Giving Old Tyres a New Lease of Life
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Tyres Which are Properly Rebuilt or Remoulded are Capable of GivingExcellent Service, Regrooving Means
THERE is a certain critical time in the life of a tyre when it becomes unsafe, and when, to continue to use it becomes unwise, and uneconomical. To the operator, who is faced with the possibility of a considerable financial outlay for replacements, it is, perhaps, a little difficult to decide at what stage his tyres cease to be of value to him.
Naturally enough, he is not eager to undertake any unnecessary expenditure, and yet, if he be sensible, he will not try to exact the last ounce from his tyres if, bty so doing, he runs the risk of trouble.
There are many operators—and they are not all big ones—who would not allow their vehicles to go on the road unless the tyres were in
perfect condition. So soon as the tread pattern becomes smooth, a tyre is replaced by a new one. The same conscientious thoroughness is shown in the care of the vehicles themselves. They are always smart in appearance, mechanically roadworthy, and a credit to their owners This is not a de luxe system of• vehicle operation ; it is just good, sound, common sense.
Tyres in Good Condition Increase Prestige.
What is more, it is wise economy for the owners of such vehicles know full well that the condition of their fleet gives them prestige which, in turn, brings them good business at sensible rates. It is not a question of the size of the fleet, as a small operator can do it just as easily as a large one Moreover, it is not a question of the length of the purse, for it represents the most economical method of operation and is, therefore, best for all operators, prosperous or otherwise.
• *36 There are many fleet owners who are not prepared to adopt this policy with regard to their tyres. They want the last ounce of service from them, and are unwilling to buy new ones until the old ones are incapable Of running another mile.
It is mainly for this type of operator that the present article is written, not because the writer agrees with the policy—far from it—but because he realizes that there is an enormous number of vehicle owners who, for various reasons, prefer to delay their tyre buying until the last minute, although such a practice is often costly. Because of their lack of knowledge, however, they often defeat their own abject and fail to get the best results.
The critical stage in the life of a tyre is when the tread becomes smooth, and until that happens, the cover will probably give unfailing satisfaction. The best course, perhaps, is to fit a new tyre, for this will give the greatest satisfaction and the soundest economy in the long run, but there are many operators who are not prepared to do this.
An alternative is to continue to run the cover right out, but this is unwise. In the first place it is a constant danger, because its power of road grip disappears with its tread pattern, and a skid may have serious results.
Furthermore, so soon as the canvas or breaker-strip shows through, the police will display great interest, and possibly the owner, and his driver, will receive summonses for running a vehicle with tyres in an unsafe condition.
Following the disappearance of the tread pattern, there is not a great mileage in a tyre before the canvas appears, and certainly it is unwise to continue to run such a tyre unless something be done to make it more roadworthy.
There are two courses open. The tyre can be regrooved or it can be rebuilt. The all-important point, however, is that this work must be undertaken so soon as the tread pattern disappears, and not left until the canvas shows.
That is where so many operators go wrong ; they refuse to recognize the critical period in a tyre's life— the time when it is not too late to "do something about it." If they continue to run their covers without giving them the attention required. they are spoiling their chances of obtaining further safe and satisfactory mileage from them.
Regrooving Gives Safety But Not Added Life.
Regrooving does not, in any way, increase the life of the tyre, but it certainly increases its safety against skidding for the rest of its period of service. Beneath the original tread pattern of every tyre, there is a certain amount of rubber, which will allow for the cutting of a new tread when the old one has disappeared.
Why, it may be asked, does not the tyre maker, in the first place, mould his pattern to the full depth of the rubber? This is impracticable as a certain depth of foundation rubber, as between the carcass and the tread pattern, is necessary to give support and adhesion to the tread itself. Without it, we should probably find that a few chunks of tread pattern would be ripped from the carcass every time the brakes were applied, and, in any case, the degree of tread distortion would cause rapid wear.
When the tyre reaches the smooth stage the duties of the intermediate rubber are changed. 'There is no tread pattern left for it to support, and it is now in direct con tact with the road. This direct contact of smooth rubber is incapkble Of giving road grip, except under favourable conditions, so it is necessary tcr increase its capacity for grip before we can consider the tyre safe.
That is the purpose of regrooving. Various patterns can be cut, according to the type of tool used, and all will tend to make the tyre safe for the last phase of its life, but, as no new rubber is added, the process does not increase the virtual life of the tyre.
