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Hi-tech Re-treaded Tires
After a glowing review from Four Wheeler Magazine (Oct 2000) I decided to give them a try.
Here are some pictures of the new tires
 
Carcass: Michelin LTX A/T
Actual tire size: 30.5X8.35


Thumb Comparison
1" spacing on the inside shoulder lug measurement.
4" between outside shoulder lugs. Has a scalloped shoulder every other lug.

Hi-Tec Re-treads 31X10.5 Mud Tread
By: George "Kickstand" Pandoff
Comparison vehicles and tires...

98 Jeep Tj, open diff, 31X10.5 Hi-Tec, and stabilizer disconnected
Jeep YJ, open diff, 31X10.5 Pirelli Scorpion (I think) all-terrain, & stabilizer disconnected
Cherokee Sport, open diff, stock tire size Goodyear Wrangler all-terrains
00 Dodge Ram, limited slip, BFG AT's

First let me say the people at HT were very helpful. I asked numerous questions about their tires and they were more than courteous.

I ordered a set of five tires that arrived in five business days via UPS. Each tire was packaged in its own plastic bag with the blue colored white lettering of new tires. As promised by HT, all were a matched set of Michelin LTX A/T carcasses.

Time for the real inspection...

Each tire weighed in at 40lbs. 1 inch gapping between shoulder lugs, alternating scalloped lugs, and 4 inch spacing between non-scalloped lugs. Shoulder seams & tire beads all looked excellent. No sidewall damage on any tires.

On the road again...

The tires were mounted on the 15X8 wheels of my Jeep Wrangler Tj. In the 5 days the tires were on the vehicle, I accumulated 400 road miles (33 psi) and 30-40 low pressure (18 psi) off road miles.

At less than 5 mph you will get the standard vibration feel of the lugs hitting the pavement. Above 10 mph they will start to smooth out. At highway speeds they feel stable, but you are aware that you are driving a mud tread.

As for the road noise, the tires have a hum that is a little louder than the wind noise at 70mph on the freeway. After 1.5 hours of steady driving I did have a minor hum in my ear. Not unbearable, but something that I would not want to do daily for more than one hour.

Over the river and through the woods...

Plenty of conditions were tried for the off-roading. Snow, mud, slickrock, smooth steep hills w/wo snow, and steep rocky hills. I chose 18 psi because that was the point at which the sidewalls started to bulge but I was not losing height.

Snow & mud: Tires cleared well and went through many areas in two wheel that would have required four, on the all terrains.

Slick rock: Traction was excellent which is a no brainer on dry slick rock. As for wet/muddy slickrock, they had no better or worse traction than any of the other comparison vehicles (listed above).

Smooth STEEP hills w/wo snow: On this type of hill, the all-terrain tires performed better. It came down to more rubber contact with the smooth surface.

**Note: differential was open, with a limited slip or better there would not have been a problem. In fairness, the others were open (except one) as well.

Steep rocky hills: In the rough and rocky these tires shined. They paddled through the looser stuff and grabbed on to the solid stuff.

The test vehicle, comparison vehicles, and tires

So far I would recommend these tires. You could not beat the deal: $320 including shipping, for 5 tires with 2 year 24,000 mile warranty. I am most happy about the fact that if I ever slice a sidewall, ruining a tire, I am only out $40 instead of $100+.

In February, I will be giving these tires a 5-day Moab rockcrawling test. I will follow up with a report on their performance in Moab and on our co-existence after one month.

For those interested in available tire sizes and prices you can visit Hi-Tec

Moab tire test
The tires performed outstanding!

As before, I ran 18 psi. I am satisfied this is the correct psi for this tire on a Jeep Tj.

Rubber grip was excellent on the slickrock.

One Year Update 2 Jan 2002
After one year/10,000 miles of on and off roading, I can say the tires are doing great.

My initial concern was whether or not they would hold together under the 100+ degree temperatures of the hot Utah sun. Not too long after I had them on I noticed some peeling up along the edge of the re-tread. It was nothing, just the extra residue on the carcass. Once the tires cleaned themselves of this residue I continued to monitor them for any peel up. With 1.25 years on these tires they show no signs of peeling away from the carcass. Without a doubt, I would recommend these tires.

As a side note, these tires bring a silly grin to your face every time someone rips a $150+ tire. I just walk over, pat my $40 tire and keep grinning.

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