Retreading a tyre is a re-manufacturing process for tyres that replace the tread on worn tires. Retreading is applied to casings of spent tires that have been inspected and repaired preserving about 90% of the material in spent tires and the material cost is about 20% compared to manufacturing a new one.
How does tyre retreading work
To understand tyre retreading you need to know the building blocks that make up a tyre:
Look at the image above, pay attention to two components: the casing (also called the carcass) and the tread (the part of the tyre that comes into contact with the road). As you see the tread goes above the casing. In retreading the old/used tyre casing is inspected for damage and a new tread is added to the casing using a process either called pre cure or mould cure. Pre cure is the most common: the thread is glued onto the casing using a retread cement
There are two business models retreaders employ: a retreading service business, a customer brings a tyre to be retreaded or a product business. A retreader acquires worn tyres, retreads it and resells it (this is a popular model as the retreader can offer the service to remove the old tyre meaning a constant supply of tyres available to retread) .
Tyres are expensive, more so in a country like South Africa where not a lot of people have money to purchase new tyres. Retreads fits in the marketplace where people or companies can’t or don’t want to pay the full price for a tyre. Leading to three options: cheaper tyre brand outside of the big 5: Bridgestone (Japanese), Michelin (French), Goodyear (American), Continental (German) and Pirelli (Italian), secondhand tyres and retreads. Cheaper brands are still quite expensive, while the lifespan of available secondhand tyres are hit and miss. Leading people to sometimes opt for retreads.
Image credits: Weibold, Tyresoles