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Retread Industry 'Tired' of Bad Rap

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Pacific Grove, CADespite what many drivers believe, test after test confirm it is as safe, if not safer, to put retreaded tires on your vehicle, according to industry representative Harvey Brodsky. "My wife drives on retreaded tires, I drive on retreaded tires, my children drive on retreaded tires," says Brodsky. "It is kind of like we are the Rodney Dangerfield of the tire business, we don't get 'no respect'."

DrivingFrom 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.

Retreading of passenger vehicle tires has not been as popular as retreading of large commercial tires like the ones used in the trucking industry. That is mostly due to the competition from tire manufacturers in India, China and Brazil. It was cheaper to buy a new passenger tire than purchase a retread. Those cheaper poorer quality tires are also not suitable for retreading.

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.

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READER COMMENTS

Posted by

on
Dont hand me that crap about following to close. Just yesterday I was driving along at 55 mph on the freeway, well enough behind the semi in the left lane. The problem here was there were only 2 lanes, thanks to construction. Well the right lane was car to car, so I kept my distance. Well guess what, the semi kicked up a nice 5 foot or so tread (I dont know if it was from him of if he ran over it himself), and I have NOWHERE to go. If I swerved left, I would be in the concrete barrier, if I swerved right, I would barrel into the car next to me. I couldnt hit the brakes as there were alot of cars behind me, and at 55 mph, I wouldnt stop in time anyway. Needless to say, my 6 month old 2015 Fusion, which I babied the whole time I had it, is now damaged. Scuffs on the front bumper, the chrome ring around my fog lights is missing, my driver door had to be bend out alittle as it was clipping the quarter panel (which got pushed back), and it popped a bunch of fender fasteners. And no this wasnt a little piece, this was, what looked like, the whole damn tread. And the noise it made as I went over it, I am 100% positive the car behind me got hit as well, and the car behind him.

This isnt my first time either, the other time was on a week on 2001 Monte Carlo I just got. A pickup literally kicked up another tread, and it hit my car and scratched up the hood, and the front bumper as it folded over my car at 65mph. This is completely UNACCEPTABLE! I have had 2 cars now that have been tarnished because of this crap, and something needs to be done about it

Posted by

on
I had my family in the car on the Highway going 65 when the retread tire came apart almost killed us.

Posted by

on
It is not only cars following too closely
Flying tire tread doesn't necessarily stay in the same lane
Close to all road alligators are pieces of retread

Posted by

on
Hunter Tires are a major force in the tire manufacturing industry. Our products are efficiently engineered to the exacting standards of the EPA Smartway tires and priced with value seeking customers in mind all across America

Posted by

on
Have an older truck and I went to a tire shop to get used tires because I didn't want to invest a lot of money into this old truck since then I've had two blowouts that blew out my back right taillight and on my front headlight including my bumper for retreaded tires do I have any legal allegations against this tire company selling used tires that are retreaded and not notifying us that there retreaded I'm not looking to get rich I just want to put them out of business it's illegal and I've almost had two accidents now

Posted by

on
All of you saying your car was damaged when a treat read came apart, or the guy who said if he would have been on his bike he would have been killed, you are the problem plain and simple, you were following the car in front of you to closely, the ones who had an 18 wheeler throw a tire into your car, you were TO CLOSE. Your fault. Trucker would have been found not liable. Bc you didn't have proper fiollowing distance. I have drove semis for years never had one retread come apart, Bc I always make sure there properly inflated, and I always check my equipment, if a tire is starting to look weird I have it replaced, like wearing weird, or separating in places, I check my equipment every time I pull off to use the restroom or eat or fuel, ask any trooper if the trucker or the trucking company could be held liable for your vehicle getting damaged from a tire shredding and then hitting your vehicle shortly there after, nope not one bit, Bc of you weren't to close you would have plenty of time to stop or avoid the tire. If you don't believe me I have hours of dash cam footage in fact about 20 sd cards full of footage of this, I've had tired come apart in front of me while I been driving however I had the right following distance and I was able to avoid them. Tough luck your four wheelers were texting, doing your makeup or eating and you were to close to the vehicle in front of you so it threw a tire piece into your vehicle, or you were behind a truck directly and one of its tires damaged your vehicle, tuff frickin luck stop following to close.

Posted by

on
After $5200 damage to my 2 day old car, I'm going to have to disagree with the notion that retreads are safer than new tires. I was going around 60 mph on a highway, when the car in front of me kicked up a retread that was already in the road. Had I been on my bike and a retread of that size had hit me, it would surely have killed me.

Posted by

on
I have been in the tire business for twenty years. New tires I sell and prefer, but the cause of tire treads being thrown off , new or recap it does not matter , is due to poor to no maintenance. Mainly low air pressure which in turn causes very high tempatures to build up which causes the cured treads to seperate from the casing no matter if it is new or recaps. and that`s the truth and nothing but the truth.

Posted by

on
The retread industry can be as tired of their bad rep as they want, but it is richly deserved. I drive to and from work on the interstate every day and every day I either dodge retread in the lanes or watch it fly off a truck. (There are never any "metal wires sticking out" of any of it, as the TRIB itself says identifies non- retread failure.)

Today my luck ran out when the tractor trailer in front of me threw one directly into my car. It half tore the bumper off and left me fighting to control my car and not involve anyone else. Meantime, the trucker quickly took the next exit. Even had my car been in any shape to follow so I could get license information, I couldn't have gone after him. Now I have almost $2 K in damages that will be recorded as "comprehensive" damage by my insurance company. Rather as if this trucker had beaten my car with a length of retread as it sat in my driveway.

The reason the DOT studies show retreads to be "almost as safe" as real tires is because these incidents go largely unreported by motorists whose priority is just staying alive, and insurance companies who treat them the same as if kids had keyed a parked car, NOT because they don't happen. I can't report this incident today to any regulatory agency or disinterested 3rd party study, and - I am, of course, only speculating here - but I would hazard that that trucker won't report it either. He - and these people who sell retreads as "just as safe" - are getting off scot-free, just like the one who killed those poor people in Kentucky with his cast-off retread did.

They can talk about airplanes all day long, but unlike airplanes, which are alone on runways, tractor trailers are on the road with everyone else. The danger may or may not be to them, but it is exponentially more likely to affect the hapless drivers around them, who never know when a heavy, flapping projectile may be flung at them out of nowhere.

Posted by

on
I remember when retreads were legal in GA. I also remember my friends tire falling apart while going 15 to 20 miles per hour. Now it wasn't a little chunk here or there, it was the entire tread coming off the tire. Retreads are the only tire that I have ever seen come apart like that. Not only am I glad that it is illegal on passenger tires, I will be glad when they make it illegal on 18 wheelers too. I am all about making things more affordable, hell I can barely afford used tires these days, but not at the expense of the safety of the person driving the car, and certainly not at the expense of the persons who have your retreads sent through their window.

Posted by

on
I'd be interested to know where the data comes from that says that most of the road aligators are from tires that have never been in a retread facility. It's true that most tire failure comes from punctured or underinflated tires. How many non-retread tires though have you seen shed their tread on the road? even when punctured or underinflated? Retreads are great for driving at the posted speeds, properly inflated and not abused or overloaded. Many drivers don't adhere to those requirements though. What about speed rated or preformance tires? Yes, they can be retreaded too, but they no longer carry the speed rating or preformance rating that they once had, they are now 65mph normal duty tires. There is a big market out there for retreaded tires, but they are not as safe for the average consumer who doesn't check their tire pressure regularly or drives way over the posted speed limits.

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