As rising oil prices contributes to a rapid escalation in new tire costs, Bridgestone Bandag Tire Solutions (BBTS), a division of Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, is launching a campaign to promote the wider use of retreads by truck fleets. “Tightness in the market supply for new replacement tires in 2011 has made retreading more attractive for all types of fleets,” explained Chris Ripani, BBTS director of marketing for strategic brands and channels.

“Fleets that now retread are extending their [tire casing] age limits to realize the most value from the casings they own,” he said. “We’ve also seen fleets return to retreading, or perhaps evaluate retreads for the very first time, as a strategy to maximize their tire programs and keep their trucks rolling.”

BBTS has a new web site, www.retreadinstead.com, designed to provide fleet managers with tools and information on how to get the most out of retreading. The site includes a Wheel Position Analyzer tool, a cost-analysis example for considering extending current casing age limits, and an informational video on Shearography, a modern casing inspection technology that ensures retread reliability.

Ripani pointed to the experience of Mike Bice, tire program manager for Crete Carrier Corp., who has helped extend Crete’s tire casing life from five to seven years.

“We’ve been tweaking our tire program for about five years, trying to find a casing age limit that provided the best return on investment for our fleet,” said Bice, noting that Crete uses Bandag brand retreads. “We spent a lot of time diagnosing our scrap pile. From the data we gathered, we determined that our casing age limit should be seven years.”

By adding those two years, he said Crete’s been able to gaine one to two additional retreads per casing, thus significantly lowering overall operating costs for maintaining the over 172,000 wheel positions within its fleet.

BBTS said it has conducted studies of more than 13-million tires rejected for retreading and determined that 30% of those commercial truck-tire casings could have been retreaded at least one more time if the repair specs had been different.

There’s an environmental benefit as well to retreading, according to the Retread Tire Association, as every time a typical-size truck tire is retreaded, there is a savings of approximately 15 gallons of oil, plus there is one less tire to go to already overcrowded landfills.