Defective tires are often the underlying cause or a contributing factor in rollovers and other serious accidents. Sudden tire failure can cause a vehicle to go out of control, running off the road or into the oncoming lane of traffic, or cause the vehicle to roll. Defective tires can fail with no warning, after very little mileage, and when they appear to be new and in good condition.
Tread separation is one of the most common failures in defective tires. Stell belted radials which appear to be in good condition blow out when the rubber and the steel are not adequately bonded and pull apart. This typically happens at high speeds and in high temperature conditions. Defects which can lead to tread separation include:
- Age of tire
- Inadequate gum strips (used to bond the rubber to the steel)
- Too much weight due to using the wrong tires for the vehicle
SUV's and Defective Tires
The 200 recall of Firestone tires used primarily in Ford Explorers is one of the most highly publicized recall campaigns in recent history. With their high center of gravity, SUV's have an elevated risk of rollover. Defective tires present a deadly risk on SUV's because tire failure can act as the "tripping" mechanism which causes a rollover.
The Wrong Tires
Tires are designed and tested to safely carry a certain amount of weight. An otherwise good tire installed on a vehicle which is too heavy can very easily blowout. This has been a known problem with the Goodyear G159 275/70 22.5 tire, which was installed on large RV's from 1996 through 2004, on Goodyear's recommendation, even thought it was designed for use in smaller vehicles.
Auto manufacturers, tire manufacturers, dealerships, and repair shops, have a responsibilty to match the proper tires to the proper vehicles.
Heat and sunlight age can degrade tires over time, even when they are not in use. Even though the spare may appear to be in perfect condition, if it is old it can blowout after very little mileage. When tires are changed the spare is often skipped. In the U.S. the manufacturing date on a tire is written in a code that the average consumer cannot decipher, so vehicle owners have no way of knowing how old their tires really are.
During the recall of Firestone tires in 2000, there was a shortage of replacement tires. In order to process all of the vehicles, many shops skipped changing out the spare. Now, those spares are not only defective, but aged and ready to blow.
At William J. Tinning, P. C., we believe that every case is important, and no case is too small. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident caused by defective tires, please call or email us today to schedule your free consultation.
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