September 1, 2000
Consumer Advisory Concerning Additional Firestone Tires
Washington (SafetyAlerts) The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 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 - more information here.
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
If you have one of these tires on your
vehicle, you should take the following steps:
- 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.
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.
TIRES INCLUDED IN THE SEPTEMBER 1, 2000 CONSUMER ADVISORY
Tire Line Size Plant Code Original Installation
ATX P205/75R15 VD 1991 Chevy Blazer
ATX P225/75R15 HY
ATX 30X9.50R15LT VD
ATX 31X10.50R15LT VD 1991-94 Nissan Pick Up
ATX 32X11.50R15LT VD
ATX 31X10.50R16.5LT VD
ATX 33X12.50R16.5LT VD
Firehawk ATX 27X8.50R14LT VD
Firehawk ATX 235/75R15* VD
Firehawk ATX 30X9.50R15LT VD
Firehawk ATX 31X10.50R15LT VD
Firehawk ATX 32X11.50R15LT VD
Firehawk ATX 33X12.50R15LT VD
Firehawk ATX 265/75R16LT VD
Firehawk ATX 255/85R16LT VD
Firehawk ATX 31X10.50R16.5LT VD
Firehawk ATX 33X12.50R16.5LT VD
ATX 23 Degree 31X10.50R15LT VD
ATX 23 Degree 33X12.50R16.5LT VD
Widetrack Radial Baja P225/75R15 HY
Widetrack Radial Baja A/S 32X11.50R15LT VD
Wilderness AT P235/70R16 W2 1996-98 Ford F150
Wilderness AT 33X12.50R16.5LT VD
Wilderness HT P255/70R15 VD
* Firestone's lists this model as a LTP235/75R15.
The majority of the tires listed above were sold as replacements in the aftermarket mostly
for light trucks and SUV's. In the right column are vehicles upon which the tires were
originally installed by the vehicle manufacturer when new.
How do I know if my tires are included ?
A. First you need to read the
model name off of the sidewall of your tire and verify that it's on the above list. Once
you establish that you have one of the models listed above, you need to check the tire
size and verify it's on the list. The tire size is located on both sides of the tire in
raised letters. The tire size should be one of the sizes listed above.
B. Next you need to locate the DOT code to determine where your tire was
built (plant). The DOT number is located on the blackwall side of the tire, under the F in
Firestone and it is 10 characters long, and it starts with DOT. Since this code is on the
blackwall side of the tire, and not on the outside of the tire, you may need to crawl
underneath your vehicle with a flashlight to find the code. There may be spaces in between
some of the numbers, but be sure to count all 10 characters to ensure you have found the
proper code. Examples include:
The first two letters of the DOT code are the DOT plant code (see right hand column
above). If the first tow letters of the DOT code are VD, HY, or W2 and you have the tire
line and size shown above, then your tires are on the consumer advisory list.