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How Old is Too Old for Tire Retreading?

When is a Tire too old to retread?

Tire Retreading: When is a Tire Too Old to Retread?

Tire retreading, also known as recapping, is a process that extends the life of a tire by replacing the worn-out tread with a new one. This practice is widely adopted across the commercial trucking industry, as it provides fleets with the lowest total operating cost for their tires. However, a common concern is determining when a tire is too old to undergo the retreading process effectively. This article aims to address this question and provide comprehensive insights into the factors that influence the suitability of a tire for retreading.

Age and Other Considerations

While age is a factor to consider, it is not the leading determinant in the retreading process. Other factors such as the number of times a tire has been retreaded previously, the application the tire has been operating in, and the overall condition of the tire are more critical.

Different applications have specific industry averages for acceptable age restrictions. For instance, severe use fleets, which often involve off-road applications or tough working conditions, tend not to worry about age. In contrast, long-haul fleets, which involve long-distance driving activities, usually cap the age of their tires around seven years.

The number of repairs a tire has undergone also plays a role. Severe use fleets tend not to worry about how many repairs are in the tire, but long haul fleets on average allow three repairs. Tires that have undergone significant stress, either due to tough working conditions or limited maintenance, may not be suitable for retreading regardless of their relative age.

The Importance of Tire Inspection

While there is no clear industry guidance regarding the age at which a tire is no longer suitable for the retreading process, it’s generally considered old when the tire reaches seven or eight years of active performance. However, the condition and the brand of the tire casing is a more important factor than age in determining whether a tire is suitable for a retread.

Before retreading, the tire undergoes an in-depth inspection to determine its current condition. This inspection includes analyzing all potential failure points for the tire and testing whether its structure is strong enough to allow for the retreading to be completed. The inspection process involves both visual and electronic checks for separations, repair quality, liner blisters, and other potential issues.

Working with a Qualified Retreading Company

To ensure the quality of retread tires, it’s crucial to work with a qualified retreading firm. These companies have the expertise to conduct thorough tire analysis and testing work. They can provide detailed information about the stages each tire goes through within their plants, helping you make an informed decision based on the data they provide.

A casing asset management program can also be beneficial. These programs allow you to decide the specifications acceptable for capping your tires, such as how many times it has been capped, the age, and how many repairs are necessary.  

Tire Maintenance and Care

Proper tire maintenance is essential to extend the life of retread tires. This includes maintaining optimal tire inflation, checking tire alignment, and regularly inspecting tire treads. Underinflation, for instance, can cause tires to wear out 20% faster than average, while misaligned tires can shorten the lifespan of your retread tires.

While age is a factor to consider, it is not the primary determinant in the retreading process. The overall condition of the tire, the number of times it has been retreaded, and the application the tire has been operating in are more critical considerations. Working with a qualified retreading company and maintaining proper tire care can ensure the quality and longevity of retread tires.

Our team at STTC has significant experience as a leading local retreading firm and we can help you make the right choices for your fleet’s long-term future. To learn more about this important topic, call today.

View our Fun Facts About Retread Tires infographic.


Further Reading on Tire Retreading Insights

Further Reading on Commercial Truck Tires 101