Test all limits in the Nissan Navara
Test all limits in the Nissan Navara

GOODYEAR WRANGLER AT/SA’s KEVLAR MYSTERY?

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THE GOODYEAR WRANGLER AT/SA’s “SILENT” SECRET…

“What is the perfect 4×4 tyre?”

Engineers would probably argue over things like compounds, coefficients and kinetic energy; but, from a user’s point of view, what would a perfect off-road tyre be? Surely such a product would feature:

  • Traction: It must provide grip on a variety of terrain types.
  • Strength: It must be puncture resistant.
  • Fuel economy: It must be lightweight.
  • Comfort: It must be flexible.
  • Price: It must be affordable.

You may have noticed that many of these features contradict one another. How does a tyre remain strong and puncture-resistant, while still offering a flexible sidewall, lightweight construction and a low selling price? And, does such a tyre even exist?

Some would say it’s impossible; but others would name the Goodyear Wrangler AT/SA.

But should they?

goodyear wrangler

SILENT ARMOUR

It’s no secret that Goodyear uses Kevlar in some of their products, and the Wrangler MT/R is one such tyre. The prospectus of Kevlar suggests that an off-road tyre can reduce its rubber construction, but remain equally puncture-resistant. This means better ride comfort and fuel economy, without compromised strength.

The Wrangler AT/SA proudly markets its Silent Armour technology. So, what is Silent Armour? Well, that information is surprisingly difficult to come by, but according to public perception, it’s the inclusion of a Kevlar belt.

But, here’s the thing: SilentArmor has NOTHING to do with Kevlar!

Contrary to popular belief, it would seem the South-African-make Goodyear Wrangler AT/SA is not manufactured with Kevlar.

For many years, tyre dealers have been spinning this tale, convincing consumers that the Wrangler AT/SA possesses the highly durable fabric.

It’s a great sales pitch; the prospect of Kevlar suggests that the tyre is strong, lightweight, comfortable, and fuel efficient. And to top it off, it’s one of the cheapest tyres on the market!

The reality, however, is that Kevlar is not cheap, but is actually bloody expensive – which would partly explain why Goodyear stopped selling Kevlar-equipped all-terrains in South Africa a few years ago.

goodyear-wrangler-at-sa-8-of-8
The Goodyear Wrangler all-terrain that’s made in Canada and the US, is in fact, manufactured with a Kevlar belt. You may have noticed that many Jeep Wranglers in South Africa were fitted with these tyres. You’ll also notice that they are NOT cheap tyres.

More importantly, there has been little attempt to re-inform the public that the AT/SA is not equipped with Kevlar.

So what’s the real story? Does the AT/SA have Kevlar, or not? Well, if the tyre’s sidewall is anything to go by, the answer is: NO, it doesn’t.

So what’s the real story? Does the AT/SA have Kevlar, or not? Well, if the tyre’s sidewall is anything to go by, the answer is: NO, it doesn’t.

While the Wrangler AT/SA proudly bears the Silent Armour logo on its sidewall, there is no mention of the words DuPont, or Kevlar. Presumably, if Kevlar were fitted to these tyres, the manufacturer would write the term in bold letters and make a big hoo-ha about it. But they don’t.

So, who started the rumour? It seems clear that previously there was a Kevlar-equipped all-terrain available, and when the tyre was phased out, no-one bothered to mention that Kevlar was phased out with it.

Nonetheless, this subject provides three important things to remember when shopping around for 4×4 products and / or accessories…

One: You get what you pay.

Two: If the price is too good to be true, that’s generally because it is.

And three: Don’t believe everything you hear from a tyre salesman.

By Joe Soap

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