Joe M. asked:
“I am a subscriber to your tire blog and have a question I hope you will address. I have 17.5" tires on my 5th wheel RV and am approaching the time to replace them. I'm considering my options of re-grooving, re-capping, or replacement with new tires. Would appreciate any comments you might have concerning these three options. My current tires are Goodyear, G114, 215/75R17.5 LR-H. Correct pressure has always been maintained in these tires without ever having had a flat.”
That's a good question Joe, as retreading truck tires is a widespread practice.
The general consensus from my contacts that work with Commercial tires is that retreading or regrooving tires for RV use is not a real good plan. However if you still want to pursue these options there are number of things you need to consider.
Is the tire designed by the manufacturer to be either regrooved or retreaded?
According to my source at Goodyear “many commercial tires have the word "REGROOVABLE" on the sidewall. The problem is, there are not very many professional regroovers out there. So, although a tire can be regrooved, the problem is finding someone who knows what they are doing and won't ruin the tires being regrooved. Regrooving is mainly done in the transit bus market”.
In the case of your G114, we can see mention of retreading on the Goodyear Spec page so clearly the tire was designed for this process.
Additional points to keep in mind when considering retreading.
Who will do the process? Most retread operations deal with large commercial fleets and are not set up to do tires for individuals.
What is the tire age? Chronological age is not an absolute indicator of tire durability but it is a strong predictor. Over the highway trucks will use retreads, but they also wear tires out in as little as one or two years so they can retread the tire and still not approach the life seen on many RVs where tires are not worn out even after 10 years of use. The clock is not reset when a tire is retreaded or regrooved so the recommended 5 to 7 year life for trailer applications still applies. You said it is “time to replace” the tires so can we assume the tires are already 6 or 8 years old?
Finally after considering all the above, will it be worth the cost to only get a couple of years extra tire life?
Personally I would recommend people get new tires their RV when considering replacing tires due to either age or wear conditions.
I hope I have provided the information you need to make a sound and safe decision.
You can watch the following videos if you are really interested in the details, but they are probably only of interest to tire geeks.
Retread shop tour