Retread Tires: An Economical Alternative to New Tires

Retread Tires: An Economical Alternative to New Tires

Once a tire is worn out, it does not need to be discarded immediately. Instead, the old tire can be retreaded with a new and safe tire tread that will last for another round. Retread tires, also known as recapped tires, are widely used with heavy vehicles, such as trucks, buses and off-the-road vehicles in various industries. 

Read why reused and retreaded tires are a more economical and environmentally friendly option for buying new tires and how Nokian Tyres ensures the safety and quality of our expert retreading process.

What is tire retreading?

Tire retreading is a method to reuse old, worn tires and extend their service life. Once the old tread is worn out, it can be removed, and the old tire casing is reused by applying a new tread.

However, not all tires are suitable for retreading. Whether or not worn tires can be reused by retreading depends on the tire casings and their quality. Cheaper, low-quality tire casings should not be retreaded as they are likely not designed to be retreaded and might have suffered damage beyond repair. With intact tire casings, the old tire can be brought back to life with a new tire tread. 

With high-quality tires, it is possible to retread a tire several times. Therefore, the same retreaded tires can have up to a million kilometers behind them after they are finally disposed of at the end of their service life.

Benefits of retreading tires

  • Reduced material cost. The total cost of car tires can add up in a large fleet of heavy vehicles. Therefore, retread tires are integral to smart and well-optimized tire life cycle management. Two retreads with the same quality tire casings can save tire costs up to 50 %, making retreading an economical alternative to a new set of tires.
  • Smaller environmental effect. Manufacturing tires is energy-intensive and requires nonrenewable raw materials like natural rubber. Reusing old tire casings is an environmentally friendly alternative to buying new tires, with each retreading saving about 40 kg of rubber. Tire retreading saves about 70 liters of oil and can reduce the CO2 emissions up to 75 % for each retread tire, making the carbon footprint of the tire only a quarter of what it would be with a whole new tire. If the same tire is retreaded more than once, the positive impact on the environment is even greater.
  • Safety. There are misconceptions about retread tires, their safety being a common one. When tires are retreaded with quality casings by professionals using premium materials, the retreaded tires are safe and reliable after retreading. Retreading quality tires is also safer than buying cheap new tires as the traction and driving qualities of the tires are better with premium treads as they are in cheap tires.

How are retread tires made?

  1. The tire retreading process begins with thoroughly inspecting the used tire to ensure it meets the quality standards for retreading. This detailed quality assessment helps identify any faults in the worn tire and tires that should be discarded.

  2. After inspection, the worn tread pattern is methodically removed by buffing, creating the groundwork for applying the new tread design. Following the removal, a second inspection unveils any hidden damages.

  3. In the subsequent stages, minor damages or punctures in the tire's casing are opened and filled, making the tire casing ready to receive a fresh tire tread. A specialized Nokian Tyres Noktop adhesive for tire retreading is added, allowing the application of a new cushion gum sheet between the existing tire casing and the new tread.

  4. The new tread is cut to the required dimensions for the measured tire size. Now the tread is assembled onto the casing. Before applying the tread, the cushion gum is applied to the casing or the new tread. The cushion gum bonds the casing and tread together. Once this is done, we attach the tread onto the casing. After ensuring that the tread is accurately attached to the casing, it is stitched to eliminate any air between them.

  5. Next, the tire is packed into a curing bag called envelope and vacuum-sealed to remove excess air, ensuring a tight fit. The fully prepared tire in the bag is placed into a vulcanizing chamber with controlled temperature and pressure.

  6. After a final inspection and finishing paint touches, the retreaded tire is ready to use with its fresh tread. The same tire casing can go through this tire retreading process more than once, extending its life, cutting costs, and significantly reducing the tire’s environmental impact.

Retread tires for Nordic conditions

Even without the retreading process, heavy tires must perform in challenging conditions that vary widely from one season to the next. For this reason, Nokian Tyres has developed a specialized two-layer Cap/Base -structure that can take on the Nordic winter. 

By timing tire installation right and changing new retread tires in the autumn, the upper layer of the tire tread wears out, exposing a harder rubber compound better suited for driving in summer. The outer cap-layer of the special tread design is made for safe winter driving, whereas the harder base-layer performs in warmer conditions. The Noktop tire retreading materials are equipped with the same innovative tread design and provide safe driving year-round, even with retreaded tires. 

Nokian Tyres E-tread: innovative use of materials

Retread tires are already economical and environmentally friendly. The Nokian Tyres E-tread product range minimizes the use of raw materials and energy even further with innovative rubber compound recycling without compromising safety and tire quality.

Become a Nokian Tyres tread dealer 

By providing Nokian Tyres Noktop retreading services you can provide to your customers throughout the entire tire life cycle.

Read more