Ironman is a subsidiary of the Cooper-owned Hercules tire brand.
Ironman is famous for its budget tires, which are among the cheapest on the market. Does the cheap price of Ironman tires mean they have less quality?
Are Ironman tires as good as other brands?
Ironman tires are considerably cheaper than most premium brands on the market. Thus, they lack performance-enhancing features found on these expensive tires and do not perform as well as the latter. However, Ironman is among the best brands you can buy if you want a budget tire.
How Good Are Ironman Tires Compared to The Big Brands?
As said earlier, Ironman is a budget tire brand that makes cheap tires.
Thus, its tires are designed to give you good—not exceptional—performance at the lowest cost. Affordability is the biggest Unique Selling Point (USP) of the average Ironman tire.
Most, if not all, Ironman tires cost two or three times less than tires from big brands.
For example, Hankook’s iPike winter tire sells for $600 per set, while Ironman’s Polar Trax WPS winter tire costs under $350 per set.
Another example: Pirelli sells a set of all-terrain truck tires for $800, while Ironman’s variant costs over 50% less.
Do These Differences in Price Affect Quality?
It depends on how you look at it.
Big brands spend enormous amounts on research and can develop the best tread compounds and features for their tires. These tires enjoy industry-leading innovation and offer the best in terms of quality and performance.
Budget tire brands like Ironman hardly have millions to invest in R&D. Thus, their tires rarely offer the same level of performance and quality found on big brand tires.
However, this does not mean Ironman tires are worse compared to premium tires. While an Ironman tire cannot be as good as, say, a Pirelli, it can serve as an affordable alternative.
It may not provide as much grip or ride quietness, but, at least, you will get decent performance at a bargain.
In the end, the question is not how good Ironman tires are compared to big brands. You can hardly get quiet performance, exceptional handling, and traction—elements of superb tire performance—on a budget.
The question is whether you want to have some of these qualities at a lower price.
If you do, then Ironman tires are an excellent option.
How Durable Are Ironman Tires?
The “Ironman” name connotes strength and durability, and you may think Ironman tires are extremely durable.
You are not wrong for thinking this way; Ironman tires are fairly durable, given their low prices.
Like other budget tire manufacturers, mileage warranties on Ironman tires are limited and sometimes non-existent.
Notably, the cheapest models in the brand’s all-season category have no mileage guarantee.
However, other tires in the lineup, especially those above $50, have mileage warranties.
Estimated Tread Life:
Even among the warrantied tires, estimated tread life is passable.
The average tread life on Ironman tires is around 40,000 miles. If you are lucky, you may get up to 50,000 miles on certain models.
We must, however, note that the average reliability of Ironman tires is not strange. Generally, low-cost tires often have shorter tread life, resulting from the basic compounds used in making them.
For example, many budget tires (Ironman inclusive) do not use the silica-infused rubber compounds found on premium tires.
High silica content slows down tread wear and prolongs tire life.
In place of silica compounds, Ironman uses a buttress design to increase tread life. Buttresses use a wider tread to reduce wear and prolong tire life.
Do They Last as Long as Bigger Brands?
Traditional manufacturers, such as Goodyear, Pirelli, and parent company, Cooper spends millions on research and development.
Thus, they can develop tire technologies and advanced tread compounds that enhance tread life and durability.
The result is a series of products that last longer compared to the average tire.
Ironman rarely lasts as long as tires from premium brands.
Why? They lack the high-tech tread compounds that promote longer service life on such tires.
This does not mean Ironman tires are not durable or wear out rapidly. It only means they wear out faster than premium tires.
Which is More Efficient?
With this, you may think it is better to buy a premium tire since you would save more money in the end.
However, this is not as true as you think it is.
The Ironman iMove GEN2 A/S is an ultra-high-performance tire designed for sports cars. It starts at a lowly $53 and has an estimated tread life of 35,000 miles (according to Consumer Reports).
One rival of the iMove GEN2 A/S tire is the premium Michelin Pilot Super Sport. This is also an ultra-high-performance tire designed for sporty cars.
