Locally produced retread tires (also known as locally grown tires) are far better for the environment, your vehicle, and your bank account than imported tires. While it’s true, imported tires are incredibly affordable and are giving retreaders a run for their money, the quality is far inferior to a well-crafted American-made retread tire. Not only that, but the environmental impact of manufacturing new tires and the impact that these imports have on the hundreds of thousands of American remanufacturing jobs cannot be overlooked.
State of the Product: American-made Retreads vs. Imported Tires
Not only did tire giant Bridgestone just score another major win against Chinese manufacturers in its battle on intellectual property infringement, but Consumer Reports has weighed in and found that “Chinese Brands Are No Bargains.” In a direct comparison test, the consumer advocacy group found that the imported tires didn’t measure up to the leading brands in all-weather tests. While the lower price point is appealing to bargain-conscious buyers, these inferior tires end up costing you more in the long run and may have devastating safety consequences.
“Chinese-branded tires are a whole different world,” reports Car and Driver technical director Dave VanderWerp. “You absolutely get what you pay for, which, as we found in our test, is a capability that is nothing short of scary. The Ling Longs in our test scored less than half the performance-based points than even the next-best, eighth-place tire. That’s how far they are off the pace.”
So why, exactly, are foreign tires different than major brands whose new tires are manufactured in overseas? Tires manufactured by Bridgestone, for example, are designed and manufactured to the highest level of quality standards, regardless of where they’re manufactured. On the other hand, Chinese tire brands lack the oversight that the major brands have. American retreads about bound by levels of manufacturing standards. So high, in fact, that many local governments and federal agencies rely on retreads and almost 80% of aircraft in the U.S. rely on retreaded tires.
State of the Union: The Economic Impact of Imported Tires on American Retread Manufacturing
Earlier this year the International Trade Commission voted “Not to impose countervailing and antidumping duties. ‘If this situation persists, the Chinese will just open the spigots full blast,’ warned one US retreader. The United Steelworkers union has filed a complaint with the US Court of International Trade seeking a review of the International Trade Commission‘s recent negative determination in the ITC’s investigation of truck and bus tires from China” (European Rubber Journal).
Soon thereafter, on May 26, Marangoni Tread North America, headquartered in Madison, TN, launched a petition on We the People, the White House’s official petition website, to encourage the President to appoint a new commissioner to fill the vacancy at the U.S. International Trade Commission. Sign the petition here!
About Marangoni’s efforts, Tire Business reports, “The petition, which cites the threat to the U.S. retreading industry that low-priced imports represents, is addressed to President Donald Trump and challenges him to ‘honor his campaign promise by taking appropriate action to ensure America First.’ Specifically, the petition requests the administration fill the vacancy on the U.S. International Trade Commission (ITC) so the ‘full commission can review this important case’ and asks the president to direct the Commerce Department and the office of the U.S. Trade Representative ‘to judiciously monitor imports of truck and bus tires until such time as the case can be fully adjudicated.’ The petition states the ‘entire retread industry was shocked and outraged’ at Commerce’s Feb. 22 decision that the Chinese imports had not caused the U.S. truck tire industry ‘material injury’ and thus did not warrant the imposition of countervailing and/or antidumping duties.”
And earlier in May, in a keynote speech at the North American Tire & Retread Expo, Joseph Saoud, president of Bridgestone Americas U.S. and Canadian truck, bus, and retread, addressed the issue of inferior imported tires and the significant and detrimental impact they’re having on the American retreading industry. In the speech, he encouraged all retread industry stakeholders — from tire manufacturers to retreaders to dealer to consumers — to advocate for the safety and sustainability of the industry and to fight against the “new is better” mindset (Rubber & Plastics News).
- Remanufactured goods (which includes retread tires) are virtually indistinguishable from similar new goods
- The cost of a remolded tire is 30 to 50 percent lower than that of a new tire.
- U.S. remanufacturing supports 180,000 full-time jobs
- The U.S. produces more than $45 billion of remanufactured goods per year
- In 2011, the retread tire industry accounted for more than $100 billion in production
State of the Environment: Retread Tires Versus Bargain Bin Imports
Retreads are much, much greener than new tires. Running on retreads is a clearly the environmental winner. Today’s premium-brand tires are designed to be retreaded multiple times, so a single tire casing can see more than 500,000 miles of use!
The retreading process produces significantly less carbon emissions than the production of a new tire. A study commissioned by Centre for Remanufacturing and Reuse and carried out by carbon footprint specialists Best Foot Forward found that “retreading tires is more environmentally beneficial than buying new, with the retreading of light commercial vehicle tires reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 26.4 kg and giving material savings of 17.6 kg” (Trucking Info).
Furthermore, according to the EPA, production of a new passenger tire requires 7 gallons of oil, but a retread tire consumes only 2.5 gallons.
Retreading tires saves the nation millions of gallons of oil each year, reduces emissions, and minimizes waste.