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Defective Tires

Defective tires can blow out with no warning and after very little mileage, even though they appear to be new and in good condition. Sudden tire failure is a common cause of rollovers. Rollovers cause by defective tires are entirely preventable.

Tread separation

One of the most common failures that occur in defective tires is tread separation, and it tends to happen in tires that appear to be in good condition and have low mileage. In steel belted radials, the rubber and the steel must be bonded together. Failure in this bond allows the tire to come apart. Tread separation occurs most often at high speeds and in hot temperatures.

Firestone ATX and Wilderness tires, used primarily in Ford SUV’s, were recalled in August, 2000, due to problems with tread separation. More recently tires made by the Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Company in China, and distributed in the U.S by Foreign Tire Sales, \ have had problems with tread separation. These tires were made with insufficient gum strips used to hold the tire together. Brand names include Compass, YKS, and Westlake. Many other brands, used primarily on SUVs, RVs, and large passenger vans have been recalled due to tread separation can occur for many reasons including:

  • Age
  • Inadequate gum strips
  • Too much weight (wrong tires for the vehicle)

Rotten spares

During the Firestone recall of 2000 there was a shortage of replacement tires. Many of the shops performing the replacements “solved” this problem by replacing only the four in-use tires and leaving the defective spares to be replaced at a later date. Most of those spares were never replaced. Now those tires are not only defective, but they are old, making them even more likely to blow.

Even spares which were not defective when they were manufactured may be defective by the time they are used. When tires are replaced, the spare is often skipped, making it much older than the other tires on the vehicle. Tires age and degrade overtime even when they are not in use. Heat and sunlight slowly harden the rubber and the steel inside of the tire can corrode. Spare tires, which look perfectly fine, but are several years old, can fail with just a few days of use.

Drivers cannot simply look at a tire and determine its age. In the United States, manufacturing dates on tires are printed in a code which the average consumer does not understand. So, drivers have no way of knowing how old their tires are without consulting a repair shop.

Wrong tires for the vehicle

Tires are made to handle certain weights and speeds. A perfectly good tire placed on a vehicle which is too heavy is very likely to blowout. Dealerships, auto manufacturers, tire manufacturers, and repair shops have a responsibility to match the proper tires to the proper vehicles.

If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an SUV rollover accident caused by defective tires, please e-mail us today to speak with an experienced SUV rollover lawyer.


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