However, the Michelin Super Sport costs a hefty $135 (more than double the price of the Ironman GEN A/S). It also has a lower estimated tread life of 30,000 miles.
Yes, we cannot compare the performance of the iMove GEN2 A/S to the Super Sport—the latter wins hands-down.
The iMove tire will give you passable performance at a significantly lower price.
Are Ironman Tires Made in The USA or China?
Ironman makes some of its tires at Cooper’s facility in Findlay, Ohio, USA.
But like other discount brands, Ironman manufactures most of its tires in China and imports them into the United States for distribution.
This is because China offers lower labor costs, which helps Ironman keep prices low on its tires.
In recent years, ‘Made in China’ tires have acquired a reputation for inferior quality. Often, such tires have suffered from complaints of short lifespan and abnormal failure, leading to massive recalls.
In severe cases, the manufacturers involved have been targets of class-action lawsuits accusing them of negligence. The result is a situation where Chinese-made tires have become synonymous with “bad tires.”
However, Ironman differs from brands infamous for dismal tires. The company may make its tires in China, but it retains its American values. It rarely cuts corners to save costs, as many Asian tire brands do.
This explains the low number of complaints recorded by the brand’s tires since its inception.
In addition, Ironman has benefited from its association with the great American tire brand, Cooper. Particularly, it has built a high level of trust among buyers, even though its tires come from China.
With Cooper at the helm, buyers have confidence that they are getting tires that reflect American values of innovation and quality.
Who Makes the Ironman Tires?
The Ironman tire brand is a subsidiary of Hercules Tires, which is also owned by Cooper Tire & Rubber.
This “family tree” can get confusing quickly, we know.
You need not be confused about the maker of Ironman tires, though. Our research shows that Hercules is responsible for the manufacture and distribution of Ironman tires.
Typically, Hercules makes the Ironman tires in China, and thereafter, supplies them to independent dealers in the US.
Hercules mostly supplies the Ironman tires directly to discount tire retailers, especially online sellers, to keep costs down.
Hercules is associated with Cooper, which is among the biggest tire brands worldwide. Cooper is a premium brand that spends enormous amounts of resources on creating advanced tire features.
Eventually, some of the technologies trickle down to Ironman tires and help improve performance.
Are Ironman Tires as Safe as Other Brands?
Recently, budget tires have come under a lot of criticism from automotive experts and buyers.
Reasons for this include limited tread life and an alarming susceptibility to tread separation.
Safety has also been a major talking point: reports of tires blowing out mid-transit have surfaced over the years.
All these mean budget tire brands like Ironman are often perceived as unsafe, particularly when compared to other brands.
However, our research reveals that Ironman tires are often as safe as tires from other brands.
This is because of the brand’s dedication to quality and durability in the production of its tires.
Unique and Cost-Saving:
We explained earlier that Ironman tires are a unique breed of the budget tire. Makers of cheap tires are infamous for adopting extreme cost-saving measures to remain competitive.
This includes a deliberate omission of safety-enhancing features such as nylon cap plies, belt stiffeners, and bead wedges.
Ironman, however, takes a different approach to cost-saving. For example, it does not participate in the manufacture of OEM tires, as this can mean higher prices on its tires.
More so, it mostly targets online retailers able to sell tires cheaply to buyers. These efforts allow the company to make affordable tires without compromising on quality and safety.
In our attempt to determine the safety of Ironman tires, we analyzed recall history for its models.
Recalls are only issued when a fault with the tire can pose a danger to the user.
We found virtually no record of recalls for any of Ironman tires. This only goes to confirm that Ironman tires are as safe as tires from any other brand.
The Ironman brand offers quality, performance, and durability at a low price.
With most of Ironman tires coming in under $50 and $40 in cases, you can save money on your next tire purchase.
Moreover, a diverse range of offerings means you will find something that suits your needs.
If you need cheap tires that can hold up well over time, an Ironman tire is a perfect choice.