying to decide between the Goodyear Duratrack w/studs and the Bridgstone Blizzak DM V1. I have never driven a studded tire, and all the test I read say the Blizzak has better hard snow and ice traction then a studded tire.

    For spring approach stuff, I like the idea of a mud tread to chew threw soft snow. I can lock the rear diff in soft suff.
    I ran large Goodyear MTRs years ago.

    Do you think a studded mud tread will drive well on hard pack and ice on a light truck?

    Any other suggestions?

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