Retreading and rebuilding are processes which restore to the tyre something of its former glory, and equip it for a further span of useful life. Such processes, like regrooving, are practicable only if effected in good time.
Opinions regarding rebuilds are varied, this, no doubt, being due to the wide range of qualities available. A " rebuild " is the cheapest class of tyre, and is, therefore, most used by the less affluent class of operator, who will often buy in the cheapest market, with a total disregard for quality.
Such buyers, sooner or later, fall victims to the "cheap and nasty " rebuilder, and when the inevitable failures occur, they can be heard loudly denouncing the process. They judge rebuilt tyres, as a whole, on those which they bought for themselves, little realizing that a little extra outlay would have secured for them a reliable job. Rebuilders may be divided into two schools, as regards the processes used. On the one hand there is what might be truly called the "retread." Only the tread and a little of the shoulders of the tyre are dealt with in the work of retreading.
The argument advanced in favour of this process is that the walls of the tyres are not subjected to a second heating. This is, of course, quite true, but its value is slightly exaggerated, for we seldom hear of a rebuilt tyre failing through being subjected to a second cure.
The rebuild, proper, consists of a complete remould from bead to bead. In this case the old rubber is stripped from the carcass before the new compound is laid on. Consequently, any hidden faults, which might ultimately have caused the premature failure of the tyre, are -revealed.
A High-class " Rebuild " as Good as New.
The highest class of rebuild is that which is done by the maker of the tyre. Most of the leading tyre manufacturers will undertake, through their agents or distributors, the remoulding of suitable tyres of their own make. Casings are subjected to a most thorough examination, the materials used and the experience available being of the best. It goes back into a mould which was made to fit it, and it is remoulded in its original pattern. In fact, except for the brand " remould," it would be impossible to distinguish it from a new tyre. The cast is mucti the same as for other types of rebuilt tyres.
If it be decided to run a tyre right out, it should first be regrooved in
order to make it safe. This procedure is sometimes justified, especially in cases where the disposal of the vehicle is imminent. There is a certain stigma attached to worn tyres which will do much to lower the prestige of the operator
• in the eyes of ' his customers. Some years ago I witnessed the funeral of a notable sportsman. It was an impressive affair and was attended by many
• celebrities. The undertaker ha.d a fine fleet of a wellknown make of car, but there was scarcely a good tyre among, them. Many of them showed great stretches of exposed canvas, which were made more noticeable because the roads were wet. It was quite obvious, from the remarks of the onlookers, that their attention was about equally divided between the 'beautiful flowers" and the "awful tyres."
The same applies, but in a greater degree, to coach operators. Their clients expect safety and will quickly shun a vehicle on which the tyre equipment is poor.
No doubt the owner of the vehicle thinks that the tyres are an unnoticeable part of it, but this is not so. To say that they impart a down-at-heel appearance is not only appropriate but also true. The condition of The tyres makes all the difference to the impression of good finish that a -vehicle gives.
It is quite clear, then, that the extraction of the "last ounce
seldom a wise procedure. It is obvious that the question of when to buy is just as important as the questions how and what. L.V.B.
YORKSHIRE'S FINEST BUS STATION
IN the opinion of Mr. Joseph Farndale,
retiring chairman of the Yorkshire Traffic Commissioners, Barnsley's new bus station, which has been provided by the Yorkshire Traction Co., Ltd., is the finest in Yorkshire. Mr. Farndale voiced this high .compliment when he opened the new station on December 21 last.
The station will be used by the Traction company and other public-service vehicle operators, and the number of buses that will pass through it weekly is estimated at more than 12,000. There are four covered platforms, linked up by safety crossings, and the amenities include a large waiting-room, two cafés, and several shops.
TAXI-DRIVER'S " POOR " KNOWLEDGE.
A DUNDEE taxi-driver who, accord
ing to a police test, had a " poor " knowledge of the streets in Dundee, appeared before the local magistrates last week for renewal of his licence. His licence was renewed, subject to his having another test in a month. The applicant was told to obtain a map and " swot up" the city streets.
A solicitor, speaking for the applicant, said that he had lived all his life in Dundee and that he would not like to go through the test given to his COMMISSIONER AND MIDLAND RED DIVIDENDS.
A T Leicester recently, Mr. J. H.
Stirk, chairman of the East Midland Traffic Commissioners, had some pointed comments to make in connection with applications for fares increases from an operator paying high dividends.
