What is retreading? Retreading is where casings, worn inspected tires, receive a new tread.
Retreading uses only high quality, carefully inspected tire casings. The old-worn tread is buffed away and a new tread is bonded to the tire body in a process very similar to the manufacture of a new tire. There are a few different processing techniques, but affixing a new tread through the application of heat, time and pressure are key to the finished product.
Since the early 1900s, tire retreading has grown steadily as an established industry. The number of retread plants in North America is down to 600 independently owned and operated from 2009 numbers of approximately 850. These plants are various sizes, from small operations producing 20 retreaded tires per day to the very large plants processing 1,000 or more retreads per day. Additionally, there are plants that retread only specialized tires such as those for off-the-road, farm and construction equipment. Altogether, these plants retread millions of tires a year, using millions of pounds of synthetic and natural rubber. This represents over $3 billion in retread tires sold annually. More info on the economic impact of retreading here.
Long-haul trucking companies are a major market for retreaded tires and use millions of retread tires annually. Profitability suffers if they are unable to use retreaded tires. Radial truck tires are guaranteed by the new tire manufacturers to be retreadable in the US, however, many foreign produced tires cannot be retreaded. (In some instances, the major tire manufacturers guarantee two retreads on steel radial truck tires.)
Passenger cars, aircraft, sand and gravel trucks, delivery vans, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS), farm equipment and earthmovers can use all retreaded tires. Retreading opportunities increase throughout the US and internationally annually.