“SmartWay verification is becoming an increasingly important designation for retreads as more fleets realize that the use of fuel-efficient retreads can help them control their costs more effectively,” says Brian Buckham, general manager of product marketing for Goodyear Commercial Tire. “By leveraging new tire compounding technology and tread designs, we can continue to make strides in developing retreads that deliver like-new rolling resistance performance, resulting in similar fuel economy between new and retreaded tires.”
“There are many different types and quality of retreads now available,” Phil Boarts, retread product category manager for Michelin Truck Tires, “and retread processes and products have significantly advanced to deliver measurable value. Fleets that choose to retread can save significant amounts of money, but each fleet has specific requirements of what it is looking for in a retread. It depends on the type of operation, casing management, turnaround time and availability of the necessary product, dealer service and fleet location.“
Retreading encourages fleets to better manage their tire assets overall, notes Ben Rosenblum, director, Bandag Marketing, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations. “In general, fleets that use retreaded tires do a better job of protecting and caring for tire casings to ensure they can be retreaded. Incorporating retreads into a tire program is good for the environment and the community as well. Retreading a truck tire requires significantly less oil and less energy to produce, and keeps tires out of landfills.
“Partner with a quality retreader,” Rosenblum continues. “Tour a potential partner’s retread plant, learn about their quality standards and ask key questions.”
Rosenblum names three questions that anyone looking into retreads should ask:
•How long have you been retreading tires?
•Are you audited for product and process standards?
•Are you ISO-certified?
“An experienced retreader can help fleets develop retread specifications, and also inspect their vehicles and scrap tire pile to ensure a fleet’s maintenance practices are good and that retreading opportunities are maximized,” continues Rosenblum. “Quality retreaders know what works for fleets and can help customize retread specifications.”
Premium retreads start with premium casings. Inside retread plants, strict guidelines help ensure manufacturing and product quality compliance. This includes casing inspection, which is a crucial part of the process.
In addition to visual inspection, for example, Goodyear Commercial Tire and Service Center retread facilities use electronic discharge devices to find nail-hole punctures in casings. Goodyear facilities also use a multi-level pressure system to detect weak or broken cords in the upper sidewalls of casings that are not detectable via other inspection methods.
Ron Elliott, marketing and communications manager at Marangoni Tread, North America, says that the most used methods for casing inspections are non-destructive testing, sherography and high-pressure testing. “Each of those methods are designed to inspect the casings in a different way,” he relates.
“Rigorous testing employed in the development of tires ensures that its first life is not its last,” says Prosser Carnegie, Continental’s head of brand management CVT, the Americas. “Additionally, regular and robust maintenance practices by fleets will support the amount of casings available for retreading by eliminating conditions that might arise from running tires under-inflated, or from wear caused by poor alignment.
“Part of the process is to make sure that tires are removed from service at appropriate tread depths,” Carnegie adds. “Allowing tires to run longer than recommended pull points can lead to rejection of casings for retreading due to the inability to buff appropriate contours in the tire.”
Fleets should predetermine their pull point for the tire, advises Michelin’s Phil Boarts. “A fleet running long haul could have a different pull point than a fleet running regional vehicles,” Boarts says. “Regardless of when a fleet pulls tires for retreading, however, there must be an adequate amount of undertread to support the retread. The pull point should maximize the number of retreads per casing and include an age of service limitation for the first, second and third life of the retreads and their position.”
“Fleets should establish and enforce the best tire management and maintenance policy to preserve the future life of their casings,” says Marangoni’s Ron Elliott. “Everything is important, including inflation, balance, load limits, wheel position, correct design for the correct application and tire inspections. Understand the reason for any premature failure to refine tire policies.”
Overall, the manufacturers say that fleets should develop customized retread specifications for each particular operation and application. They should know which casings to accept for retreading to maximize the use of retreads without compromising safety or uptime.
SmartWay verified retread offerings
As part of EPA’s SmartWay Technology program, the agency has verified that certain low rolling resistance retread products can reduce emissions and fuel use on long haul Class 8 tractor-trailers by 3% or more. These improvements are achieved, according to EPA, when:
• Verified retread technologies are used on both drive and trailer axles;
• Retread technologies are used on the axle positions for which verification is specified;
• Verified low rolling resistance steer tires are also used; and
• All tires are properly inflated.
EPA also notes that manufacturers specify the intended axle position(s) for retread technologies, and EPA’s verified list points out retread technologies that achieve rolling resistance target values for those axle positions. Retread technologies verified for the trailer axle position meet the rolling resistance target for the drive axle, and if the tire performance characteristics are acceptable, then the manufacturer may specify use for that application. Consequently, verified trailer retread technologies are acceptable for use on the tag (undriven) axle of 6×2 tractors if the performance is confirmed to be acceptable for that application.
For a full list of low rolling resistance retreads that are SmartWay verified when used on Class 8 linehaul tractor-trailers, visit this website: