Here’s something you probably didn’t know: You, a regular human being, a normal private citizen, a typical average Joe, can go out and purchase tank treads for your automobile. You do not need a permit. You do not need a license. If you act now, you could probably be driving a tank-treaded version of your car by the end of November.
I learned about this last week, when I wrote an article about an automated Sorento with tank treads that Kia revealed at the SEMA show. It turns out these tank treads weren’t made by Kia, and they weren’t some one-off device limited to members of the military, or police forces, or people who think they’re members of the military, but actually they’re the vice president of their local neighborhood watch. Find a Kia Sorento for sale
In fact, the treads on the SEMA Sorento were made by a company called American Track Truck, which is located — quite fittingly — in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. I’ve been to Michigan many times, but never to the Upper Peninsula, largely because I believe it’s primarily populated by a) moose and b) the kind of people who would start a company manufacturing tank treads for vehicles.
Of course, I call them "tank treads," but American Track Truck doesn’t use such a term. Instead, it uses "Dominator Rubber Tracks," which, in my opinion, sort of undersells them. When I think of "rubber tracks," I think of something you’d put on the rain gutters in your house. When I see these Dominator things, it looks like the apocalypse is here, and only people in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be prepared for it.
So, by now, you have two questions: 1) How do they work?, and 2) What do they cost? Well, having perused American Track Truck’s website for approximately eight minutes now, I can tell you the answer to number one is obvious: You take off your normal wheels. You put on your tank tracks. And that’s just about all there is to it. Now you can roll over virtually anything, including snow, ice, discarded appliances, small towns, strip malls, etc.
As for how much they cost, American Track Truck isn’t quite as forthcoming. But a little Googling makes it clear that these tracks aren’t cheap: They’re probably something like $10,000 to $15,000 installed. However, this is a small price to pay for the knowledge that you can now go anywhere — as long as "anywhere" does not involve paved roads or high speeds.
Doug DeMuro is an automotive journalist who has written for many online and magazine publications. He once owned a Nissan Cube and a Ferrari 360 Modena. At the same time.