From Brodsky's point of view, there is widespread misinformation about the durability and safety of retreaded tires and he is doing everything he can to see those ideas come to a screeching halt. "People may have heard their uncle Louis at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner talking about how retreads came apart and were nothing but junk, but that just isn't true anymore," says the very straight-talking Brodsky from TRIB (The Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau) in Pacific Grove, California.
It is true that as late as the 1970s, rubber from retreaded tires was known to rip away and leave chunks of tire or 'road alligators' laying on the highway—but times change and so has the retreaded tire, argues Brodsky. "The technology and improvements in terms of rubber chemistry are nothing short of amazing," says Brodsky. "There is a 1000 per cent improvement in retreaded tires."
If there are 'road alligators' littering the highways it is not from a failed retreaded tire, according to Brodsky. "The 'road alligators' you see on any given day in any climate, hot or cold, on any highway, anywhere, is coming from tires that have been improperly maintained and much of it comes from tires that have never, ever been in a retread factory."
"The real cause of tire failure is improperly inflated tires or nail punctures," adds Brodsky.
Not only are retreads safe and reliable, TRIB believes that its industry is extremely environmentally friendly. "Retreading keeps millions of tires out of landfills every year," says Brodsky. "We like to say, 'we look round and black, but we are very, very green'," says Brodsky.
Retreaded tires are also 30 to 50 percent cheaper than new tires. Over the last 3 decades, many industries looking for cost savings have started using the new, improved retreaded tires. "You can be pretty sure that the tires on the plane you're flying on is using retreaded tires," Brodsky says, "and a lot of people in the trucking industry get it, too, and every taxicab in New York City drives on retreaded tires."
One of the reasons more and more retreaded tires are in use is due the rigorous inspection done by Retread factories. Non-destructive testing methods such as Shearography, Differometry, X-ray and other systems enable retreaders to give a tire the equivalent of a CAT scan or MRI before proceeding with the retread process. This insures the retreaded tire has been carefully inspected and is suitable for another full and productive life. "It has a warranty as good as, and often better than, a comparable new tire warranty and you can feel comfortable that you are not going to crash and kill yourself on this tire," says Brodsky.
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However, Brodsky believes passenger retreads are about to become more popular." A set of four new tires for an SUV or a high performance vehicle can run around $1000. Four retreads will cost about half that. "It looks like a new tire, you can't tell the difference and it will almost always...no--I will say, always outperform a new tire in performance. Safety is not an issue. They are as safe as new tires, the handling and the performance is the same. You wouldn't know the difference when you are behind the wheel of the vehicle."
Harvey Brodsky the managing director and industry spokesperson for The Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau located in Pacific Grove, California.