Ciao SparePart, I'm not trying to knock the whole "Re-Tread" Industry in the least. Just trying to preserve a few lives under the current conditions. As you so accurately stated, much of the life expectancy of a recapped tire depends on maintaining proper inflation, and maintenance on the Truck itself.SparePart said:Great post SC - I just wanted to make a few comments about commercial truck tires because I work FOR a retread manufacturer (it's all we do) and I work WITH many trucking/transportation companies. Commercial tire explosions are absolutely deadly - not just to other motorists, but to technicians who work on truck tires as well. However, maintenance plays a FAR greater role in whether a tire blows than whether it's original or retreaded.
Some of the largest, best maintained fleets in the world successfully run their maintenance program and retreads - even on the steer tires (UPS uses them on all of the their package vans). Most commercial jetliners run retreads on their landing gear. School buses run retreads for drive tires. However, I could give you a list of companies that I would be nervous to pass even with brand new radials on their trucks because I know from firsthand inspection that their maintenance practices are not the same as most.
Retreading is not only safe when used in a responsible maintenance program, but it's smart for consumers and the environment. Holding a CDL, I'm sure you've seen the old "if it's in the store it came by truck" type campaigns? Well, when you have 18, or more, wheel positions a reduction of $150 per wheel position also saves on transportation costs, which saves the shipper, which in turn allows good old capitalism to allow them to be more competitive (read: cheaper products).
Also, one new commercial truck tire (11R22.5 for example) takes 26 gallons of oil to manufacture. Retreading a quality worn original takes 7 gallons - a savings of 152 gallons of oil per set of drive tires. Retread manufactures also recycle all of the old tread removed during the retread process and it is used for things like playground fill, floor mats and asphalt filler.
Anyway, we get a bad rap in the retreading industry because a lot of companies either don't maintain their tires properly (inflation mostly) or try to retread casings that should not be retreaded. Personally, one way I see to reduce the amount of debris on the road is to mandate quality standards for trade trucks (trucks that are traded in by large fleets for new trucks). These vehicles usually have tires on them that are sub-standard to save money and are re-sold with these same tires.
Well, sorry for getting on a soapbox, but I'd be glad to answer any questions. I know it's frustrating - trust me I hear the stories and I've seen the explosions.
I will say however that based on my experience even in a properly maintained and responsibly driven Rig, that re-caps have their application where they can be safely utilized for the benefit of all.
Airlines, School Buses, and local or regional trucks when proper maintenance is maintained are an ideal venue for this type of tire usage. Airlines, School Buses, and local or regional trucks do not run their caps for the total length of time that the OTR trucks do. They stop and subsequently cool their tires much more often.
However long distance "Over the Road" rigs, especially those of which run extreemely close to gross maximum weight IMO cannot safely utilize these tires all year round.
In the winter, and cooler parts of the year, even the OTR trucks can make due with re-caps.
In the summer months, especially in the desert areas in July, August they cannot.
During the hot days of the year in the desert environment with ambient road temperatures reaching well into the 140's F. or more, and the OTR trucks running essentially 660 to 770 miles non stop, even properly re-capped tires on properly maintained equipment can and do fail REPEATEDLY. I've personally seen caps go in less than 3,000 miles, and with no signs of separation or fatigue in these settings. I have to maintain my stance that they should be outlawed for use on OTR Trucks at least during the summer months. They simply do not/can not hold up to the heat generated in these scenarios.
The monetary savings for everyone in running recaps, as well as the consumers of the goods transported is valid, and the main reason for their existence in the first place. Their reliability due to the constantly growing technologies is MUCH better than ten years ago, but their failure rate even when properly maintained is still TOO HIGH, IMO to allow their usage in all venues.
They have their place and application where they can be safely utilized to the benefit of all, but IMO year round OTR Trucking is not one of them.