A well-worn tire with more than two thirty-seconds of an inch of tread and no other damage is not only a marketable product, but is in strong demand these days by thrifty drivers in a trying economy. “Technically, used tires are not scrap tires. These are tires that have been worn, but still have enough tread to be legally placed on another car or truck,” said Michael Blumenthal, who works primarily on scrap tire issues as vice president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
RMA is the national trade association for the United States tire manufacturing industry. RMA members manufacture about 85 percent of the tires shipped within the United States annually.
All tires sold in the United States are required by federal law to have “wear bars” – molded strips of rubber that indicate when a tire is worn to two thirty-seconds inch. Many states require tires worn to two thirty seconds inch of tread to be removed from service. Tire manufacturers and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) also recommend that tires be removed from service when worn to that level. NHTSA has many other guidelines such as tires being free from chunking, bumps or bulges, showing cord, ply or tread separation. State motor vehicles agencies set individual standards for tread wear and damage, and pass or fail is normally at the discretion of the individual inspector. ...read more
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Retreads rolling along and racking up benefits
Retreaded tires are the unsung heros of reduction, reuse, recycling and recovery. Rarely getting news coverage or public attention, the many benefits of retreads have long been quietly appreciated by the trucking, bussing, heavy equipment and airline industries. These days, with new tire prices on the rise and the popularity of pickup trucks, SUVs, recreational vehicles and off-roading, retreads are also saving these drivers big bucks over new tires – up to 70 percent in some instances.
When you add in the green factor, particularly appealing to many consumers, retreads stand out as an environmentally smart way of reuse and reduction. The history of retreading dates back to the early 1900s, shortly after the advent of the balloon tire. It did not take a genius to see that when a tread wore off that it was a good idea to replace the tread rather than throwing away the bulk of the tire.
Retreading or recapping came into widespread use during World War II due to shortages of natural rubber and other commodities. Automobile tire retreading continued after the war, but as the number of tire brands, sizes and shapes multiplied, and as radials were introduced, it became uneconomical for many retreaders to keep up with the various molds required. ...read more