Auto Service World
Feature   October 1, 2000   by CARS Magazine

Firestone recall update

Firestone's efforts to replace P235/75R15 Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II tires continue with 2.9 million units replaced at press time, and running at a rate of 70,000 tires per day. With the recall pro...


Firestone’s efforts to replace P235/75R15 Wilderness AT, ATX and ATX II tires continue with 2.9 million units replaced at press time, and running at a rate of 70,000 tires per day. With the recall program well in hand, the search for root causes has begun with teams from Ford and Bridgestone-Firestone. The U.S. National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has meanwhile issued a “Consumer Advisory” expressing “concerns” over several other Firestone light truck tires, although the agency has not ordered Firestone to expand the current recall. For the tires currently under investigation, the attention has shifted to the recommended inflation pressures for fitments on the Ford Explorer. BFS executive vice president John Lampe, in remarks made to the U.S. House Commerce Committee Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations and Telecommunications, Trade and Consumer Protection said: “As is the case with all vehicles, the vehicle manufacturer sets the air pressure on the Explorer. Why? Because the vehicle is an integrated system and the tires are only a part of that system…We are not vehicle experts and cannot know what impact various pressure settings will have on the vehicle system as a whole.” Lampe noted that Firestone has formally advised Ford to raise their recommended pressure to 30 psi, a pressure which adds 400 pounds of load capacity to the Explorer. Both Ford and BFS executives confirmed that full testing of the tires was completed to Ford’s test standards before the vehicle was released for production. In a statement before the same committee, Ford vice president, environmental and safety engineering Helen O. Petrauskas stated: “One of the most extreme tests is the so-called “J-turn” test, a test that was performed on the 1991 Explorer. The explorer met or exceeded all J-turn test criteria not only at the recommended tire pressure of 26 psi, but also at the maximum tire pressure for the ATX tire of 35 psi.” Addressing concerns over possible used tire sales of recalled tires, Bridgestone/Firestone has announced a “bounty program” which pays a $10 per tire incentive for resellers to turn in the recalled units.


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