If you have been in the trucking industry for more than a few years, you probably have a horror story to tell, or have heard, about how retreads tore off a fender or did other bad things to trucks years ago, and you swore that you would never use them again.
But times have changed, and so have retreads, and in a very positive way.
Back in the seventies when I first got into the retread industry, truck tire retreads were “good enough,” especially if you couldn’t afford new tires, and you may have used them because you had no other choice. You just had to put up with less than new tire performance.
But now you have a choice, and retreads being produced today by top-quality retread companies - which by the way, are the only companies you should deal with - will perform as well as the best major brand new tires, with an adjustment rate as low, and often lower, than that of virgin tires.
As an aside, I was recently in the plant of one of our members in York, PA, where they retread an average of 500 truck tires a day. During my visit, I said to the plant manager that I’d bet him that their adjustment rate for their retreads was under 1 percent. He said I’d lose the bet because their adjustment rate was under 1/2 percent. New tire manufacturers can only dream of having an adjustment rate that low.
Improvements in Retreading
As with many other industries, the retread industry has been able to adopt new technology, and one of the main improvements has been in the field of non-destructive testing. Modern top-quality retreaders are using Shearography to determine whether a tire is suitable for another life.
It should be noted that all major truck tire manufacturers produce their truck tires for multiple lives.
Only those casings that pass the Shearography test, along with other non-destructive testing, will be allowed to continue through the system and be retreaded.
With modern, state-of-the-art non-destructive equipment available to retreaders, they can give each tire the equivalent of an MRI or a CAT scan.
Another vast improvement has come from advances in rubber chemistry, allowing for better, stronger treads with a longer lifecycle than in the past. This, coupled with the low rolling resistance tread designs, has led to longer lasting and more trouble-free retreads.
Take a Tour
The best way to convince yourself that retreads really work and can be more trouble-free than new tires is to visit a modern retread plant. You will be able to see how much care goes into the inspection and retreading of a tire.
The Retread Tire Association (RTA) would be happy to arrange a visit to a retread plant near you so you can have your questions about retreads answered by the plant foreman and see the plant’s adjustment records.
Please contact the RTA for more specific information about the benefits of retreads and for the names of top quality retreaders.
Fleets Use Retreads
If retreads performed less well than comparable new tires, no fleet manager in his right mind would use them. But they do use them, and for good reason: retreads work.
Retreads can cut a fleet’s tire costs in half. That is serious money since tires are one of the highest costs incurred in operating any fleet. FedEx, UPS, Purolator and the U.S. Postal Service, along with postal services in many other countries, routinely use retreads. They never would if retreads didn’t offer them trouble-free performance.
School and municipal buses, taxi fleets, fire departments and commercial and military airlines also use retreads for the same reason. They all save serious money by using retreads, and you can too.
Why spend more than you need to for your tires? Retreads give you a safe, sane and economic alternative.
Keep in mind that none of the aforementioned mean anything if you don’t take care of your tires and give them the attention they must have on a regular basis. Doing so helps you get the maximum mileage, safety and wear.
The importance of properly maintaining tires cannot be overemphasized.
Harvey Brodsky is the managing director of the Retread Tire Association (RTA), www.retreadtire.org, and one of its founders. A part of the retreading industry since the early 1970s, he is involved with promoting the use of retreaded tires both in the U.S. and many other parts of the world. Formerly the managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB), Brodsky has written numerous articles about retreading. He is a well-known speaker at tire industry, government, fleet and environmental meetings around the world. He is also the president of The Harvey Brodsky Company, an international consulting organization to the retread industry worldwide.