Welding of tires: features of the process, advantages, technology of self restoration
The operation of the vehicle by default involves not only its use for personal or work purposes, but also regular maintenance, for the flawless functioning of the car. Car maintenance involves both regular maintenance, consisting in the repair and replacement of consumable elements and parts, as well as the purchase of some new components for the car, which have a limited lifespan. One such element is the “shoes” for vehicles – tires, which tend to wear out during operation, which predetermines the need for their replacement as the tread wears out. Tires for vehicles, especially decent weight category, do not belong to the budgetary purchases, which makes car owners look for ways to save on goods.
In European countries, a common method of saving on truck tires is tread welding, which restores their functionality and prolongs the operational life of rubber. Let us consider the relevance of this procedure, the advantages of tire welding in comparison with the purchase of new tires and the possibility of carrying out the process at home.
Why and when is it necessary to weld the tire tread?
Car tires, their quality and performance characteristics directly affect the controllability and maneuverability of the vehicle, due to the traction. As the tread wears down, the grip of rubber on the road decreases, which affects the safety of transport, and can be punished by law enforcement agencies.
Every driver, when rubber wears down to a critical minimum, is required to replace it. Previously, the only option for this process was to purchase a new set of tires, but now, modern technology allows for the restoration of old tires through their welding. Welding of tires is a modern process of restoration of a worn-out tread pattern, carried out in accordance with special technologies, which allows prolonging the operational life of the rubber, without compromising its qualitative indicators. The essence of the process is the removal of the old tread, even down to the cords, with subsequent welding of the rubber on the base by means of cold or hot vulcanization in specialized devices.
The procedure to restore the service life of tires is used mainly for truck wheels, which by design have a stronger, stronger carcass compared with tires for passenger cars. Structurally, tires for passenger cars and commercial vehicles have different load parameters, which predetermines the production of tires for heavy vehicles to make it on the basis of a very strong cord, capable of withstanding significant loads. Such features allow, in case of wear of the tread, using the cord as a base element for the new tire. Moreover, it is possible to reconstruct the tread in this way, and the reconstructed rubber will not be inferior in quality, characteristics and technical features of the new products. For passenger cars can also be applied such a procedure, however, professionals assure that the restoration of the tire in this way is possible not more than once, and the cost-effectiveness of the process depends on the class of tires available.
Advantages of Tire Restoration by Welding
Almost every car owner, had to deal with replacing the tires on their vehicles, or estimate the approximate cost of a new set of tires. For owners of trucks this process is very painful from a financial point of view, since the cost of tires at the present time is more than high. Repair of wheels through welding is a relatively new process in Russia, which makes the car owner to weigh the cost-effectiveness of the procedure compared to the purchase of products, to evaluate the profitability of the operation from the perspective of the price ratio and the quality characteristics of the restored rubber.
In favor of tire tread restoration, experts and professionals position the following advantages of welding:
- The financial cost-effectiveness of the process is the first and main plus of the procedure. Restoring a worn tire will cost the car owner significantly less than buying a new tire, and the difference in price is often about forty percent of the cost.
- The process is universal; modern technologies allow prolonging the service life of any wheel, regardless of model, parameters and class.
- Tire tread welding can be performed more than once, which allows to exploit the tires for a long time with minimal financial expenses.
- The procedure, when carried out in specialized centers, complies with all technological processes used in the manufacture of new tires, which guarantees excellent quality and decent performance of the restored products.
As a result, tire welding is the best way to save money on vehicle maintenance without the accompanying loss in quality, which indicates the profitability of restoration activities.
Tire welding with your own hands
The possibility of restoring car tires for vehicle owners acts as a great option to save money. Modern craftsmen in order to save even more, not to pay for the services of workers of service centers, actively began to wonder how to weld rubber at home, whether it is possible to perform this process independently, and what it will take.
Car owners assure that tire welding is feasible at home, however, it is necessary to have specific equipment to carry out the restoration. In addition, it is important to approach the process responsibly, because the wheels, although they are not elements directly affecting the functionality of the vehicle, predetermine the safety of the car on the road, which is considered a priority quality for every driver.
Before you start the process of restoration, you should carefully examine the condition of the damaged wheels, estimating the presence of obvious cracks, chips and cuts on the rubber surfaces. If there are such defects, characterized by deep location, with damage to the cord, then the restoration activities will be unprofitable, it is impossible to restore the tread, preference should be given to the standard option of replacing the rubber with the prior purchase of new tires.
The absence of critical damage to the tires indicates the possibility of starting restoration activities. It is necessary to begin the process by removing the old layer of rubber with a special machine, aiming to obtain a perfect, uniform thickness of the tire, with smooth, rounded edges.
If the removal of the upper layer of rubber reveals irregularities in the form of dents, it will be necessary to smooth them out with a special putty. Smoothing is achieved by using dent filler. To remove the unevenness you should only use the specially designed filler sold in auto dealers.
The tire is then thoroughly sanded to remove any small imperfections or irregularities that could be caused by the machining process. The next stage of the work is to degrease the working surface and glue the new tread to the workpiece. The tread rubber has an adhesive base, which allows it to be firmly attached to the surface of the tire. This procedure should be carried out very slowly and carefully to avoid warping and curvature, which will further affect the safety of the vehicle during its operation. The slightest distortions may not only reduce the service life of the chassis, but also become a cause of an accident, due to the deterioration of the vehicle handling.
