We have been flooded with phone calls regarding the Firestone Tire Recall.
Here is the latest information we have to date from Firestone.
The suspect tires are all Firestone Radial ATX and Radial ATX II
tires in size P235/75R15 produced in North America, including Mexico, and
Wilderness AT tires in size P235/75R15 produced at the Decatur, Ill., plant
If you have the P235/75R15 Wilderness AT and want to determine if the
tires were built at the Decatur plant you can have a Firestone dealer inspect
them or you can look for the "DOT" (Department of Transportation) number
under the car at the back of each tire's sidewall. Typically you will see
capital letters DOT then the tire's 10 digit serial number will immediately
follow. If the first two letters of the serial number are VD then the tire
was made at the Decatur plant and is involved in the recall.
Vehicle owners will be notified of the recall by mail. Bridgestone/Firestone
will replace all of these tires with brand new Wilderness AT or other Bridgestone/Firestone
tires. If necessary, the company will obtain other sources of supply. Customers
who wish to speak to a representative of Firestone can do so by calling
the customer service number at 1-800-465-1904, 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week.
Here at Giammalvo's we can also replace the recalled tires. If you
have the recalled tires, we can replace them for you with any, (same size),
tire of your choice and all you will have to do is return the tires to
a Firestone dealer and send in a reimbursement form to Firestone.
Customers are eligible for reimbursement up to $100 per tire, including
mounting and balancing charges and taxes.
Reimbursement checks will be mailed to customers. Firestone is required
by law to secure all recalled tires.
The following current model vehicles equipped with Firestone Wilderness
tires are not involved in this recall:
Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra pickup trucks.
Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban sport utility vehicles.
Ford Expedition sport utility vehicles.
Ford Escape sport utility vehicles.
GMC Yukon and Yukon XL sport utility vehicles. Mazda Tribute sport
Nissan Frontier pickup trucks.
Pontiac Aztek sport recreational vehicles.
Subaru Outback sport utility wagons.
Toyota Tacoma pickup trucks.
Toyota 4 Runner sport utility vehicles.
The National Highway Transportation and Safety Administration, (NHTSA),
also issued an advisory to consumers who have vehicles with specific other
Firestone Tires. In that advisory, NHTSA claims that after their investigation
into the recall that certain other Firestone tires have shown to have an
increased failure rate.
Firestone claims that their research shows that these other tires are
not problematic. Here is the NHTSA press release:
The National Highway Traansportation and Safety Administration is
recommending that owners of vehicles with certain models and sizes of Firestone
tires not already being recalled by Firestone take a number of actions
to assure their safety, based on NHTSA's analysis of Firestone's data.
On May 2, 2000, NHTSA opened a defect investigation into approximately
47 million ATX, ATXII, and Wilderness tires manufactured by Bridgestone/Firestone,
Inc. (Firestone). On August 9, Firestone announced that it was recalling
14.4 million of the tires under investigation. These include all Firestone
ATX and ATXII tires of the P235/75R15 size manufactured since 1991 and
all Wilderness AT tires of that same size manufactured at Firestone's Decatur,
IL plant. Firestone has estimated that about 6.5 million of these tires
were still in service as of that date.
NHTSA has continued its investigation into the remaining tires. As
part of that investigation, NHTSA has reviewed data provided by Firestone
on property damage claims, personal injury claims, and lawsuits regarding
the tires under investigation. Although its investigation is not complete,
that review indicated that the rate of tread separations for certain other
tire models and sizes exceed those of the recalled tires, sometimes by
a large margin. Therefore, NHTSA is concerned about the possible safety
risk associated with those tires.
On August 30, 2000, NHTSA staff met with Firestone
representatives in Washington and recommended that Firestone expand the
recall to include these tire models. On August 31, Firestone advised NHTSA
that it would not voluntarily expand the recall at this time. We are continuing
our investigation, which may result in an order directing Firestone to
recall these tires and any other defective tires. However, in view of the
potential safety risk, NHTSA believes that it is important to alert the
public of its concerns now.
The tire models with the high tread separation rates are set out
in an Attachment to this advisory. A total of approximately 1.4 million
of these tires were produced. However, since many of them were manufactured
many years ago, it is likely that far fewer are currently on the road.
Most of them were sold as replacement equipment and were not installed
as original tires on new cars.
Since Firestone has chosen not to expand the recall at this time,
you may not be able to obtain free replacement tires from Firestone. However,
in light of these concerns, NHTSA recommends that you consider replacing
the tires in question and that you
retain all documentation.
If you have one of these tires on your vehicle, you should take the
Check your tires to be sure there are no visible signs of a problem.
Be sure your tires are properly inflated.
Do not drive at a high rate of speed, particularly in hot weather.
If possible, choose roads with relatively low speed limits.
Make sure your vehicle is not overloaded.
Wear your seatbelt.
Please be aware that while these precautions are
good general guidelines to tire safety, they may not prevent a tire failure.
NHTSA will be moving to rapidly complete its defect
investigation into these particular tires as well as the remaining Firestone
tires under investigation. If the
agency concludes that other tires should be recalled, it will act
promptly to assure that the public is protected.
On September 12, 2000, Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Sales, (BFS), Company
President John Lampe announced that for customers who may be concerned
about tires in the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration
Consumer Advisory, BFS is providing free inspections at company-owned stores
and authorized retailers. Furthermore, the company is prepared to replace
any of the tires covered by the Advisory dated Sept. 1, "if a customer
is still concerned...if necessary, we will use competitor's products."
