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A retread, also sometimes known as a "recap," or a "remould" is a previously worn tire which has gone through a remanufacturing process designed to extend its useful service life.

Retreading starts with a safety inspection of the tire. The old tread is then buffed away, and a new rubber tread is applied to the bare "casing" using specialized machinery.

Retreads are significantly cheaper than new tires. As a result, they are widely used in large-scale operations such as trucking, busing and commercial aviation. They are also the most environmentally friendly way of recycling used tires - in some applications, a tire can be retreaded up to 10 times. Recycled rubber from retreads can be shredded to make rubber mulch.

There are two main processes used for retreading commercial vehicle tires - hot cure (also known as mold cure) and cold cure (also known as precure). Both processes start with the inspection of the tire, followed by the process of buffing the old tread from the casing. Inspection can be carried out visually by trained inspectors but is also commonly carried out using non-destructive inspection technology such as shearography.Following the inspection and buffing process tires undergoing the hot cure (mold cure) process are covered with uncured rubber and then cured in a mould similar to that used to manufacture new tires. In the cold cure (precure) process a pre-cured tread strip or tread ring is applied to the casing, which is then placed in a rubber envelope under a vacuum and cured in a large heating chamber or autoclave.

Although the words "retread", "recap" or "remold" are often used to describe retreaded tires, there is a difference in their meaning. "Retread" is the generic term for tire reconditioning which extends the useful life of a worn tire for its original purpose by the addition of new material. "Recap" specifically refers to retreads where only the tread is replaced (not the sidewall. The term "remould" refers specifically to tires manufactured using the hot cure (mold cure process).

A commonly held, but incorrect, belief is that the chunks of rubber found scattered across the highway (road alligators) have originated from retreads that have delaminated.[citation needed] Studies[citation needed] on this subject have shown that this belief is incorrect in that rubber on the road is due primarily to poor tire maintenance. As a result road debris originating from tires is just as likely to come from new tires as from retreads.[citation needed]

In Europe all retreads, by law, must be manufactured according to EC Regulation 108 (car tires) or 109 (Commercial vehicle tires). As part of this regulation all tires must be tested according to the same load and speed criteria as those undergone by new tyres.

During World War II, the term "retread" was used to describe Army officers who had left the service before the war began for any reason (failure of promotion, medical disqualification, reduction in force, retirement, etc.), but who had been recalled to active duty in the Army Reserve for the duration of the war[citation needed].

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