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Published on May 21, 2007

Letter: Rim leak woes

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Opinion

Rim leak woes


In response to the letter to the editor “Sticker Shock” in the April 23 issue of Tire Business—I too am amazed at the tires I see with rim leaks where the SKU code label is at fault.


The worst leaks are around aluminum rims. When I mount a new tire with an SKU sticker, the first thing I reach for is my bead sealer. One swipe with my trusted sealer and no more problems.


Bill Yarberry


Tire changer


Telstar Tire & Propane


Pigeon Forge, Tenn.


* * *


I agree with the letter in the April 23 issue from Diann Barbee, owner of Big E Tires & Wheels in Corsicana, Texas, that manufacturers need to put the SKU code stickers somewhere else rather than on the bead of a tire. It's definitely a safety issue.


I've been in business 32 years, we've done testing on it, and we've seen many, many tires—of numerous brands—that develop leaks where the stickers are located. The labels do move, and when they do, that can cause leaks.


Some stickers can be removed, but when we can't get them off and send them out, the tires usually come back leaking in that area. Peeling the darn things off is aggravating and it's time consuming.


Bridgestone/Firestone tires are fine—their SKU stickers are imbedded in the tire. And Michelins are OK, too, because those labels are put on the sidewall. But other brands still have problems.


Tire dealers should band together to let the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) know just how unsafe this practice can be.


Mark my words: It's just a matter of time before a consumer dies in a crash due to loss of air pressure in one or more of his or her tires because of those bar code stickers.


Kevin Hogan


General manager


K.O. Tire Inc.


Elk Grove Village, Ill.


Road gators revisited


We always wonder why there are so many pieces of retreads on the highways these days.


They are very dangerous for the drivers of small cars. We always put good-quality tires on the vehicles we operate for our home remodeling and construction business. Why isn't there a better control on the use of retreads?


Terry Todd


Owner


Todd's Remodeling


Jefferson City, Mo.


Editor's note: We shared Mr. Todd's concerns about rubber on the nation's roadways with Harvey Brodsky, managing director of the Tire Retread Information Bureau (TRIB) based in Pacific Grove, Calif. Mr. Brodsky sent the following response:


Mr. Todd is correct that tire debris—our words, not his—is very dangerous for drivers of small cars, and for that matter for drivers of all size vehicles. But his assumption that the tire debris comes from “retreads” and not other tires is incorrect.


As those of us in the retread industry know, much of the rubber on the road on any given day comes from tires that have never been retreaded. The true cause of tire debris is improper tire maintenance, mainly underinflation.


In fact, a Tire Business editor recently thought he was surprising me with a road alligator he had picked up on his way to the Off-The-Road Tire Conference in Rancho Bernardo, Calif., sponsored by the Tire Industry Association. He was very surprised when I gleefully pointed out to him that the piece of tire he handed me had never been in a retread plant. It was from a new tire that had come apart because of either a puncture or some other cause. Since he didn't have the entire tire, it was impossible to tell the actual cause, but I think you will agree that my point was well taken.


Finally, TRIB will be happy to send Mr. Todd, or anyone else who is interested, a DVD and booklet about the true causes of rubber on the road. This material is free and can be ordered by calling our toll free number, (888) 473-8732, or by sending an e-mail to: info@retread.org.

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