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Does anyone make retreads anymore?

Driving out to Death Valley with a carload of friends in '72 we heard a flapping. One guy recognized it as retread failure: the tread had separated and was flapping every time the wheel turned.

Does anyone retread tires anymore? It would hardly seem worth the effort.

I had the same thing happen to me many years ago. I did not have much money then and retreads were cheap and kept me on the road.

I have not seen retreads for passenger cars in a long time. Big trucks still use retreads.

I was driving on Rt 95 one day, in the left land, and saw what appeared to be a tire rolling down the highway next to a car in the far right lane. Both moved into the breakdown lane. Later I realized what I saw was the tread that had totally separated from the tire in one piece and was rolling down the road. It was either a bad retread, or a badly manufactured tire

The younger members of the forum may not recall this factoid, but–up through at least the '70s–Greyhound used to use “re-grooved” tires on their buses.

They took bald tires and had a mechanic use some kind of tool to inscribe new extremely shallow “grooves” in these dangerous tires in order to get a few hundred additional miles out of them. Yes, these tires were EXTREMELY prone to blow-outs.

It was only as a result of NHTSA oversight that Greyhound finally stopped putting passengers’ lives in danger.

But, to return to the topic of recaps, I think that only truck companies use that type of technology nowadays.

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I’ve never heard of a retreaded radial ply tire. Perhaps Capriracer could post in on this one.

I did a quick Google Search. I only found truck and RV tires, no car tires as retreads. I haven’t seen them advertised since the 70’s.

J.C. Whitney used to sell a regrooving tool. Unfortunately, regrooving tires was a widespread practice among among used car dealers. I think it was in 1963 that a Greyhound bus skidded on wet pavement and overturned with fatalities. The rear tires were regrooved in an X pattern.
A recap is different in that new rubber is applied to the carcass. I used recap tires into the mid 1960s. My dad used to buy recapped snow tires. My brother had a chunk come out of a recapped snow tire on the rear of a Studebaker Lark. We were on a trip and bought a,replacement tire at K-Mart. This was about 1967. I don’t remember any of us buying a recapped tire after that. We used to argue as to whether a recapped tire on a good carcass was better than a cheap third line new tire. Tires used to be classified as premium, first line, second line and third line. A recapped tire on a premium carcass was really a,pretty good tire.

I remember seeing that tool in the JC catalog. $39 or something like that. Back in the 60’s I would buy the Firestone retreads that were on sale four for $99 or two snow tires for $49. It was pretty common to use retread snow tires. I suspect the labor cost now and legal issues makes it uneconomical except for the large truck tires. I never really had a problem with them.

Bandag was one of the bigger ones, and they’re still around. I saw how they did truck recaps on “How It’s Made”. Pretty interesting. Seemed to me, if done right, They’d be good candidates for local delivery trucks and short runs. I’m not sure if I drive long distance, that I’d use them.

Maybe recaps are still available

Here’s a link to some aircraft retreaded tires.

I meant recap, but I notice that calls them retreads. They don’t seem that cheap to me, compared to the last price I paid for good tires.

I saw a stake-body truck stacked to overflowing with old tires (tied down) on the road today , H & D Tire, which recycles tires; they don’t mention recapping.

A local tire dealer who was quite successful in the recapping business in the late 50s now operates a business shredding scrap tires and shipping the rubber to paving companies. There is a state mandated $2.00 fee on every tire sold to pay for shredding.

I wonder why no one hauls the tires into the Gulf of Mexico and builds a reef with them.

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Long-lived radials at a decent price makes recapping not very attractive.

@Rod Knox

Actually, attempts have been made to create reefs with old tires

And to some degree it’s proven to be an ecological nightmare

I saw an episode about it . . . I seem to remember that the tires didn’t even stay put. The currents moved them FAR from where they were dropped. Now money is being spent to remove them.

I’m not sure if that episode was about gulf of mexico or somewhere else

When I hear about old tires I think haven for mosquitoes. They are a great place for collecting water undisturbed for the little buggers to hatch. With Zika now, its even more important to recycle them, grind them up, cut them up, drill holes in them, and otherwise make sure they can’t collect water. Not to go off on a tangent but I think the NIH is full of beans. They may come up with a Zika vaccine, but that won’t stop gianne barre. Plus with sexual transmission and half the US at risk, it needs to be taken seriously and quit the happy PC talk. Ooof. Got that off my chest.

What is worse for me than not being able to get a tire recapped is the loss of shoe repairmen who will resole a shoe. I take a 14AA shoe. The 14 length is relatively easy to find, but not in the AA width. When I have to substitute a larger width, it is like putting a tire on a car that is too wide for the rim. I would have a show resoled three or four times, but the shoe repairmen in my area have retired. You can keep your retreaded tires, but please send me someone who can retread my shoes.

My dad had a good friend who owned 2 local tire recapping shops in our town. He did a great business until recaps fell out of favor. They were both reborn as “used tire” shops but only one remains in business today. I guess he could have sold truck recaps but I recall that his son told me that the equipment for trucks was too big and too expensive.

As others have stated, retreading is alive and well. It is mainly used in situations where it makes sense economically - trucks, aircraft, that sort of thing.

But for smaller tires, it just doesn’t make sense to retread a tire when a new one is only a few dollars more.

  • PLUS -

Truck and aircraft tires have been designed to be retreaded, car and light truck tires have not. That means the retreader is taking a risk on car and LT tires that he isn’t with truck and aircraft tires.

Also, there are 2 types of retreads - cap and full. In the case of a full retread, and the tread and the sidewall are replaced to the point where the original tire brand may be obscured.

The cap - commonly called recap - is just replacing the tread. In that case, you can still read the name of the original tire manufacturer.

The most common cap is for the tread to be made (and cured) as a separate unit and cut to length with a bonding layer of rubber between the precured tread and the casing. Not only can the tread be made of rubber that will wear better than can be processed the other way (by extrusion), the process makes for very dense rubber.

Oh, and regrooving? Perfectly acceptable on tires that are regrooveable - it will say so on the sidewall. But you do have to do it in a way that makes sense. And “X” pattern is not that way.

And lastly: BillRussell said: “I was driving on Rt 95 one day, in the left land, and saw what appeared to be a tire rolling down the highway next to a car in the far right lane. Both moved into the breakdown lane. Later I realized what I saw was the tread that had totally separated from the tire in one piece and was rolling down the road. It was either a bad retread, or a badly manufactured tire.”

That was most likely a Runflat - a tire operated without benefit of inflation pressure and damaged to the point where the sidewalls detach from the tread, leaving the tread as a hoop. If you had captured that hoop, there is a 90% probability you could have found the hole that let the air out. The other 10%? The hole is in the damaged area and can’t be located because of the damage.

Aircraft tires, because of their uneven wear caused by landings, are recapped several times over their lives. In the past as many as 7 times. No safety issue here.