Expert interview: Convincing arguments supporting tire repair - How professionals properly counter customers' reservations

Poing near Munich, August 29, 2022 - According to statistics by the German automobile club ADAC for 2022, tire damage is the fifth most common cause of car breakdowns in Germany. Yet not every defective tire has to be replaced, but can remain safely in use for a long time with professional repair. This protects the environment and the owner's wallet, says Ludwig Ketzer, who has been working at tire repair specialist REMA TIP TOP for almost 40 years dealing with the question of how the service life of car tires can be extended safely and economically through repair. In the first part of our interview series, he explains what typical reservations and misconceptions often prevent consumers from having tires repaired and how professionals can tackle them.

Mr. Ketzer, you have been involved in tire repair for decades. What are the most common misconceptions and reservations you face in the market?

“For many consumers, new goods are still worth more than repaired goods. This is despite the fact that our experience with used and refurbished laptops, for example, is that they are almost as good as new in terms of quality, but much cheaper than new equipment. Confidence in the repair of car tires is also growing, but a lot of education is still needed. It is not uncommon for tire professionals to hear from their customers that car tires cannot be repaired or that it is not worth the effort. When in doubt, car owners prefer to buy a set of new tires, even if the old ones could be repaired with little cost and effort. Tire specialists need to counter such reservations with good arguments and, above all, with professional solutions.”

Can you give an example of where a tire repair would be worthwhile?

“A typical case that occurs almost daily in repair workshops: A car owner has driven into a screw or other pointed object - a typical puncture wound in the tread. The damage is repairable because its expansion is a maximum of 6 mm in diameter. With a residual tread of 50%, many vehicle owners are rather skeptical and tend to replace the tires, i.e. they have to buy two new tires axle by axle. With a repair, on the other hand, they would only have to have one tire fixed; this can be done quickly and inexpensively with a high-quality repair using the TÜV-certified MINICOMBI system from REMA TIP TOP. In contrast, new tires are not "just" procured and mounted and are also usually € 80-100 more expensive than a repair, depending on tire size and performance.”

Tire repair saves money. Furthermore, how does the environment benefit when tires that are "still good" are repaired instead of being replaced with new ones?

“In terms of environmental protection, the signs of the times are clearly pointing to reuse. If you assume that there are around 4 million damaged car tires in Germany every year, half of which are repairable and 75% of which are worth repairing, then we are talking about more than 1.5 million new tires that could be saved by repair each year in Germany alone. With 30 liters of crude oil needed to manufacture a passenger car tire, the raw material savings would be over 21 million liters per year. The situation is similar for CO2 emissions: With around 44 kg of CO2 produced during the manufacture and disposal of one tire according to our calculations, tire repairs could save over 32 thousand tons of CO2 per year in Germany.”

So there are very good reasons to have tires repaired instead of replaced. Thank you very much for the interesting chat, Mr. Ketzer!

Ludwig Ketzer is Head of Global Product Management & Application AUT (Automotive) at REMA TIP TOP AG.