Truck tires usually have grooves about an inch thick, and, for safety reasons, are typically sent for retreading when they've reached a depth of 8/32 of an inch (6.35 millimeters). This gets expensive for trucking companies, as the tires usually cost between $250 and $400 apiece -- and don't forget there are often as many as 18 of them on each truck [source: Brown]. Considering that the tires need to be replaced after about 300,000 miles, this becomes an expensive proposition for transporters, who may own hundreds of trucks that traverse the country day-in and day-out.
It's easy to see how a tire that lasts up to 30 percent longer can mean big savings for a trucking company. The self-regenerating tread tires cost about 6 to 10 percent more than an ordinary tire, due to the more complex manufacturing process.
Currently, these tires are only available on heavy-duty, 18-wheeler trucks. In other words, you won't be mounting these tires on your family car anytime soon. Why is that? Again, your family car just doesn't see the kind of punishment and long-distance hauling that these trucks routinely do -- and you don't have to buy huge amounts of tires in bulk for your fleet, either. When your tires get worn out, it just makes more sense for you to buy new ones, not have a high-tech tire that keeps going long after it's worn out.
Regenerating treads aren't the only way to make tires last longer. On the next page, we'll examine other tire-saving technologies, including ones that will keep you safer.