LOUISVILLE, Ky.-Is there any reason for consumers to buy retreaded passenger tires? Not according to the American Automobile Association's Car & Travel magazine, circulated to 4.5 million AAA members in the U.S.
The bi-monthly publication, formerly AAA World, angered retreaders with an unflattering article in its January/February issue.
The article told motorists they're better off buying new tires than retreads because ``the difference in performance isn't worth the negligible difference in price.''
Under the headline ``Truth in Retreads,'' the AAA publication said competition has kept prices so low new tires are not much more expensive than retreads.
While proponents suggest retreads can reduce the number of tires scrapped each year, other automotive experts are more cautious about encouraging their use, the article said.
One question is quality, said Car & Travel, which went on to acknowledge the existence of federal minimum standards for passenger retreads and the certification programs of the industry's trade associations.
``Unfortunately, you can't easily tell where a particular retread came from. You have to trust the dealer and the warranty,'' Car & Travel told its readers.
Then, there's the problem of finding a matched set of retreads. ``Different tires from different manufacturers have different internal construction, and you can't be assured of getting identical casings when you buy two retreads,'' according to the article.
``The differences will show up on the car, especially one with a finely tuned suspension,'' David Van Sickle, director of the AAA Automotive Engineering and Consumer Programs, said in the article.
He said the performance difference isn't worth the ``negligible'' difference in price.
``This is complete nonsense,'' retorted an angry Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Tire Retread Information Bureau. ``Where does (Mr. Van Sickle) get this information? I invite him to show us the evidence.
``The fact is,'' continued Mr. Brodsky, ``millions and millions of passenger cars, light trucks and trucks routinely use retreads that may or may not be matched sets.
``I defy Mr. Van Sickle to tell. . .the difference in the ride between a set of quality retreads and comparable new tires,'' said Mr. Brodsky, adding that TRIB will furnish the retreads if Mr. Van Sickle accepts its challenge.