Founded: 1982 Founder: American Pacific Industries
Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona, USA
Parent: American Pacific Industries
Gladiator is considered a primary brand of the famous ‘API’ corporation – the America-based worldwide supplier of high-performance and all-terrain tires. Gladiators themselves are regarded as top rubbers for rough terrain, although they aren’t without the flaws.
Who makes Gladiator tires? Some brands manufacture their products themselves, but in this case the parent API is responsible for this, and they don’t necessarily do the best of jobs.
So, Gladiator is not an exclusive American brand, although they fit the American cars pretty nicely. After all, these tires are designed with an idea of an American wheel in mind. It’s not uncommon to see these tires anywhere else, though.
These tires aren’t cheap, mainly. There are a lot of models, but the majority are either high-performance or mud tires, but that’s the price you pay for being able to traverse dirt, snow and other obstacles in your way.
And at that, they are very effective. The grip is generally great under most conditions – only the harshest weather can stop you with these, but that’s hardly the tires’ fault most of the time.
The do have a significant durability problem. They tend to disintegrate faster than expected, and that’s mostly due to constructive issues. Come to think of it, Gladiators have a history of issues faulty tires (the last biggest defect was noticed in 2020, when a lot of tires were called back).
Where are Gladiator tires made? A lot of these tires are created at home, but API has several facilities in Asia – especially in Thailand. They are a worldwide company, remember?
For the amount of money you pay for them (a lot, in many cases), they shouldn’t have a mileage of 20.000. Some don’t even reach this much. Too much constant stress kills them, and that defeats the point of owning a pack of all-terrain tires.
In all fairness, some of their mud tires are pretty cheap in relation to other rubbers of the same caliber. Some all-terrain wear can cost fortunes, and Gladiators are rather in the ‘affordable’ category of mud tires. It still means coughing up a lot of cash, but the performance largely pays it all off.
They are promoted as ‘aggressive-style’ tires, but, truth be told, a lot of aggression kills them too quickly. When wearing Gladiators, you should be careful and drive responsible, even if they tell you to go crazy with this rubber. They aren’t very truthful, and they are probably able to ask less for these because they don’t spend too much on making them.
In short, you’ll probably reach about 40k miles on these given you won’t drive mindlessly through harsh terrain.
The comfort also suffers a bit, especially in the balancing department. After a while you can start feeling a lot of shaking. It’s a clear sign they could build them better than that, although quick rebalancing usually does the trick.
Despite all the criticism, though – they are pretty good. When it comes to doing their actual job (that is, transporting you from point A to point B through terrible environment), they are great. No traction or handling issues, no slippage or sudden component losses. You can rely on these.
It’s good to have these near you, especially if you’re a careful driver and don’t experience a lot of harsh weather all the time. In these ideal circumstances, they are perfectly cost-effective.