Bus tires not underinflated I'm writing in response to reader John Dodd's (Aug. 30) letter concerning the causes of zipper ruptures in the sidewalls of all-steel radial truck tires.
Mr. Dodd was incorrect in saying the tires should have been aired to the pressure listed on their sidewalls. The sidewall inscription (merely) states the air pressure needed to assure the tire's maximum load-carrying capacity.
Inflation tables compiled by the Tire & Rim Association and published by most tire manufacturers state that air pressure should be determined on the basis of the vehicle's weight when loaded, the speed it's driven and the size and ply rating of the tires.
Carrying 80 psi pressure did not cause the tire to rupture, as Mr. Dodd suggested. Running the tire flat did.
TCI Intermodal Division
When Mr. Dodd states that the remaining five tires on the bus only had 80 psi pressure, that does not mean they were underinflated. If the bus tires were not carrying their maximum load, they wouldn't need maximum pressure.
That is why the Tire & Rim Association and most tire manufacturers publish tire inflation tables (indicating the air pressure needed in order to support less than maximum weight).
Further inspection, I believe, would show the tire's steel cords were rusted, a result of mounting the tire with water in it or introducing airline moisture during inflation.
When the tire reaches operating temperatures, moisture turns to steam that can penetrate its inner liner, causing the reinforcing steel cords to rust.
This weakens them and causes a loss of adhesion between the cables and rubber.
Storing tires in direct sunlight, extreme cold or on hot asphalt also contributes to this condition, which looks like a blister on or near the tire's scruff ring. Tires in which this condition is detected should not be repaired, retreaded or returned to service.
As an industry, we have the information needed to provide service to our customers. (But) the tire industry does a poor job of training and making sure we, the dealers, understand it. Likewise, some dealers are too cheap to send their employees to training classes to learn.
We're supposed to be the experts. Yet we often have people on the firing line taking care of our most important asset—the customer—with little or no training.
Jim R. Sloan
Dick Morrison Tire Inc.
Salt Lake City, Utah
A landmark in tire history
In TB's Sept. 27 ``Millennium'' issue, you overlooked an important landmark in the history of the pneumatic tire: Goodyear's introduction of the Tiempo all-season radial in 1977.
Although I was with a Firestone dealership at that time, it soon led to the almost complete demise of the special-purpose snow tire. A remarkable achievement!
Editor's note: Thanks, Mr. Warren. We'll make a note of it for our Year 3000 Millennium issue.
Too much backordering
Why are the major tire suppliers still on backorder status years after a tire shortage? Can the U.S. industry fail to react to market needs? Or do tire makers believe that being on backorder is a good thing!
Ziegler Tire & Supply
New breed of wholesaler
Tire manufacturers always have sold directly to end users. Occasionally, such users had to meet the same volume and minimum shipping weight requirements as tire dealers.
Larger tire dealers filled in the distribution gap by wholesaling to smaller retailers and selling to end users at progressively higher prices-and many large tire dealerships continue to serve this function.
Recently, however, a new breed of local and regional wholesaler has emerged: One willing to sell at the same price to anyone without regard for the nature of the buyer's business or ultimate purchasing potential.
This type of wholesaler readily retails tires, but is unwilling to install, repair or service them and shows no responsibility for scrap tire disposal.
Maybe we should add a new business category called ``tire bordellos'' to the industry's traditional classifications such as tire manufacturer, distributor or retailer.
Lowry Tire Co.
Scrap tire solution
I would like to comment on your Sept. 13 editorial, ``Make scrap tires your problem.''
One way to ease the nation's scrap tire problem would be for the federal government to persuade countries such as Mexico, Venezuela, Brazil, Argentina and Columbia to drop their restrictions on the importation of used tires from the United States.
Also, multi-national tire makers need to stop pressuring the governments of those countries to ban used-tire imports. Were these markets to open up, this country would see 30 million to 50 million fewer tires scrapped each year.
What we need is a positive approach to this national problem and direct help from the U.S. government, which helps farmers, cattlemen, wheat growers and iron workers. Yet the only thing we receive, as exporters of used tires, is a boot in the butt from foreign countries and no help from our own.
If every tire dealer wrote their congressmen and governors demanding support for recycling (in the form of) free trade to all countries exporting to the U.S., we may get some results.
Disposing of 275 million or more tires each year is a major national problem. And selling 50 million to 75 million retreadable casings and usable tires annually is the single-best approach to solving this never-ending problem.
There has been—and always will be—a tremendous need for used tires. Not only is this true in the U.S. but even more so in Third World countries. Just magnify the demand for used tires 1,000-fold and you will see the scrap tire piles drop significantly.
Ben's International Tire Co. Inc.
Recrossing the rubicon
I enjoyed reading Jeff Yip's article in the Sept. 13 issue about ``Crossing the Rubicon'' on Wrangler MT/Rs.
It reminded me of when I participated in the same Rubicon Trail run with Goodyear on Goodyear 31x10.50 Wrangler AT retreads in 1995.
The retreads performed perfectly over the most grueling so-called roads you could imagine. At the time, we joked ``don't try this with new tires.''
It's nice to read that new tires finally have caught up with retreads.
Tire Retread Information Bureau
Pacific Grove, Calif.