If a customer chooses to visit a competitor's location to obtain replacement
tires under this program, BFS will reimburse customers up to $140 per tire.
"Obviously, if there is a problem, we'll fix it," Lampe said.
The Tires Identified In NHTSA's Sept. 1 Consumer Advisory are:
Tire Line Size
Firehawk ATX 27X8.50R14LT
Firehawk ATX 235/75R15*
Firehawk ATX 30X9.50R15LT
Firehawk ATX 31X10.50R15LT
Firehawk ATX 32X11.50R15LT
Firehawk ATX 33X12.50R15LT
Firehawk ATX 265/75R16LT
Firehawk ATX 255/85R16LT
Firehawk ATX 31X10.50R16.5LT
Firehawk ATX 33X12.50R16.5LT
ATX 23 Degree 31X10.50R15LT
ATX 23 Degree 33X12.50R16.5LT
Widetrack Radial Baja P225/75R15
Widetrack Radial Baja A/S 32X11.50R15LT
Wilderness AT P235/70R16
Wilderness AT 33X12.50R16.5LT
Wilderness HT P255/70R15
*Firestone lists this tire as LTP235/75R15
Hot Days, Dark Cars, Equals
During this past summer we had several customers with factory installed
alarms complain that their alarm went off, yet no one tampered with the
vehicle. We noticed some peculiar similarities to many of the cases. The
vehicles were usually dark in color and the false alarm event occurred
on a hot day when the vehicle was parked in the sun. Remembering an old
Dodge service bulletin years back, we paid particular attention to the
hood pin tamper switch. Most vehicles with factory installed alarms have
a hood pin switch that senses if the hood is opened and sets off the alarm.
On a hot day, when the vehicle is parked in the sun, the hood can actually
"swell" and lift approximately 1/4 inch. If the hood pin is adjusted "too
low" it will trip when the hood swells up thus setting off the alarm. The
darker the color of the car the hotter the hood can get, (from absorbed
sun light heat), the higher the hood can travel up. In most cases we either
adjust the hood pin higher, adjust the closed hood position lower or replace
the hood pin switch.
Just when you think little details don't matter...they matter a lot.
When you bring your vehicle in for service don't feel strange or embarrassed
by telling us all the details. You may think they sound foolish or that
they are not relevant, but tell us anyway. The more information we have
the quicker we can solve your concern.
Recently we have had owners of Nissan Maximas mention that the trunk
lid on their vehicle can open without warning while they are driving or
getting in or out of the vehicle. We recently witnessed this occur on our
lot. We had a shipment of cars arrive by car carrier and while the driver
was backing a Maxima off the carrier the trunk popped open. In most of
the cases we have found that the driver was fairly tall and had something
bulky in their left pocket. Now you are wondering...what could a
person's height and pocket have to do with a car problem? Well, here is
what our research uncovered: Many Nissan Maximas have a power trunk release
switch located on the inside of the left front door below the door armrest.
Normally, the placement of this switch is not a problem. However, if the
driver is tall, the drivers seat will be adjusted back in a position that
lines up the switch right across from the drivers left pocket. If the tall
driver has a wallet or set of keys in that pocket it will stick out just
enough to push in the trunk release switch. Most often it happens as soon
as the driver sits down and closes the door. Nissan now sells a new style
switch, that we can install, that requires a longer push to activate the
Shortage Of Technicians.
The National Automotive Dealers Association, (NADA), is reporting a shortage
of qualified automotive service technicians. In 1999, there were 258,000
technicians working in franchised dealerships. That figure is actually
10,800 more than 1998. In 1980, there were 1.53 dealership technicians
for every 1000 light duty vehicles. In 1999 there were only 1.24 technicians
per 1000 light duty vehicles.
Recent NHTSA Recalls.
The National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration, (NHTSA),
reports the following recalls:
1998-99 Ford Explorer, erratic windshield wiper operation.
1998-99 Mercury Mountaineer, erratic windshield wiper operation.
1995-97 Subaru Legacy, electrical system failure.
1997-99 Buick Park Avenue, front shoulder belt jamming and binding.
1997-2000 Chevrolet Corvette, jammed and binding safety belt retractor.
1994-96 Dodge Ram, ignition switch failure and fire.
1995 Mazda Protégé, headlight wire failure in steering
It appears that NHTSA is close to forcing a recall on the following
1989-91 Buick Regal, Chevrolet Lumina, Chevrolet Lumina APV, Chevrolet
Monte Carlo, Oldsmobile Cutlass, Oldsmobile Silhouette, Pontiac Grand Prix
and Pontiac Trans Sport.
The problem goes back to a recall on these vehicles in 1997. At that
time, the recall was to replace rear engine cradle bolts that would corrode
on these vehicles if they were registered in the "salt belt states" : (CT,
IL, IN, MA, ME, MI, NH, NJ, NY, OH, PA, RI, VT, AND WI). Now it appears
that the front cradle bolts may have corroded as well. Out of 200 new complaints
to NHTSA, 22 of them are in states that were not in the first recall. Nine
of the 22 new complaints are in Minnesota.
Remember that in many recalls not every car in an effected year range
is assembled with the faulty component. Often only a certain batch of vehicles
are affected. NHTSA lists the year span just for reference purposes. If
a 1998 Malibu were listed it does not necessarily mean that all 1998 Malibu's
are effected. The manufacturer will mail you a letter regarding a recall
only if your specific vehicle is involved.
If you wish you can call the NHTSA hot line at 1-888-327-4236 or 1-800-424-9393.