After carrying out the manipulations preceding the welding procedure, you should proceed to packing the tire, which will allow you to maintain its correct configuration during heat treatment. For this purpose you should put the tire with a tube on the wheel or fix it with two tubes on the outside and inside.
The final step is to place the structure in an autoclave, where, after the oxygen supply is connected, under the influence of high temperature conditions the tire base and tread will be spliced into a single unit.
The welded tires, after being removed from the autoclave, can be used for their intended purpose by visual inspection for manufacturing defects, which is unlikely if the process is performed correctly.
Professionals recommend the use of self-welding as an option for its restoration mainly for trucks. If you need to retread wheels of passenger cars, it is better to use the services of professionals, because self-welding can affect the load factor of the wheel, which is not safe during operation. Owners who prefer calm driving to extreme and maneuvering trips are better to absolutely refuse to welding tires on passenger cars, use only new tires with a reliable, factory tread.
To sum it up
Despite the ambiguous attitude of domestic consumers to the process of welding tires, this method of tire restoration has long been used around the world, refers to effective and reliable methods of extending their operational life. Many service centers in Russia provide such services, providing a decent guarantee for the work performed.
At home this procedure is also feasible, if the performer has special equipment required to perform the process qualitatively. Specialists advise against self restoration of passenger car tires, because only professionals can assess the profitability and the possibility of restoring the tire, and the restored truck tires at home should preferably be used on the rear axle of the vehicle, to avoid its rupture, due to the possibility of failure to comply with the welding technology. Professionally welded tires are not inferior to new products, their performance and quality indicators are at a decent level, which allows their use in standard mode.
Tire Welding – What it is, Features and Methods
Tire tread welding is often used to extend the life of a tire. This work is allowed and is used more and more often. It is worth to understand the peculiarities of tire retreading, and how safe it is.
What is a tire tread, what function does it perform
Tire tread affects the quality of traction with the road, increases handling. The tread pattern is selected according to the intended use of the tire. Tread pattern and depth also have an influence on reliability.
As the tread wears off during use, the depth of the tread pattern decreases. Accordingly, the effectiveness of traction with the road decreases. This is especially evident on slippery roads.
The service life of tires depends on several factors, first of all, when calculating the technical features of the rubber. For passenger cars is acceptable mileage of 50-80 thousand kilometers. For truck tires mileage may be up to 150 thousand kilometers.
In practice, mileage is taken into consideration as an additional factor, and first of all the remaining pattern depth is checked. It should be taken into account that the permissible depth for summer and winter tires is different. For all winter tires, the minimum is a tread depth of 4 mm. For summer tires, the pattern can be significantly lower.
- Motorcycles – 0.8 millimetres;
- Trucks – 1 millimeter;
- Cars – 1.6 millimetres;
- Buses – 2 millimeters.
Often the manufacturer makes special markings to show the minimum allowable wear.
What is tread-welding
Welding a tire is the process of restoring the tread pattern. In this process, a layer of tread strip is welded onto the tire profile and a new tread pattern is cut. This enables the tire to be restored to serviceability. The tire’s overall reliability is not affected because the carcass elements of the tire are much stronger and will wear more slowly than the tread.
Before you buy or retread a tire, you need to figure out if it’s worth it. First, let’s list the main advantages.
- Low cost. Compared to new tires, a refurbished tire costs 30-40% less.
- If you have a complete shop, you can do the welding yourself.
- Allowed to restore up to 3 times.
- Grip quality is the same as a new tire.
Welding is only allowed for trucks, passenger car tires have a less strong cord and are often not restorable. Also at high speeds, the tire loads are higher, which can lead to the destruction of the sidewall.
It is imperative that the tire be inspected before it is rebuilt. If the rubber is damaged, there are hernias, cuts, cord damage, it is better not to do tread welding.
Methods of tire tread welding
The simplest method of restoration is considered to be cold welding. It is used in the case of the integrity of the tire carcass. To decide on the application of the method the tire is inspected, it should not have any damage. If no problems are detected, the tire is welded.
- The surface layer of rubber is cut off the tread with a special cutting machine.
- If necessary minor punctures and cuts are repaired.
- The profile of the remaining carcass is ground. This must be done carefully as it will affect the fastening of the new tread.
- A special tread strip is placed on the profile and fixed with liquid caoutchouc. The surface is primed with the same compound.
- A new pattern is created. For this purpose, a special device is used that allows grooves to be cut.
- The grooves are grinded; they must be as clean as possible.
- The tire is mounted on a disk.
- The workpiece is placed in an autoclave for vulcanization.
The result is a tire that is almost as good as a new product.
For cases where there is damage to the carcass, hot welding is used. This method is almost identical to the process of creating a car tire in a factory. Special equipment is required, this fact limits the application of the technique in practice. Raw rubber mixture is used.
- The tire is inspected, if there are any defects, they are eliminated. The integrity of the carcass is restored.
- The remains of the rubber from the tread are cut off. The frame is ground. At this stage, the repair does not differ from the cold method.
- The tread layer is rolled back onto the tire with a special tool. A strip of special raw rubber is used for this purpose.
- The prepared tire is placed in a mold and autoclave. The rubber layer is vulcanized there. The tread pattern is formed at the same time.
The retreaded tire can be used a few days after repair.
Tread welding on truck tires is a good way to economically upgrade truck tires. In terms of basic technical characteristics, retreaded tires are as good as new tires. Damaged products are not subject to restoration.
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