Tire recall generates opinions on safety and neccessity | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Tire recall generates opinions on safety and neccessity

The recall of Firestone Tires has caused a huge demand for new tires, but whether or not the recall is entirely justified depends upon whom you ask. One thing is for sure, people are lining up in force to exchange their tires.

More than 6.5 million of the p235/75R15 ATX and ATX II and Wilderness AT tires produced at the Decatur, Ill., plant have been recalled because of tread separation, which is suspected by the The National Highway Traffic Center for Auto Safety to have caused 62 deaths and more than 100 injuries.

Pete Lilly’s Firestone in South Lake Tahoe has recalled about 340 tires, said tire manager Theresa Brocchini.

But of all the recalled tires, she has only seen one bad tire. In many cases, however, she is seeing brand new tires in good condition getting sent back to the factory.

A lot of the controversy has been stirred because Ford’s recommendation for tire pressure is significantly lower than Firestone’s recommendation. Ford recommends a tire pressure of 26 pounds per square inch to help the vehicle maintain stability. Firestone, however, recommends a tire pressure of 30-35 PSI.

A lot of the tire failures have been between the tread where the steel belts, which comprise the tire, have separated, said Orris Johnson, tire engineer for John Fisk Brown and Associates in Solona Beach, Calif.

Factors that can contribute to this kind of wear include a lack of proper maintenance, alignment problems and being underinflated. After separation occurs the tires become susceptible to a blow out.

“Some of them, we see the casings have begun to separate and some of them have already been blown out,” said Jim Ormonde, manager for Big O Tires in South Lake Tahoe. Of the approximately 40 tires that Big O has replaced as a result of the recall, four separate vehicles have experienced a tire blowout, although no accidents were caused.

“Most of the tires do not have a problem, but from what I have seen the recall has been justified,” he said.

Tim Borge, owner of Ken’s Tire Center in South Lake Tahoe said that in his 23 years of service, he has never replaced a Firestone tire because of a defect.

“All the tires we have taken off would not be taken off if there wasn’t a recall,” he said.

Ken’s replaced about 400 tires since the recall began and at least 100 on Tuesday alone.

According to Josh Clevenger, manager for Stone’s Country Tire and Automotive in Truckee, the Firestone ATX has been a problem in this area for a long time because of the climate.

“Since they have come out on the Explorer, it has been replaced more than any other tire,” Clevenger said.

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