WASHINGTON-Private certification of retread facilities can easily take the place of government retread quality testing, according to the National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association. The General Services Administration plans to discontinue the Qualified Products List for new and retread tires, as well as the Quality Assurance Facility Inspection Program for retread plants, Dec. 31.
The NTDRA's Tire Retreading Institute retread facility inspection program has certified retreaders for decades, said Donald T. Wilson, NTDRA government relations director. ``Before the QPL even existed, there were retread procurement programs in government,'' he said. ``Simply because the GSA would go out of the testing business doesn't mean there would be no way to ensure retread quality.''
He added: ``After the QPL came into existence, some states decided to keep their own specifications. Several states, and the City of Charlotte, (N.C.) wrote the TRI inspection program into their specs.'' The TRI inspection program, he noted, is ``an integral part'' of government retread procurement efforts in many regions of the U.S.
Others, however, maintain there is no comparison between TRI inspection and QPL testing. All the TRI program can do is certify a shop to perform retreading work, they said. It says nothing about the shop's retreading process, the quality of the tread rubber, the actual performance of the retread on a vehicle or matching the right tire to the right vehicle.
Frank Marano, manager of government sales for Bandag Inc., said he disagrees ``100 percent'' with the NTDRA on this issue. ``The QPL tests tires in their actual use,'' Mr. Marano said. ``No inspection of a retread facility can do that.''