Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has been quietly offering free replacements for thousands of tires in a practice known as a “silent recall,” the Los Angeles Times reported today.
Goodyear acknowledged last month that tread separation involving its 16-inch Load Range E light-truck tires has been linked to 120 injuries and 15 deaths. Company officials have said a recall wasn’t necessary because it found no defects in the tires.
The Times, citing unidentified sources, said Goodyear has received more than 3,000 claims since 1995 about its light-truck tires. Most of those claims have been settled, with consumers receiving replacement tires and reimbursements for vehicle damage.
The company questioned that figure and said it was simply providing “customer satisfaction” replacements on a case-by-case basis.
Goodyear spokesman Chuck Sinclair said he does not know where the 3,000 figure came from and would not provide one from the company.
“Because you’re dealing with customers’ satisfaction and because all tire companies don’t keep tire records the same ... how you use those numbers can be very misleading and meaningless,” he said.
Goodyear: No Recall Needed
Goodyear acknowledged last month that tread separation involving its 16-inch Load Range E light-truck tires has been linked to 125 injuries and 15 deaths. Company officials have said a recall wasn’t necessary because it found no defects in the tires.
Sinclair suggested some consumers were using vehicles for extraordinary purposes that might be better served by a different tire.
“If people are buying the larger vehicles and adding equipment on those vehicles, then certainly there are cases where you want to go with a different tire,” he said. “There’s nothing wrong with the tires that are out there when used with the application for which they are intended to be used.”
Safety advocates and lawyers believe the Akron, Ohio-based tire maker is placing thousands of drivers and passengers at risk by not declaring a full public recall, the newspaper said.
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said Monday it was expanding its inquiry into the fatal accidents involving Goodyear’s light-truck tires.
In August, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. voluntarily recalled 6.5 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires, most of which were standard equipment on the Ford Explorer. The NHTSA is investigating 3,500 complaints and 119 traffic deaths in connection with those tires.