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Green is for retreads

THEY LOOK ROUND AND BLACK, BUT retreaded tires ARE REALLY VERY GREEN

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Retreaded tires are one of the most environmentally friendly of all recycled products. They contain one of the highest post consumer contents, since the actual tire itself is being recycled. In fact, according to Harvey Brodskey, managing director of the California-based Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB), retreading was "green" before the word was ever used for recycling, and the retread industry has been green for nearly 100 years!

When a tire is retreaded, the worn tire – with the exception of a very small amount of old tread that is removed – is reused in the retread process. And even the small amount of old tread that is removed (referred to as buffings) is recycled and can be used on playgrounds, highways, rubber mats and a myriad of other products. Additionally, every time a tire is retreaded there is one less tire to go to our already overcrowded landfills.The oil savings with retreads is also very significant since tires are basically petrochemical products. It takes approximately 22 gallons of oil to manufacture one average size truck tire. Since most of that oil is found in the tire casing, which is re-used in the retreading process, only about 7 gallons of oil are needed to retread that same tire. A fleet using as few as 100 tires a year can help save 1,500 gallons of oil annually.

"With the 'green' movement becoming more popular the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB) hopes to see more companies put their money where their mouth is," says Brodskey. "And – if they are not already using retreads on their vehicles – begin retreading their tires on a regular basis."

"Yet, many people still shy away from using retreaded tires," says Brodskey. "Why?"

The answer he says is one of perception. Because of tire debris on our highways – also known as rubber on the road or road alligators – people are under the impression that retreaded tires are less safe than comparable new tires. The facts however are different from the perceptions held by many people. According to TRIB, a number of studies, conducted by both the private and public sectors, confirm that the true causes of tire debris on our highways come from improper tire maintenance, with underinflation being the main cause, followed closely by overloading, improper tire repairs, misaligned vehicles, mismatching of truck tires on dual wheel positions, and tires with less than the legal limit of tread remaining. And it does not matter if the tire is a retread or one that has never been retreaded. "To blame a retread for a tire that fails because of improper tire maintenance is the same as blaming a vehicle for an accident caused by a drunk driver," says Brodskey. "The blame is simply misplaced."

“Every major truck tire manufacturer’s tires are designed for multiple lives, and to not take advantage of that fact and not retread an expensive tire after the original tread is worn is simply silly and wasteful,” added Brodskey. “It’s really ridiculous when one considers that the tire has one or more useful lives left.”

Retread Safety
Beyond being environmentally friendly, how about safety? How about reliability?

According to Brodskey, the safety record and the reliability of a top quality retread will equal that of the very best new tire, but at a far lower cost. And thanks to new technology in top quality retread plants, he says, retreaded tires have an adjustment record as low and often lower than comparable new tires.

As it is with new tires, good tire maintenance is key to safety and reliability, when it comes to retreaded tires. What’s the trick to good tire maintenance? It’s simple, but it isn’t easy.

TRIB recommends that fleet managers and truck owners MUST maintain the proper air pressure for their loads. Tires need to be checked with an accurate tire gauge at least once weekly. Daily walk-arounds also need to be done. Look for any bulges or any other anomalies on your tires. And be certain that any tire repairs are always done by a reputable tire repair facility and that the tires are repaired off the wheel. Brodskey adds, "Never settle for just a plug, because if you do you will then be driving a time bomb that may or may not go off. If it does, your tire may be responsible for a catastrophic accident, leading to the loss of lives."

Next, he says, be certain you are not driving an overloaded vehicle, because your tires may not be able to handle the excess weight, again leading to a failure. Also, be certain that any tires on your vehicle in dual wheel positions are properly matched and also remember to keep your vehicle in proper alignment.

"Finally, please pull your tires before they reach the legal tread depth limit," says Brodskey. "In fact, smart trucking fleets will pull their tires – whether new or retreads – long before they reach the legal limit, because they know their tires will be more retreadable if they do. Most tire problems happen when tires begin to reach their legal limit of remaining tread."

For more information about the environmental and economic benefits of retreading and tire repairing, contact the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau toll free from anywhere in North America at 888-473-8732 or by email to: [email protected]

Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau
www.retread.org