The American love affair with the automobile has gone on almost a century. A big part of that is taking good care of both our cars and trucks but also the tires. When people are looking to save money on used tires, many look to tire companies that are experts at retreading. These tires are often sold at a deep discount.
What is “retreading?”
Retreading is exactly what it sounds like. A tire company will take old, worn tires, inspect them and redo the treads on the tires. Not every old, used tire is an appropriate candidate for this process. Changing up the casings or treads cannot be done on every tire.
Companies began retreading tires as early as the beginning of the 1900s. The practice has only increased in usage over the years. There are currently at least 850 companies that retread tires throughout the United States and Canada. There are very small retreading companies that can only handle about 20 tires each day and then there are bigger companies that will process more than one thousand.
Speciality retreading companies have also popped up. For people who have farm vehicles, off road vehicles or construction vehicles, it is possible to get retreaded tires for those vehicles.
The retreading industry handles millions of tires. They use millions of pounds of natural and synthetic rubber. At least $3 billion in tires that have been retreaded are sold every year.
How does the process work?
- The used tires are inspected. Not every old tire is suitable for the retreading process. It is vital for the success of the tire that every tire that is being considered for retreading be thoroughly inspected and evaluated. The casings are thoroughly evaluated for fitness. This is to make sure each tire that makes it through the process is going to only be the highest quality.
- The old tread is buffed out. Once it has cleared the inspection process, the old tire is ready for buffing. In this step, the old tread is totally removed from the face of the tire. What remains is the body of the tire and what is often referred to as the undertread. This new and clean surface is ready for the new tread to be added to the tire.
- The tire is recapped. This is the process by which a new tread is affixed to the old tire. The clean surface from the buffing process makes this process possible. There are a few ways that this happens but they all include heat, pressure and time.
- The tire gets another inspection. No retreading process is complete without an inspection after the tread is put on. The tire is checked for reliability, grip and overall performance. If a tire fails any of these tests, it is not sold.
What are the benefits to retreading tires?
- The retreading process is great for the environment. When the old, used tires are retreaded rather than discarded, they do not end up in landfills. In addition, much like recycling prevents the need to create a soda can, by retreading an existing tire, a new one does not need to be made. The materials are reused and that saves a lot and reduces carbon emissions. It takes millions of gallons of oil to make new tires. All of that is saved by retreading old tires.
- This is an economical process. There is a reason that retreaded tires are used by the government. When these tires are used, it saves taxpayers $3 billion each year on their purchases of tires. For many communities who are facing serious budget shortfalls, this savings is very important to help them provide the services their residents need and rely on.
- The retreading process produces safe tires. These tires are now put on everything from ambulances to airplanes. They are on trucks, taxis, military vehicles and school buses. They are very safe.
- Retreaded tires do not leave a mess. If you drive down any highway in the county, you will see rubber. This is not from the retreaded tires. While retreaded tires are subject to some of the same problems as new tires, the process does not produce the mess.
People want to have safe, reliable tires but they also want to save money. Both objectives can be reached with the purchase of retreaded tires.