What is retreading?
Simply put, retreading is the process whereby selected and inspected worn tires, called "casings,” receive a new tread.
Only sound, carefully inspected tire casings are used for retreading. The worn tread is buffed away and a new tread bonded to the tire body in a process very similar to the manufacture of a new tire. There are different processing techniques, but the ultimate objective is always the same - affixing a new tread through the application of heat, time and pressure.
Tire retreading is an established industry that began in the early 1900s and grew steadily. Today, there are approximately 850 retread plants throughout North America. These plants vary in size, from small operations producing 20 retreaded tires per day to the very large plants processing 1,000 or more retreads per day. Additionally, there are plants that retread only specialized tires, such as those for off-the-road, farm and construction equipment. Altogether, these plants retread millions of tires a year, using millions of pounds of synthetic and natural rubber. This represents over $3 billion in retread tires sold annually.
Whether you are a motorist looking for ways to stretch the family budget or a fleet manager buying thousands of tires a year, costs must somehow be controlled in today's stringent economy. Truckers, airlines, construction companies, farmers and passenger car owners all purchase retreaded tires for one basic reason - to save money.
A retreaded tire costs less to produce than a new tire and sells for less - usually between 30 and 50 percent of the comparable new tire price. By using retreaded tires, the commercial and military aircraft industries save more than $100 million a year. Retreading truck tires saves the trucking industry over $3 billion each year. Retreading is an effective way to lower your tire costs, too.
Why are retreaded tires such a good value? Most of the manufacturing cost of a new tire is in the tire body or casing. The tread (the portion of the tire that meets the road) represents only a percentage of the new tire cost. Today's steel radial commercial truck tires are an industrial product designed to provide multiple tread lives over the life of the casing. This useful casing life is monitored and managed closely by the tire owners as tires are the number one maintenance cost of operating commercial vehicles and on the road downtime is very expensive. Casings are inspected on and off vehicles, at many points in their lives. The most complete inspections are conducted in full service retread plants that take advantage of all the technology available. When a tire becomes worn and seems ready for discard, the bulk of its cost remains unrecovered. In fact, the tire's useful life has hardly begun!
Is Retreading green?
Yes, retreading is very environmentally friendly.
Oil – Retreading conserves oil. The synthetic rubber components in a new passenger tire contain
seven to eight gallons of oil. Retreading the same tires uses only two to three gallons of oil! The manufacture of a new medium truck tire requires approximately 22 gallons of oil, but it takes only seven gallons to retread. Every year in North America, the use of retreads saves hundreds of millions of gallons of oil.
Landfill - Millions of tires that would end up in tire piles or in landfill continue their useful lives for thousands of more miles.
Are Retreads safe?
You bet they are! The President of the United States signed an Executive Order in April 2000 requiring federal agencies to replace the original tires on their vehicles with retreaded tires wherever practical.
All commercial airlines, as well as military jet aircraft, use retreaded tires. In fact, nearly 80 percent of all aircraft tires now in service in the United States are retreads. More than 100,000 aircraft retreads are used annually with an average of 270 takeoffs and landings per tread life.
Professional retreaders adhere to stringent industry recommended practices at every step of the retreading process. Most retread plants in North America and elsewhere are franchised, licensed or otherwise consulted by or affiliated with major brand suppliers who provide technical assistance and requirements to insure a reliable product is produced.
Retreaded tires in all applications, from passenger cars to heavy construction equipment, have consistently demonstrated the same reliability in operation as new tires. Many trucking fleets plan their new tire purchases with the intention of having their worn casings retreaded two or more times as a routine part of their tire budgets. Today, in North America, there are as many retreaded tires in operation as there are original tread life tires.
Retreaded tires are used safely every day on airplanes, school buses, fire engines and ambulances, trucking fleets, taxis, Postal Service vehicles, military vehicles and by millions of motorists.