Retreaded passenger tires ``get no respect,'' to borrow the words of comedian Rodney Dangerfield. But it's doubtful if suing Consumer Reports, as some are suggesting, would do anything to enhance retreading's image in the mind of the typical tire buyer. What's more, the publicity sure to accompany such a lawsuit could do more to harm than enhance the public's perception of retreads.
The retreading industry has more effective options open to it in responding to an unfavorable comment made in that consumer magazine's February issue.
The Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) called on industry groups to take ``appropriate'' legal action after Consumer Reports told readers, in an article examining methods of reducing scrap tire piles, that: ``You can't predict handling characteristics, tread life or safety with recaps.''
Those are ``fighting words'' to an industry that long has endured what it considers unfavorable and undeserved treatment in the news and entertainment media.
TRIB Managing Director Harvey Brodsky issued the call-to-arms because Consumer Reports failed to publish and respond to letters from TRIB and others demanding the magazine apologize for its ``slur'' against retreads.
Officials of the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association, American Retreaders' Association and the Tread Rubber Manufacturers Group say they'll confer with their members before responding to Mr. Brodsky's request.
We suggest a different and more positive approach: Invite Consumer Reports to test retreads against comparably priced new tires and report its findings.
Surely, such tests are in keeping with the publication's editorial focus-and would provide an excellent opportunity for telling consumers about the quality, safety and money-saving advantages of retreads.
Passenger tire retreading won't gain respectability by suing its detractors. But retreading could turn skeptics into proponents by demonstrating its value before so respected and impartial a tribunal as Consumer Reports.