Many dealers consider retreads a viable option only for drive and trailer axles, but today there are experts who recognize the steer axle as also a safe and dependable choice in specific applications.
Clay Timmons, manager of global dealer systems for Bandag, Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO), says many fleets will start by using new tires in the steer position and then retread the casing for use at the drive position, followed by the trailer position, helping to maximize their tire investment. But, in some operations, including the waste, construction and delivery industries, it might be more profitable and productive to use retreads on the steer axle from the start, according to David Stevens, managing director of the Tire Retread & Repair Information Bureau (TRIB).
“In operations like these, where service requirements can be severe and you are measuring tire life in months, using retreaded tires in the steer position is important to bottom-line financial results, without impacting performance and down-time,” Stevens says.
One important note for commercial passenger busses, though: According to the Federal Motor Carriers Safety Administration (FMCSA), retreads still may not be specified for the steer position on these vehicles.
Timmons added Bridgestone recommends fleets work closely with a trusted dealer partner to develop a custom tire program, inclusive of retreads, to ensure the process is tailored to their business needs.
For more on advances in today’s retread technology, see Technology Helps Today’s Retreads Rival New Tires in Quality and Safety.
Check out the rest of the September digital edition of Tire Review here.