Somehow or other we got on to the topic of cheap truck tires and Harvey told us that retreaders and people who buy retreads used to be called second class citizens.
He said, there was a time when retreaded tires were pretty good but they didn’t last as long as new tires and their adjustment rate was somewhat higher than comparable new tires. In spite of that, however, they were safe and saved truckers and others considerable amounts of money when compared to higher priced new tires.
According to Harvey, that was a long time ago and those days are past.
Retreaded tires produced today in retread factories receive the same care and attention as brand-new tires, but they cost a lot less. Brodsky reports that the overall adjustment rate for retreads produced in top quality factories are as low –- very often lower -– than the adjustment rate for comparable new tires. In fact, says Brodsky, you don’t have to believe him: just this ask any retreader to show you his adjustment records, he’ll likely be happy to do so.
There have been many technological advances in retreading just as with other things in our lives. Some examples which affect retreads are non-destructive inspection equipment, computer-driven precision machinery, and rubber chemistry which all contribute to finished retreads with increased quality and value.
If you have never been in a modern retread factory you may be amazed. You'll see shearography, ultrasound, high-voltage, and X-Ray testing methods used, which enable retreaders to actually see through the tire to determine if there are separations, broken steel cords or any other damage that would make a retreaded tire unsafe. Tire casings that cannot pass these tests will not be retreaded.
Old beliefs tend to persist. Remember "road alligators" -- tire debris the highways? For a long time people assumed -– incorrectly -– that these are caused by retreads: those "cheap" truck tires. In reality, much of that tire debris is from tires that have NEVER been retreaded. It was caused by improper tire maintenance.
Brodsky has a passion for retreading and truly believes in it to the extent that not only does he personally drive on retreads, so does his wife and son, and they have been doing this for many years.
Brodsky's answer is YES. Commercial and military airlines have been safely using retreads on all size planes for years. So do school and municipal buses, fire engines and other emergency vehicles. Add to that the U.S. Postal Service, FED EX, UPS, virtually all major trucking fleets, taxis, race cars and many other types of vehicles. Even the US government has a Federal Executive Order (#13149) MANDATING the use of retreads on many types of government vehicles.
Retreading is responsible for keeping millions of tires out of landfills every year. Whenever tire is retreaded a significant amount of oil and other energy are saved. Over the years billions of gallons of oil have been saved by retreading. Brodsky believes that retreaded tires are one of the most environmentally friendly recycled products you will ever use.
Here's the math. A trucker using a top of the line tire will be paying over $400 for one tire. Either by retreading or buying retreads from a good retreader, the savings will be at least 50%. That tire will provide approximately the same mileage as a new tier with an adjustment rate as low, possibly even lower, than a new tire.
Even volume tire buyers who purchase tier 2 or lesser grade new tires, will still save close to 50% by changing to retreads.
You can use a retread wherever you use a virgin tire, regardless of the temperature. The same as new tires retreads require the right air pressure. That is, they need to have the air pressure adjusted to the load they will carry.
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In the meantime, you need to do your part and care for your tires ... see Part II of Cheap Truck Tires.
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