With so many new light truck tires being introduced every year, it’s easy to forget some of the other great options out there, especially if you don’t see them at off-road races and events. Stout and proven, the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R continues to be a go-to tire for serious truck, Jeep and off-road enthusiasts around the world, and there is a good reason for it. They’re well built, tough and last a long time.
We’ve run Goodyear MT/Rs on our personal rigs for many years and have nothing but good things to say about them. They’ve taken us on some awesome off-road adventures over the years, and have even gotten us out of hairy situations. When it came time to replace the 10+ year old Wrangler MT/R tires on the trail rig we thought it would be smart to stick with a tire that works and that we trust. The thing is, the Wrangler MT/R has been discontinued. Yup, it’s gone.
Now don’t get too excited. Here’s where some confusion kicks in, and we’d like to help set the record straight. Goodyear did stop making the Wrangler MT/R almost a decade ago, but it was replaced with a newer updated version called the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with DuPont Kevlar. They share a similar name, but are very different. Confused? Don’t blame you.
Old vs New
The old Goodyear Wrangler MT/R was known for it’s tough off-road characteristics and durability. We’ve run into several 4×4 owners on the trail still running the old MT/R and have shared notes on how great this tire is. One thing that often comes up is, “too bad they don’t make them anymore.” Although it’s true that the old MT/R is no longer made, Goodyear is still making the newer Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar. Just to be 100% sure, we contacted Goodyear directly. We were able to confirm that Goodyear is still in the light truck tire business and that they will continue to make the Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar into the foreseeable future.
The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar brings a number of new tire innovations to the mud-terrain segment. The completely new tire design uses Kevlar-reinforced sidewalls to increase puncture resistance by 35 percent. The new MT/R also features an asymmetric tread design, which provides aggressive off-road traction and enhanced handling on the road. For this new tire, Goodyear uses an advanced Silica Rubber compound that gives the tough mud terrain tire a sure-footed feel on any terrain, wet or dry.
Another feature we really like on the new MT/R is its wraparound tread design. The Staggered Sidewall Shoulder Blocks help deliver impressive traction on rocks, deep mud, sand and snow. We’ve found the added sidewall grip to be especially beneficial on tight trails that require squeezing by rocks, and when tackling obstacles that require off camber approaches.
Like many other Wrangler MT/R owners out there still running them well past the safety expiration date, we needed to get new rubber. It’s a pity because they still work and look good. Since the old MT/R is no longer made, it was time for us to upgrade to the next generation Wrangler mud terrain tire. We went from a 37-inch old Wrangler MT/R to a new 37-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar.
The old MT/Rs were mounted on 15-inch wheels, but as some of you may know, it’s getting harder and harder to find large diameter tires for 15-inch wheels. We had to upgrade to a 17-inch wheel in order to run the tire we really wanted. The new wheel/tire combo for the Bronco consists of 37-inch Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar mounted on KMC – XD229 Machete Crawl XD Series wheels.
Hit the Dirt
As soon as we had the new Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar installed, we started putting miles on them. We’ve logged over 1,100 miles of mixed on- and off-road driving, including off-road trips to the Mojave Desert and Death Valley. We even had a chance to play in the snow and do some crawling at our local mountains. All we can say is that these new MT/Rs are awesome. They have excellent traction off-road and the extra layers of sidewall protection help give the driver confidence on the trail.
The sidewalls on the new MT/R with Kevlar have a nice flex to them when aired down. We’ve gotten them through trails with sharp rocks without any slashing or gauging to any part of the tire. In some instances, we’ve even had to use the sidewall to help us scoot around big boulders. That’s a lot of pressure and stress on the sidewall if you ask me, but the MT/R with Kevlar just crawled away with only a little rubber off the face.
We drive to and from the trail on paved roads most of the time, so we really appreciate a well-balanced tire that has good on-road driving characteristics with minimal road noise—even if it’s a mud terrain tire. The Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar has proven to be good on the highway and doesn’t wander. It also wears really well.
We’ve rolled these new MT/Rs down lonely hot asphalt highways in Death Valley (which by the way hit 130 degrees this week), trashed them around rocks and boulders, and even unleashed some V8 power in the sand–the wear so far is non-existent. The tires look as new as the first day they were installed. It’s crazy, I know. It must be something in the rubber.
Although the Goodyear Wrangler MT/R with Kevlar was first introduced almost a decade ago, it’s still a strong choice today for real world off-road use. They run true, are durable, perform well off-road, and are designed to drive your rig to the trail and get you back home. They also won’t show sidewall cracks like other tire brands after a year.
The only complaints we have with the new MT/R is that they aren’t offered in larger diameter sizes for 15- and 16-inch wheels. This puts many older Jeep and 4×4 owners in a tough spot. If you want to run a 35-inch diameter tire or larger, you will need to run a 17-inch wheel. This isn’t just Goodyear however, it’s a tire industry trend. They’re also not cheap, starting at $243 each (31×10.50R15), they go as high as $680 each for the largest production size (42X14.50R17LT).
But as we have learned in life, good things rarely come cheap, and these tires are definitely worth it.
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