'For the Birmingham and Midland Motor Omnibus Co., Ltd., which applied for fares revisions in the Kirby-Mwdoe-Ratby-Desford area, of Leicester, it was said that the company wished to end certain uneconomic fares, it being mentioned that, in one case, the fare worked out at three miles for a penny.
Mr, Stirk: " But operators were charging these fares before they sold out to you, and they were working economically."
It was said that they were not working economically and that that was the reason why they sold out, but Mr. Stirk would not accept the statement.
For the company, it was said that, although in some cases permission was sought to increase fares, in others the company wished to reduce them, In some cases, it was mentioned, different rates were charged on two services running over the same stretch of road.
Mr. Stirk remarked that, whilst in such cases one rate would be lowered and the other raised, the more popular fare would be raised.
" I cannot understand," he said, " why a company like the Midland Red, which pays dividends in the region of 15 per cent, out of public services, should seek to increase fares which the public has enjoyed for a number of years."
The decision was reserved.
PARKING PLACE OVER RIVER • CLYDE?
CERTAIN members of Glasgow Corporation have planned the creation of a huge parking place, with an area of 70,000 sq. yds., to be built over the River Clyde. It would be a terminus for all road passenger transport.
• OPERATOR FINED FOLLOWING APPEAL BY COMMISSIONERS.
rIN December 23 Messrs. Wakley and %—or Son, of Northop and Prescot, were summoned at Prescot Police Court for permitting a public-service vehicle to be used between Prescot and Liverpool without obtaining the permission of the Traffic Commissioners.
It was explained that the case had been before the Prescot magistrates on April 19 this year, when it was dismissed, and the Traffic Commissioners had appealed against this decision. The hearing took place in the High Court of Justice, King's Bench Division, on October 25. The decision of the Prescot magistrates had been reversed and the case was, therefore, sent back to Prescot, with instructions to convict by the same magistrates who originally heard the case. Defendants were fined 22 and 22 9s. 6d: costs.
BUS-WORKERS COMBINE FORCES
AT a recent meeting of bus employees of the Central S.M.T. Co., Ltd., in Motherwell, it was resolved to form a committee representative of all the trade unions catering for bus workers, viz., the Amalgamated Engineering Union, the National Union of Vehicle Builders, the Transport and General Workers Union, the Sheet Metal Workers Union, and the Electrical Trades Union, BRIGHTON COMPANY'S £55,000 A YEAR IN TAXATION. DESPITE the fact that out of every 2s. 6d. taken in receipts, 2s. 3d. was spent in running expenses, Brighton, Hove and District Bus Co., Ltd., has paid a dividend of 9 per. cent.
Another interesting disclosure made was that the company pays 255,000 a year in taxation.
It was also gratifying to hear of the friendly relations existing between Brighton Corporation and the company, and a hope was expressed that this would be continued during the 21 years, which is the period of the working agreement, which comes into force next April.
GLASGOW RECOMMENDS £50,000 • BUS ORDER.
THE purchase of 50 double-deck buses and seven single-deck vehicles for special services in the Maryhill area is recommended by Glasgow Transport Committee. The value of the contract is over 250,000.
The Albion Motor Co., Ltd., is to build 25 of the double-deckers and the seven single-deckers, whilst the Associated Equipment Co., Ltd., is proposed for 25 chassis. All the vehicles will be equipped with oil engines.
MR GARCKE'S 22 YEARS AS CHAIRMAN
WHAT must constitute a unique IN record in chairmanship is that held by Mr. Sidney E. Garcke, chairman of the East Kent Road Car Co., Ltd. Mr. Garcke has had the honour of addressing no fewer than 22 annual general meetings, which period covers the life of the company.
In dealing with past history he said that imniediately after the war the company carried 4,000,000 passengers a year, whilst to-day the number was 46.000,000. , Mr. ,Garcke pointed out that out of the revenue collected from the East Kent public, 16 per cent, was absorbed in taxation, 40 per cent, was paid out in wages and less than 6 per cent. of the total wasleft for dividend to the ordinary shareholders, of whoin there are nearly 1,000.
PROGRESS OF ROAD TRANSPORT.
THE excellent progress made in road transport was commented upon by Mr. R. Beveridge, commercial manager of the S.M.T. Co., Ltd., in an address given to the Edinburgh branch of the I.T.A. on December 21. The subject was "The Operation of Publicservice Vehicles," and in the course of his remarks the speaker referred to the fact that, whilst the cost of living at the present time was 55 per cent. higher than in July, 1914, bus fares were the same as, and, in many cases, lower than, in 1914.