America consumes approximately 15 million new truck tires every year. It takes roughly 18 gallons of oil to produce one new tire. That’s 270,000,000 million gallons of oil each year for tires. Imagine if that could be reduced by two-thirds?
With ongoing construction projects and increased summer operations at mountain resorts, areas have an ever-expanding need to deploy a dependable, cost-effective artillery of work trucks, utility vehicles, and SUVs. And when a resort has to outfit more than a few dozen vehicles with new tires, the price tag can be high (as is the environmental cost). And only certain tires can withstand the daily beating they take from fire roads and construction sites.
That’s where Treadwright Tires can help. When TreadWright Tires were developed more than 30 years ago, the company focused on retreading tires for fleet and delivery vehicles, like mail trucks. As the market shifted in the 1990s towards cheaper, imported rubber amid a growing demand for SUVs and pickups, TreadWright realized that while imports made competition difficult, the lower quality of imported tires produced an opportunity. And realizing tire costs were going to be an issue for many businesses as oil prices continued to rise, the company set out to create an environmentally-friendly and affordable truck tire that was made in the U.S.
Now based in Texas, the company has been hard at work developing tires with aggressive mud- and all-terrain designs. TreadWright uses a remold manufacturing process that is nearly identical to new tire manufacturing. The process starts with a used, premium casing (Goodyear, Michelin, etc.) that has passed a complete integrity inspection. The used tread is buffed off the casing, and then the tire is completely rebuilt with a new commercial-grade tread compound. The rebuilt casing is remolded with the same presses and manufacturing processes used to cure new tires. And the Department of Transportation has determined that remolded tires and new tires have the exact same defect rate.
What truly sets TreadWright tires apart from other retreads is the use of full-grade semi truck rubber and more aggressive tread designs, which is ideal for off-roaders and construction vehicles. In addition, in the late 1990s, TreadWright partnered with an Icelandic business to build a carbide product into its tires, resulting in less noise and wear.
Other benefits: TreadWright tires are produced with 70 percent recycled materials (the company looks to get that above 85 percent in the future). Each tire uses approximately 6 gallons of oil, compared to the aforementioned 18 gallons used to make a new tire. In addition to the 12 gallons of oil saved per tire, the environmentally-conscious efforts result in a large price advantage. TreadWright tires cost about 60 percent less than name-brand tires. And because of the reduced manufacturing costs, the company can invest more in rubber compounds to create improved wear characteristics in off-road applications.
More benefits loom. A tire can only be remolded once, according to safety standards, but TreadWright is in the midst of researching how many times an LT/SUV casing can be put through the mold-cure process and retain its structural integrity. The airline industry recycles a tire up to four times, and the commercial trucking industry recycles tires 8 to 10 times.
Big Sky Resort, Mont., currently uses 10-ply Guard-dog and Warden model TreadWright tires on almost 50 resort vehicles, including pickup trucks, SUVs, and heavier plow vehicles. “We have been running TreadWright tires for five years and have had a good experience with the tire and company,” says mountain manager John Knapton. “The tires have a similar lifespan to a quality 10-ply mud and snow, but cost roughly half as much. We just ordered 40 tires through TreadWright’s Premium Business Account’s program, and saved roughly $3,500 over what we would have paid.”
If the resort saves $3,500 for every 10 vehicles outfitted, that’s $17,500 in savings for the entire fleet. It may not seem like a huge impact to the bottom line, but every time the resort replaces their entire line of 50 resort vehicles with remolded tires they eliminate the unnecessary consumption of 2,400 gallons of oil. Every gallon counts, as does every dollar.