A case for nitrogen
I wish to comment on Senior Washington Reporter Miles Moore's story, ``Underinflation doesn't reap same effect,'' in your April 12 issue concerning truck tire underinflation.
Although the article was interesting and informative, I found nothing really surprising in the content.
However, I find it necessary to refer to a statement that is absolutely outrageous. Attributed to Guy Walenga, engineering manager, North American Commercial Products for Bridgestone/Firestone, it states and I quote: ``If you have a blowout with a nitrogen tire, you have to refill it with air.''
Heaven help any employee of mine who fills a tire that has blown out with anything! I sincerely hope that Mr. Walenga was misquoted.
This statement follows some very positive statements concerning nitrogen tire inflation, with which I fully agree, and again I quote Mr. Walenga: ``In every case, nitrogen allows the tire to maintain more of its original properties than air. Among other things, nitrogen offers less oxidation of tire components, less pressure buildup in service and longer tread life. With nitrogen, the casing may be more durable and more retreadable.''
In the article's final paragraph, Mr. Walenga makes another statement with which I totally disagree and which is at odds with the statement made in the above paragraph, wherein he states that nitrogen may not be cost-effective with truck tires.
Nitrogen has been proven to be cost-effective because of the very positive effects of maintaining proper tire inflation, low oxidation and improved retreadability-benefits that are clearly spelled out in the body of the article and have been put forward by Mr. Walenga himself.
One final point-that of portability. This may have been a problem in days past when nitrogen had to be purchased in storage tanks or cylinders.
Now that nitrogen generators are available at relatively low cost and can be installed just about anywhere, this problem no longer exists.
Peggy Fisher of Fleet Tire Consulting and a Tire Business columnist, who also is quoted in the report, has clearly suggested in earlier articles that nitrogen is the tire inflation gas of the future. Why not now?
Everard G. Scott
Harmony Hall Inc.
Editor's Note: We asked Bridgestone/Firestone's Guy Walenga to elaborate on his comments made at the recent Clemson Tire Industry Conference about the benefits and drawbacks of using nitrogen in truck tires. Regarding his statement, ``If you have a blowout with a nitrogen tire, you need to refill it with air,'' Mr. Walenga explained that if a tire is blown out, ``it means you are putting on a new tire.''
What he actually was referring to was an air-out situation, where the tire loses pressure. In this case, he said, ``if you are away from your nitrogen source and you need tire service, it's safe to put air into the tire. But when you get back to your source of nitrogen, you would need to deflate the tire and totally re-inflate it with nitrogen.''
As to his point that nitrogen might not be cost-effective with truck tires, Mr. Walenga explained that there hasn't been enough testing done to identify the dollar value of the long-term or short-term benefits of using nitrogen in truck tires. ``I don't know in a fleet application if it's cost-effective,'' he said. ``It appears it should be, but we need actual objective data. And we're currently working on evaluations to collect that economic and performance data.''
Checkoff support never given
I am writing regarding a misstatement in your April 12 editorial on the Tire Industry Association's checkoff proposal.
Your editorial says the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) ``withdrew its support,'' of the program. That is not correct.
You may recall that RMA has been discussing the proposal with TIA for a number of months. RMA only recently decided not to support the TIA proposal after thoughtful consideration.
At no time prior to reaching this decision did RMA take a position for or against the proposal.
We evaluated several concerns with the proposal, including dealer support, legal concerns and political considerations, among others.
In fact, I shared a copy of the scholarly legal memorandum prepared for RMA by Nory Miller, a preeminent First Amendment practitioner.
Only after this careful deliberation did RMA take an official position on the checkoff proposal.
Rubber Manufacturers Association
Thanks for the news
As an independent tire dealer, I just want to tell you how important Tire Business is to our small independent dealership.
Without Tire Business much of the trade news would never reach us. This ``Speak Up'' card is simply a card of thanks.
Weber Tire Co.