New rubber budgets and occasional blowouts have always been the determining factors in how fleet managers choose to roll down the road. Sadly, top on the list of factors that cause most collisions involving trucks have often been ageing tyres; and it’s easy to understand why.
The cost of buying brand new tyres for your fleet of trucks can cost you an arm and a leg, forcing most fleet operators to compromise on the safety of their vehicles, drivers and other road users.
As a road user, my search for questions why sometimes tyres fail to take a firm grip of the road during unfolding emergencies has led me to one conclusion; always check your vehicle’s rubbers.
Consequently, the most ideal set of fleet tyres must be carefully chosen, which brings us to the reason for this post.
But first, let’s understand what retread tyres are. A retread is simply the part of the tyre that wears off when we drive. That is the casing—the part of your tyre that rarely gets attention. In other words, it’s the bead, the sidewalls where the tyre meets the rim as well as the tread.
Generally, federal regulations dictate that tyres should be changed when the tyre tread depth hits 2/32 of an inch or when the steer tyres get to 4/32 of an inch.
Thankfully, with advanced technology, there are retread companies that now take used casings and put them through a thorough process that manufactures new treads.
Back to the topic at hand…
There are numerous factors that fleet managers ought to consider when considering the purchase of a tyre and these include fuel consumption, dry braking, tread life, the wet handling abilities and of course the price of the tyres.
At this juncture, I must state that when it comes to fleet tyres, never sacrifice safety and performance for design because in emergencies and cost-cutting measures, how cool your tyres look at the parking lot means absolutely nothing.
So when you have to choose between buying retreaded and new rollers, there are a few things you need to consider.
Managing a fleet of vehicles is expensive. The cost of maintenance alone can suck a huge chunk out of your bottom line. Hence, you have to look for ways to save money—and tyre retreading is a worthwhile practice. Retreaded tyres are cost-effective, with price tags that are less than of the new ones. In fact, retreaded tyres cost a fraction of the price of brand new tyres. Additionally, tyres can be retreaded severally hence extending the life of the tyre by about 600,000 miles. With all these combined, the cost of a fleet tyre can reduce by up to two-thirds.
The Green Aspect
The process of retreading tyres is easier and environmentally friendly than dumping old, wasted tyres in landfills and purchasing new ones. Of course, broken up tyre debris littering highways has tainted the glory of retreads with many considering retreads unsafe; fortunately, the cons of retreaded tyres outweigh those of standard tyres.
Keeping tyres out of landfills simply means fewer chemicals leaking into the environment and less space occupied by decomposing rubber. Furthermore, the process of tyre retreading consumes less oil than the process of manufacturing brand new tyres—in other words, 7 gallons against 22 gallons. That translates to a saving of 45 gallons of oil when one tyre is retreaded three times.
Safety and Stability
While the notion that remanufactured tyres tend to perform poorly and are less safe and stable at high speeds, it’s no longer applicable in this era of advanced technology. Today’s tyre retread processes produce tyres that can move for long distances when drivers and fleet managers ensure proper inflation and carefully monitor the tread as it wears down.
While one argument against retreaded tyres that may hold some ground is that re-manufactured tyres are of inferior quality. However, it all comes down to the retreading company.
A reputable company like 3G tyres does an exceptional job when it comes to what the company specialises in—retreading tyres.
Though the advantages of retreads outweigh their disadvantages, fleet managers must commit to a routine tyre management program for retreads to pay off optimally.
Given that tyres are the second biggest item in a fleet’s operating costs, it’s a rewarding commitment. Be sure to perform routine inspections to check your fleet’s tyre pressure and adjust them whenever necessary while keeping an eye the tread and wear depth.