I first got into the retread industry back in the early seventies when most retreads were produced for passenger cars, and truck tire retreading was just becoming popular. However, the industry was primitive compared to today’s retreads and back then retreads for trucks were considered “just good enough” especially if the truck owner couldn’t afford new tires. If you were a trucker back then with a short pocketbook and could only afford retreads you just had to put up with less than new truck tire performance.

In fact, if you have been in the trucking business for more than a few years you probably lost a fender or two because of a failed retread back then and you swore that you would never use retreads again. “They just were not worth it.”

Now think back to when you got your first computer. If it didn’t crash three times every day you were ready to get down on your knees and give thanks. When is the last time your computer crashed lately? You probably can’t remember. The message here is that just as computers have greatly improved, so have retreads.

Retreads being produced today by quality retread companies in Canada will perform as well as the best major brand new tires, with an adjustment rate as low, and often lower, than the that of new tires.

Recently I visited the retread plant of one of our members where they retread an average of 500 truck tires a day. This is a big plant! During my visit I said to the plant manager that I’d bet him that their adjustment rate for their retreads was under 1%. He said I’d lose the bet because their adjustment rate was under ½ %. New tire manufacturers can only dream of having an adjustment rate that low.

How did retreads improve so much?

Thanks to new technology the retread industry has been able to greatly improve and one of the main improvements has been in the field of non-destructive testing. Modern top quality retreaders using Shearography are able to determine whether a tire is suitable for another life, and since all major truck tire manufacturers produce their truck tires for multiple lives, retreaders can easily tell whether the casing is suitable for its next life. 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. Unlike in the old days, the bad ones don't get through the system!

Rubber chemistry is another area where there have been vast improvements, allowing for better, stronger treads with a longer life cycle than in the past. This, coupled with the low rolling resistance tread designs, has led to longer lasting and more trouble free retreads.

Is this all true?

Don’t take my word for anything you have read so far. The best way to convince you that retreads really work and can be more trouble free than new tires is for you to visit a modern Canadian retread plant. You will be able to see how much care goes into the inspection and retreading of a tire. If you take us up on our offer to arrange a visit to a retread plant near you, you will be able to have your questions answered by the plant foreman and he will be happy to share his adjustment records. They all keep very accurate adjustment records!

Let’s look at why virtually every major trucking fleet in Canada uses retreads.

If retreads performed less well than comparable new tires, no Canadian fleet manager in his right mind would use them. But they do use them, and for good reason. Retreads work! They can cut a fleets tire costs in half. We are talking about serious money since tires are one of the highest costs incurred in operating any fleet. FED EX, PUROLATOR, UPS and Canada Post routinely use retreads and they never would if retreads didn’t offer them trouble-free performance.

School and municipal buses, taxi fleets, fire engines, commercial and military airlines also use retreads for the same reason. And they all save serious money, just as you can if you use retreads.

But, But, But…

None of the above means anything if you don’t take care of your tires and give them the attention them must have on a regular basis. Tires should be checked at least once weekly with a calibrated gauge, and anything less means you are looking for trouble. Better yet, make the investment in a good Tire Pressure Monitoring System. There are many out there and we will be happy to send you information and brochures from some of the best companies. The price of a good Tire Pressure Monitoring System is not a cost. It is an investment and can pay for itself many times over by reducing tire costs and (expensive) downtime, not to mention reducing the aggravation and headaches that come from not taking proper care of your tires.

For more specific information about retreads, along with the name of a top quality Canadian retreader near you, or if you want to tour a retread plant, call at 831-646-5269 or email harvey@retreadtire.org. RTA will be happy to send you a great package of very useful information about the economic and environmental benefits of retreads, including a great DVD, all at no cost to you.