I would like to share a brief story with you. We have two stores in the Phoenix area. Our mix includes passenger, light and medium truck, farm and lawn and garden tires. We operate three service trucks and employ eight service men. After reading your (Nov. 29) editorial, ``Zipper failures growing,'' our company decided to follow your recommendations. Our supplier made up 8-ft. air hoses. We held meetings with our tire service men and explained the danger in working with steel-cord tires.
Within four hours of the meeting, a service man was in the field working on a tubeless truck tire.
While airing it up, he stood off to the side and also told the truck driver to do so. The driver said it was safe (to stand in front of the tire), but the service man persisted. At 85 psi, the tire exploded-leaving a 24-inch ``zipper'' in its sidewall.
Without your recommendations, the tire service man and driver would most certainly have suffered serious injury or death.
Robert C. Slagle, President
S&S Tire Co.
Editor's note: Thanks, Mr. Slagle. We're glad you and your staff heeded our warning and followed the precautions outlined by experts E.J. Wagner of Tire Technical Inc. and Marvin Bozarth of the American Retreaders' Association in that article.
Perhaps your experience will convince others to follow these procedures and thereby save lives.
If anyone missed them earlier, here are the precautions recommended for airing up either light truck or larger radials of all-steel construction:
Use a safety cage when inflating any all-steel radial-and allow the tire to stand three minutes before removing it.
Use an 8-ft.-long air hose so the service worker can stand out of the way of a potential blast.
Inflate to 20 psi, then stop to examine the tire before inflating further. Feel and watch for sidewall bulges or shadows indicating broken cables.
Such precautions won't eliminate tire explosions. But they can help safeguard service workers if one should occur.
CONSUMER REPORTS RAPPED
Editor's note: The following is an open letter to Consumer Reports magazine from Tire Retread Information Bureau Director Harvey Brodsky.
This is in response to the derogatory reference to passenger retreaded tires (``Retiring old tires'') in the February issue of Consumer Reports.
Specifically, the statement, ``You can't predict handling characteristics, tread life, or safety with recaps,'' is untrue and an unfortunate example of very sloppy research and reporting.
For your information-and the information of (Consumer Reports) readers-retreaded tires, including retreaded passenger tires, have the same safety, handling and performance characteristics as comparable new tires. To state otherwise, as was done in (that) article, is simply not true.
Retreaded pasenger tires are safely used by millions of motorists and make a very major contribution toward not only saving them money, but in helping them to reduce the scrap tire problem and conserve oil and other natural resources. Retreaded tires are much more environmentally friendly than new tires.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency actively promotes the use of passenger retreaded tires on all government vehicles, as does the U.S. General Services Administration and the U.S. Postal Service.
Furthermore, your readers might be interested to learn that President Clinton signed Executive Order 12873 on Oct. 20, 1993. Section 506 of this document specifically requires all federal agencies to procure retreaded tires, including passenger retreaded tires, in accordance with (Resource Conservation and Recovery Act) Section 6002.
As a long-time reader of Consumer Reports, I was both saddened and angered when I read the above-mentioned article. Saddened because I grew up with your magazine and always assumed I could depend on accurate, unbiased reporting when reading it. I now question this assumption.
I was angered because of the tremendous amount of potential harm your magazine has done to the thousands of hard working men and women who make their living from retreading.
Since I am certain many (Consumer Reports) readers will now be hesitant to consider buying retreaded passenger tires because of what they read, I do not believe it is unreasonable to request that you not only print this letter, but an apology to your readers as well.
Finally, I would be interested in learning the source of your reporter's information. The three major industry associations-the American Retreaders' Association, National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association and our organization, the Tire Retread Information Bureau-were not consulted. Had they been consulted, this unfortunate incident could easily have been avoided.
I am enclosing an information packet along with a video for your review. Please pass it along to your reporter with our compliments.
Harvey Brodsky, Managing Director
Tire Retread Information Bureau
Pacific Grove, Calif.