Maintenance

Cost-effective retreading

Posted on March 1, 2002

It is possible to reduce tire costs while all other operating costs soar upward, says Paul Robotham, manager of vehicle maintenance services for Northeast Utilities in Newington, Conn. With over 2,900 pieces of equipment under his jurisdiction, a 10 to 12 percent savings in tire costs means a substantial gain. Here’s how he does it: 1. Spec for quality and durability — “While we used to settle for the least expensive bias ply tires, we now spec a premium brand of steel belted radial,” says Robotham. “We pay a little more up front, but the life-cycle of these tires generously repays us for our higher initial investment.” 2. Maintain tire condition — Robotham says he is able to retread the casing on a set of tires about four times in the tires’ life, which costs about 25 to 30 percent less than a new set. And premium retreads can actually provide greater wear resistance than new tires. 3. Standardize tires within fleet — By standardizing tire sizes, plies and brands on different vehicle sizes, you can reduce the number and variety of tires you need to keep in stock. 4. Use vendor support — Robotham uses an independent vendor for all tire repairs, retreadings and rim mountings. In-house mechanics only have to install the tires on the buses. Each of Northeast Utilities’ 26 garage locations receives tire deliveries as needed, based on the vendor’s records. Source: Tire Retread Information Bureau, www.retread.org

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