Those of you keeping up with the OVERCLOCK3D build over the last year are probably aware that I’ve been running Treadwright Guard Dogs on my 2015 Jeep Wrangler JK Unlimited since November. I did an off-road review fairly early on (you can find that here) and the expectation was that I would also give you my on-road impressions. Truth be told, I really wanted to wait until I had some miles on the tires before I rendered my thoughts. That’s more fair for you, and Treadwright. Now that I have been running these tires for about 8 months… and over 20,000 miles… I feel like it’s time to tell you what I think about the Guard Dog on road manners. I just couldn’t bring myself to just talk about my commute to work every day, so I decided to wait until after my latest adventure because that’s why I built this Jeep!
Okay, I get it. The commute is important, because quite frankly, that’s where most of us that use our vehicles as a daily driver turn a majority of the miles on the odometer. So don’t worry, I’ll make sure I cover the elements that are important to you commuters. However, telling you a little about my latest adventure will help you understand how well these tires have held up, and how they continue to perform day after day after day.
The OVERCLOCK3D Colorado Adventure started with a 2,000 highway drive from Maryland to the center of Colorado. We drove that 2,000 miles in 2 days, btw. Once we got to Colorado, I aired down to about 20 psi. That’s my default for adventure wheeling where I will face both paved and unpaved roads. I find that to be a good balance between on road stability and off-road traction and comfort. There are times where I aired down for specific trails, and in those cases I usually drop to 13-15 psi. On the highway, I run about 28 psi normally.
Once we left the highway, we logged 975 off-road miles. Now, granted, there were stretches of pavement we had to take during that period (out of necessity) but a large majority of that was honest to goodness dirt, rock, gravel, mud, sand, and snow. Then… you might have seen this coming… it was another 2000 mile highway trip back home.
The Treadwright Guard Dogs handled everything I have thrown at them, as they always have. During that two week Colorado adventure, I didn’t have a single tire issue. Not one. Not a flat. Not a traction problem (although I did chain up to get over a large snow drift). I experienced pretty much every road condition you could face, and temperature extremes from 50 to 104 in the same day.
It’s probably also important to note that I was pretty heavily loaded. I had gear for myself and my Jeep, as well as gear for my friend Drew and his motorcycle, for two weeks.
Over 20,000 miles on this set of tires. I am very pleased with how they are holding up. I have lots of Jeeper friends that are keeping up with these tires as much as I am, and every time I go to an event or meetup, someone will always comment about how well the tires are holding up. It’s not just me and some distorted perception. The people around me are noticing the same thing!
I’ll break the rest of my thoughts into five categories: Dry Traction, Wet Traction, Snow Traction, Tire Wear, and Road Noise. That’s really what’s going to be important for a road review on any set of tires.
These have been fantastic. I can’t tell you much more about dry traction other than the fact that they go when I need them to go, and they stop when I need them to stop. The road feel is neutral, so they don’t seem to influence the steering wheel feel at all. Once properly balanced (Treadwright recommends “static” balancing) they seem to roll true. One thing that is notable about the road feel is that they don’t feel like mud tires. Many mud tires tend to have a very distinct “lug feel” at low speeds. These are very smooth and don’t have that sensation. They actually behave more like All-Terrain tires in that regard because they are very smooth.
These tires have been great in wet conditions. I’ve experienced a lot of that too! There are some spots where I am used to spinning the rear tires when it’s wet. There’s a certain on-ramp for the freeway that I take to work every day, and I have to get on it to get up the ramp. When it’s wet, my former tires have all spun a little right there as the traction broke. These tires do not do that! Wet braking feels solid, and I experience very little hydroplaning. Obviously…the deeper the water is, the more likely that is to happen, but they do feel super stable everywhere I drive. The siping built into the tread design really helps a bunch here I am sure.
I actually covered the Guard Dog snow traction in my Off-Road Review, but it’s worth mentioning again here. The snow performance is surprisingly good. I have driven through and over a lot of snow and ice over the last 8 months, and these tires do the job! They have a solid feel, good control, and can move some snow! Only the deepest of snow on the Colorado adventure have required chains, but most of that was because I had to also climb up onto the shelf of the snow drift. Most people will never have to deal with that sort of situation.
These tires are wearing nicely. I rotate all 5 of my tires at each oil change, so with that alone, I estimate an additional 20% of tire life, but these are really hanging in there. Often times, the softer rubber compound that makes a great mud and off-road tire means a compromise with on-road tire life expectancy. This may be the case to a degree, but the tire wear is very subtle. I still have plenty of tread left on these even after I have put them through so much in the last 8 months. There are some chunks and cuts on the lugs, as you would expect, but it’s nothing that is a concern or outside of normal expectations.
This is the only negative thing that I can come up with about these tires. They whine. They are loud at speed on the road. It is what it is. Now, before you consider that a deal breaker… just remember this. Almost all mud tires make noise on the road. With a few exceptions, mud tires that are built for off-road traction tend to have a design that results in noisy pavement driving. Now with that said, it’s not bothersome to me. It’s a higher pitch sound (whine) than a majority of mud tires, so they have a unique sound. My son and friends have told me they know it’s me coming down the street because of that unique sound. One has said, however, it’s not overly loud or annoying in any way, but just characteristically an “OVERCLOCK3D” sound. So I guess the downside of me telling everyone how great these tires are is that my sound won’t be so unique around here. 🙂
So there you have it! This is my rundown on these tires. I couldn’t be more pleased. Would I run them again if given the choice? Absolutely! No question. While I enjoy testing a variety of products, these tires are definitely on the “potentially permanent” OVERCLOCK3D build list.
So tying all this together… The on-road and off-road performance on these tires have been so great that I happily dub them “Adventure Approved!” When you are heading out for an adventure over 2,000 miles from home, and you can only take a limited amount of gear, what you choose to take becomes important. Tires are a part of that. With all the things that can go wrong, it’s nice when you can depend on the core equipment necessary to get you back home.
Just out of curiosity – did you get the kedge option? I’m looking at tires, and will probably go w/ the 35″ Wardens for my ’16 JKU w/ 3″ homebrew lift, due to road noise issues (I have to keep it semi-quiet for DD and spouse). I’ve just about decided the TreadWright’s are a go, but am hedging on the Guard Dogs vs. Wardens. Right now I have 0% mud offroading w/ this jeep, and intend to use it some, but not heavy. Mostly rocks and trails down here in SE Alabama. But, in my dreams, I’d drive it to NM/AZ/CO/UT (like you did), so I may someday hit that terrain. Then again, a winch and pullpal would help me out there… Thanks for your feedback, I also want to build a low CG ‘lifted’ and capabile JKU.
Chris doesn’t comment here very often. We are actually testing the Wardens on a 2 door Jeep JK. They are much quieter than the Guard Dogs but offer excellent traction. They obviously wouldn’t be as good in deep mud but so far we have zero complaints about their performance.
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