By all accounts, the down economy in which fleets have had to struggle to remain profitable is expected to continue at least for the remainder of 2009. Having a cost-effective tire program in place, including retreading casings wherever possible, is more important than ever.

According to Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions, retreads are not only the lowest price option in most cases, but also the lowest cost option for fleets over time, especially with today's longer wearing tread compounds. “What we've found is when economic times get tougher, fleets that never considered retreading before start looking at it,” notes Chris Hoffman, manager-TBR (truck bus radial tires) and retread product marketing for Bandag.

Bandag offers a variety of application-specific retreads, such as MegaTrek drive and FCR trailer products with longer-wearing tread designs, that help lower a fleet's total cost per mile. Last year, Bandag launched the BDY2, a next-generation, severe-service tread for applications where superior traction from a drive tire is a must. Hoffman reports his company has also seen significant increase in demand for fuel-efficient tread designs.

“We've found that for a lot of the fleets with which we do business, having a good retread program is part of their overall tire maintenance program and has helped them through these tough economic times. They start with a high quality new tire that can be retreaded. Then at the end of the original tread life, instead of selling the tire or having to dispose of a valuable asset — which is the usable casing — they retread it several more times. That's where the value is,” says Hoffman.

Patrick Demianenko, national sales manager-retread product, Goodyear Tire and Rubber, says retreads — at about one-third the cost of a new tire — are a real money-saver for fleets in the long run. “At Goodyear, we have retread products to match all our new tires, both in appearance and performance. We suggest fleets retread tires with like-products for the best results.”

For those looking to increase fuel mileage, Demianenko notes Goodyear's Fuel Max line of new and retread products are available in all wheel positions. Fuel Max incorporates cool running compounds to help improve mpg for fuel savings. “A tire or retread that saves fuel also has a positive impact on the environment,” he adds.

New retread products from Goodyear over the past year include the UniCircle G305 LDH tread for dual drive-axle positions and the G316 LHT tread for trailer-axle-positions, both featuring Fuel Max cool-running technology.

Retreads allow fleets to maximize the value of new tire assets, says Brad Beall, retread network development manager, Michelin Americas Truck Tires. “When the original tread of the new tire is worn out, the residual value on that tire is the casing. Michelin casings are constructed with the intent that the tire will be retreaded. A fleet that doesn't take advantage of that is leaving money on the table. Many MRT [Michelin Retread Technologies] retreads provide similar miles per 32nd as the comparable new Michelin tire performance.”

Michelin offers MRT tread designs to cover the needs of end users in all vocations. During the past year, the manufacturer expanded its existing MRT product lines to include additional MRT Pre-Mold dimensions as well as a new value line of retreads. Also among the new product rollouts was the Michelin X One XTE tread for trailer axles.

According to Beall, MRT has improved the rolling resistance of the Michelin XDA2 retread for fitment on standard casing sizes and continues to provide alternative solutions in fuel efficiency with its X One wide-single product line of retreads.

Marangoni Tread NA says the opportunity for fleets to extend the service capability of their tire assets through retreading will ultimately reduce their operating costs. The unique lateral and longitudinal contoured design characteristics of Marangoni's Ringtread retreads contribute between 1 and 3% in fuel savings, the company reports, through less rolling resistance compared with conventional flat precure designs.

According to Marangoni, the Ringtread is designed to deliver even wear throughout the tread life. Where conventional flat precure has the propensity to develop uneven wear and be removed from service prematurely, the company explains, Ringtread balances tread wear and fuel consumption for optimum efficiencies.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, VISIT THESE WEB SITES:

BRIDGESTONE BANDAG
www.bandag.com

GOODYEAR TIRE & RUBBER
www.goodyear.com

MARANGONI TREAD NA
www.marangoni.com

MICHELIN RETREAD TECHNOLOGIES
www.michelintruck.com

OLIVER RUBBER
www.oliverrubber.com