Consumer Alert: Texans urged to check for potentially dangerous tires
The Office of the Attorney General is urging Texas drivers to check their vehicles for potentially dangerous tires. The tires were sold from 2002 to 2006 for light trucks, sports utility vehicles, and vans, and could be in danger of tread separation.
The tires were made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. ("HZ") in China and distributed in the United States under several names, including Westlake, YKS and Compass.
According to Foreign Tire Sales, Inc. (FTS),the U.S. distributor, at least 270,000 tires may have insufficient or missing "gum strips," an important safety feature on certain tires that helps prevent tread separation. More than 50,000 of the potentially unsafe tires are believed to have been sold in Texas.
If you have any of these tires, immediately contact the dealer where you bought them. If the dealer is more than 50 miles away, ask the closest tire shop or mechanic to inspect your tires. In the interest of public safety, the Office of the Attorney General is asking tire dealers not to charge for such an inspection. Consumers who purchased these tires should not drive for long distances on hot roads and should avoid overloading their vehicles.
If an inspection indicates that the tires may be unsafe, consumers should immediately file an online complaint with the Office of the Attorney General at www.oag.state.tx.us or call (800) 252-8011 to receive a form by mail. Consumers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) at (800) 327-4236 and FTS at www.foreigntire.com.
Consumers should check the sidewalls of their tires for the brand name, size, model, and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. If the DOT number contains "FTS" as part of the number, the tire may be subject to a recall in the future.
Specific tire sizes and models affected:
- 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 CR 860 CR861 CR857
- LT31X10.5R-15 CR861 CR857
At this time, NHTSA has not ordered a recall of any of these tires and no replacement program has been instituted. However, consumers should regularly check the NHTSA, FTS and Attorney General's Web sites for updates.
As part of general tire safety, consumers should keep the following tips in mind:
- Inspect tires at least once a month and before every long trip for patterns of uneven wear. Check tire inflation pressure in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
- Do not overload your vehicle. Excess weight can place extra stress on your tires. Check your tire placard or vehicle owner's manual for the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can safely carry.
- Develop safe driving habits. Observe speed limits and avoid fast stops, starts, and turns. Avoid contact with potholes, debris, and curbs when driving or parking your vehicle.
- Keep your vehicle properly maintained. Rotate tires regularly, get wheels balanced, and get a front-end alignment if necessary.
- Use the proper tires for your vehicle. Check the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations before replacing a tire with a different size and/or construction.
- Be aware of how the outside temperature affects your tires. Hot weather can be especially hard on tires.
- Have any tire problems checked out by professionals. If you find that one of your tires is losing pressure, take it to a tire expert for a complete internal inspection.
- Avoid buying used tires. You might be getting previously recalled or otherwise dangerous ties.