Managing a fleet is costly. The price of maintenance alone can take a significant chunk out of your bottom line. When looking for ways to save money, tire retread is a useful practice. Retreaded tires cost significantly less than new ones. Plus, the tire retread process is easier on the environment than dumping old tires in landfills and buying new. It’s true that tire debris on highways has given retreads a bad rap, but the advantages of retreading can outweigh the disadvantages.
The Tire Retread Process
The tire retread process replaces the tread on used tires. There are two methods for replacing tread: pre-cure and mold cure. Additionally, there are two mold curing processes. They all start with an assessment of the tire to ensure it is in usable condition. Tires with no tread or cords showing aren’t usable. Part of the inspection locates embedded fragments and hard to see damage, too, then it’s buffed to remove what’s left of the tread. Tires with quality casings in good condition can undergo the tire retread process several times.
With the pre-cure method, the casing gets a new tread strip. This type of tire retread is obvious. Just look for the telltale seam that reveals where the two ends of the strip join together.
The first type of mold curing involves affixing raw rubber to the casing. Then, a mold imprints new tread on it. The second type of mold curing goes a couple of steps further. It also includes applying tire retread to the sidewalls. Additionally, new stamps and branding are provided.
Tire Retread Downside
Tire retread has its good and bad points. However, some “cons” are outdated or undeserved. For example, many people assume the broken up rubber littering highways are failed retreads. This has led to re-manufactured tires getting a reputation for being unsafe. The truth is that about 68 percent of that tire debris is actually new tires, not retreads.
Many drivers may feel that re-manufactured tires are less stable at high speeds and perform poorly. Those arguments may have been true in the past, but no longer apply. Today’s tire retread processes produce tires that can go the distance if drivers and fleet managers maintain proper inflation and keep an eye on the tread as it wears down.
One argument against retreading tires that can partially stand is that remanufactured tires are inferior quality. However, it depends on who did the retreading. A little research is all it takes to find a reputable company that does a quality job recapping tires.
Benefits of Retreading Tires
One of the biggest reasons for using retreaded tires is that they significantly reduce the cost per mile of a fleet’s tires. First, tire retread costs a fraction of the price of a new tire. Second, it’s possible to retread a tire several times, extending its life to nearly 600,000 miles. Those issues combined can reduce the cost of a tire by one half and up to two-thirds.
Then there’s the green aspect. Retreading tires keeps them out of landfills longer. That means fewer chemicals leaching into the environment and less space taken up by slowly decomposing rubber. What’s more, tire retread uses less oil than manufacturing new tires—only 7 gallons versus 22 gallons. That translates to conserving 45 gallons of oil by retreading one tire three times.
Although the pros of tire retread outweigh the cons, the fact is that you have to seriously commit to a tire management program for retreading to pay off optimally. Considering tires are the second largest expense a fleet has after fuel, it’s a lucrative commitment. You’ll need to perform routine inspections to check tire pressure and adjust it when necessary, as well as to keep an eye on wear and tread depth. It’s an investment in time, but it is one that will pay off in the end.