SPOKANE – Attorney General Rob McKenna today urged consumers to check the tires on their SUV, pickup or van in case they are among those being recalled. Attorneys General in 24 states issued consumer alerts and have formed a working group to look into concerns that an estimated 270,000 tires brought into the U.S. from China may be potentially unsafe.
The tires were imported by Foreign Tire Sales, of New Jersey, and manufactured from 2004 to 2006 by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company Ltd. They were sold under the brand names Westlake, Compass and YKS and were designed for sport-utility vehicles, light trucks and vans. The state Attorney General’s Office believes that 1,640 of these tires were sold in Eastern Washington.
“We believe that some of these potentially dangerous tires were sold in Eastern Washington and encourage all Washington drivers to check their vehicles,” McKenna said. “If you have any of these tires, immediately contact the dealer where you made your purchase and have them thoroughly inspected. Don’t drive long distances and be careful not to overload your vehicle.”
Foreign Tire Sales filed a “Defect and Non-compliance Report” with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration on July 2, 2007, saying the tires may not meet the minimum specifications provided to the tire manufacturer. Affected tires lack “gum strips,” an important part of a tire related to the prevention of thread separation. Tire treads could separate, creating a potential safety hazard on the road. At least one serious accident has been caused by such an occurrence with these tires.
The states are still trying to determine whether additional potentially unsafe tires may have been distributed by other U.S.-based distributors or if other brand names were involved, McKenna said.
Here’s how to check your vehicle:
- Examine the sidewall of your tires for the brand name, size, model and DOT number.
- Brand names included in the recall: Westlake, Compass and YKS
- Specific tire numbers and sizes affected by the recall:
- LT235/75R-15 CR861 CR857
- LT245/75R-16 CR860 CR861 CR857
- LT225/75R-16 CR 861
- LT265/75R-16 CR860 CR861 CR857
- LT235/85R-16 CR860 CR861 CR857
- LT31X10.5R-15 CR861 CR857
- The letters "DOT" certify compliance with all applicable safety standards established by the Department of Transportation. Adjacent to this is a tire identification or serial number. This serial number is a code with up to 11 digits that are a combination of numbers and letters. If the DOT number contains "FTS" as part of the number, the tire may be subject to recall. Affected tires also will contain a tire size starting with "LT," as well as a DOT number that starts with "7D" and ends in either "02," "03," "04," or "05."
If you have any of these tires:
Consumers who have the tires described above should contact the business where they purchased the tires and have the tires inspected. At this point, a replacement tire program hasn’t been established, although the states expect a recall process to begin in early August.
The Attorney General’s Office will issue another news release about the recall once those details are made available. An 800 number for consumers and dealers will be established. Additional information will also be available on Foreign Tire Sales’ Web site at http://www.foreigntire.com and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Web site at http://www.nhtsa.gov.
Because of the safety concerns, the states will monitor the recall process.
Washington consumers who have concerns about the specified tires can file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online or call toll-free 1-800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays.
If you have an accident as a result of a defective tire:
If you have an accident as a result of a defective tire, file a report with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration by calling 1-888-327-4236 (TTY 1-800-424-9153). Also file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online or call toll-free 1-800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. weekdays. You may also want to consult with a private attorney, because you have a limited amount of time in which to file a lawsuit.
Tire safety tips:
- Use the proper tires for your vehicle. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before replacing a tire with a different size and/or construction.
- At least once a month and before every long trip, inspect tires for patterns of uneven wear that could damage tires.
- Check tire inflation pressure in accordance with manufacturer recommendations. If you find that one of your tires is losing pressure, take it to a tire expert for a complete internal inspection.
- Do not overload your vehicle. Check your tire placard or vehicle owner’s manual for the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can safely carry.
- Regularly rotate tires, have the wheels balanced and receive a front-end alignment as necessary.
- Be aware of how the outside temperature affects your tires. Hot weather can be especially hard on tires, causing them to expand. As the outside temperature drops 10 degrees, tire pressure drops about one or two pounds per square inch.
- Be cautious if buying used tires. Check used tire numbers to ensure you are not being sold a recalled tire.
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Media Contact: Kristin Alexander, Media Relations Manager – Seattle, (206) 464-6432