The functions of a tire are pretty simple – provide a smooth grip, maintain contact between the road and the vehicle, and most of all, not let the vehicle “slip” and cause accidents. It can often be noticed that new tires perform these tasks with absolutely no difficulty, however, as the vehicle gets older, the tires begin to lose their efficiency. This is because of a common problem known as wearing out of tires.
Due to excessive friction produced when the tires are in a movement against the road, components of the tire, known as threads, wear out and this causes a loss in the grip for the vehicle. Luckily, you do not have to dig a hole in your wallet every time the threads of your tire wear out. Instead, you can do something popularly known as tire retreading.
In this article by Motoring Junction, we’re going to take a look at entire process of tire retreading. And whether or not you should get your tires retreaded.
Tire retreading is basically a process that breathes new life to your old, weary tires. Before we get into the nitty-gritty of this widely-known concept, let us first understand why tire retreading is needed.
As the tyre starts to wear off, the treads on the tyres starts getting shallow. The tread pattern is essential to make the vehicle safe on wet and grimy roads. Keep these things in mind to increase tyre life
Watch the Video Above to See the Professional way of Tyre Retreading
Firstly, by retreading a tire, you are essentially giving it a new shape. This helps improve the ride quality, the fresh rubber on the tread will be grippier. Plus, now the old tyre can be reused again.
It’s important to note that not all tires are/should be retreaded, only the ones that have performed well and have minimal damages. Some tires are beyond help after a certain period, and no amount of retreading can bring them back.
One of the greatest advantages of retreading your tires is that if you have a damaged tire you don’t have to buy a new one as it could cost more money. Taking it to a retreading centre near you could save you money.
Types of Tyre Retreading
There are mainly two methods of retreading the worn-out tires of your vehicles namely
Although named Cold retreading, this technique employs the use of heat. The tires are heated above 100 degrees (Celsius). No molds are used in this process as they are highly-priced. They are instead replaced by tire-liners.
The Hot retreading technique uses a mold in which they are heated above 150 degrees Celsius. This technique is used when you need to get the right shape of the tires. By vulcanizing tires at almost 150 degrees and upwards, it is possible to essentially change the threads and tire shape, and this is what Hot Retreading aims to do.
Tire Retreading Process
As easy as it sounds to retread your tire, when it comes down to it, there are quite a number of steps that need to be carried out.
As mentioned earlier, not all tires which are damaged can be retreaded. They have to go through an inspection where we can find out if the tire is suitable to be retreaded.
Tires aren’t just inspected manually. They go through a test called Laser Digital Shearography in which the laser scans through the whole tire and the mechanic will identify all the damages at the intricate portions. This will give the mechanic a better idea of whether he can perform retreading or not.
Once the initial inspection is done, we can move on to Tire buffing. This process involves taking out or cutting out certain portions of the tires to remove unnecessary elements and improve the flexibility of the tread.
Most importantly, by doing this, you can easily remove the blocks of tread formed on the tires which cover the area between the rubber and the grooves of the treads. This process is performed by computerized machines that are operated by skilled mechanics. We really suggest you consider an authorized dealer or service center when seeking to retread.
This stage of the process involves finding out the cause of the damages to the tires and also treating these damages in a way to avoid any further damage in the future. Even minute errors are made sure to not be left unsolved. For instance, small holes in the tires are identified by passing high voltage electricity through the tire. This also gives the tire the ability to regain its strength.
After completing the whole process mentioned above, materials are added to the casing through the aid of the computerized machines to improve the natural properties of the tire.
Computers are employed in this process, mainly to avoid any type of error caused to the systems and to improve the efficiency of the tire. Computers have become pretty accurate these days, and are slowly replacing manual jobs like these every single day.
This next step involves taking the tire and subjecting it to heat, before checking the level of the tire. This is done to find out the quality of the rubber and to verify whether it is still vulnerable or not.
This is the final step where we can find out if the tire is prepared to hit the road or not. Here, a series of inspections are done to make sure that the tire has no sort of imperfections on itself and if any of them are spotted they can be replaced immediately.
The tire goes through two tests namely visual and tactile inspection and inflation test. After all the tests are done they are then sent to the first test of Shearography where if there are any minute errors still left, they may be identified.
Pros of Tire Retreading
All the tires can be taken to the retreading process – from the biggest trucks to the smallest bicycle. This does not, however, mean that you should.
These tires are eco-friendly which helps in reducing the harmful gasses to the environment, unlike the new tires. Not all of them are eco-friendly and some of them also emit harmful carbon dioxide.
Perhaps the most important advantage is that they cost less compared to the newly bought ones which help in saving money on new tires.
You can get any type of design on the retreaded tires, as retreading can help you get the design you want.
Cons of Tyre Retreading
If this activity is performed without any aid or supervision of professionals or any improper inspection of the tires is caused, it can be a big deal as this can cause big problems to the driver’s safety.
The tires that are retreaded are technically reused tires, so they cant be counted upon. Bad retreading job can also cause tramlining
After the launch of budget tires, which are way more cheaper than the retreaded ones, there has been a tough competition between the two of them. Also, budget tires have a slight advantage since they are brand new and are way cheaper than the retreaded ones.
Should you get your Vehicle’s tyre retreaded?
Generally, if the retreading is done by a professional, it’s quite safe to do. However, no one should risk it with their high performance vehicles.
Tyre retreading is fine for your small commuter car, or agricultural vehicles like tractor.
Most transport companies retread the tyres of their trucks and buses. However, it can be risky as these tyres have to bear lot of load. The sidewall structure of these tyres gets weak overtime, which is difficult to detect from naked eye. There is a chance of tyre bursting if retreaded tyre has weak sidewall.
If the new thread is not stuck properly by a professional, the tread may start separating from the tyre.
Honestly, I wouldn’t risk retreading tyre on any of my road vehicles. But it can be great for reusing tyres on Farm Tractors and other low speed vehicles.
So there you have it. Tire retreading is a simple and effective concept, but should you really consider getting the process done over just buying budget tires? At the end of the day, it all boils down to the user’s comfort and choice. Learn how to rotate tyres for even wear
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