Dealing with tires is a big part of the heavy-duty repair shop business. Top among semi tire issues is whether to use retreads or not. Both have their pros and cons. For instance, retreading tires costs less, but retread safety is a concern. On the other hand, methods and tread quality have improved. Those factors alone could make retreading tires worth its weight in rubber. To make an informed decision, there are a few things you should know about retreading tires and retread safety.
Retreads Have a Troubled Past
It’s true: in the early days, the retreading process produced a lower quality product. Naturally, that caused concerns about retread safety. As a result, retreading tires developed a bad reputation. However, the heavy-duty trucking industry has become more open minded than the general public. Since owners and fleets can save about $3 billion each year with retreads, it might make sense to let go of negative views and embrace retreading tires.
But Retreads are Getting Better…
In the short time since the late 1990s, retreaders have vastly improved their process. Standards, quality, assessment methods, selection, and even plant safety are better. So are inspection and recapping methods. It’s all worked to just about eliminate the gap between retreads and new tires in quality and safety. Industry experts say that new tire and retread quality can share equal ground. The key is retreading tires right, including holding retreads to the same regulations as new tires.
…Along With Retread Safety
A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that well-maintained retreads don’t fail any more frequently than new tires do. Well-maintained is the keyword. Issues that can affect both new tire and retread safety and life span include:
- proper inflation pressure
- regular rotation
- taking care not to exceed the load capacity
Plus, the mold cure process that used to be the preferred method wasn’t that great. In fact, mold curing causes retreads pulling away from casings. That’s why precuring is the preferred method these days. The new process in itself gets credit for boosting retread safety. Additionally, the examination standards for casings before the process begins is more strict, too. It just makes sense. Damaged or aged casings can’t provide a good foundation. That’s why many fleets limit the number of times a casing can be retreaded.
Plus, Retreading Tires is Good for the Environment
Still not sure that retreads are a good option for your shop? Maybe the green angle will persuade you. The Tire Retread and Repair Information Bureau says that making a new tire uses about 22 gallons of oil, while retreading tires only needs about seven. Annual numbers give the really big picture: in 2011, truck tire retreading alone saved over 232 million gallons of oil. Moreover, retreaded tires don’t sit in landfills. There, they would be leaching toxins into the soil and posing a fire hazard which produces highly noxious smoke and fumes.
That’s Why Many Fleets are On Board
Another big plus to retreads is the savings. Reusing casings and retreading tires can reduce the tire line-item on your budget by around 40 percent. That, along with the retread safety and environmental issues, is why big fleets are on board with retreading tires. NFI Industries, for example, uses retreads on its fleet of more than 2,300 tractors and 8,100 trailers. And Iowa-based Ruan uses retreads on over 75 percent of its trucks and trailers. Others using retreads put them only on certain vehicles with certain functions, like avoiding using them in the steer position.
No matter what you choose, retreads or new, it’s important to track your tire inventory including your tire casings. Fullbay makes it easy to do just that, keeping current, accurate track of your inventory. To see the benefits of Fullbay in action, fill in the form below and schedule your free demo today.