More than a quarter million defective Chinese tires are being recalled by New Jersey-based Foreign Tire Sales, because they lack a gum strip — a band of rubber designed to keep the steel belts from separating. Belt separation can cause the tires to split apart at high speeds, and the flaw has already resulted in some fatalities. The tires were sold under the brand names Westlake, Compass and YKS from 2004 to mid-2006, and were marketed for use on SUVs, trucks and vans. About 1,100 of the tires were sold in Virginia, but none are known to have been sold in Maryland or DC. Foreign Tire Sales, the U.S. distributor, blames the defect on Chinese manufacturer Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber for allegedly changing the design of the tire without notifying the U.S. The manufacturer has released a written statement saying they have found no evidence that the tires are unsafe or lacking safety features. Many safety advocates have expressed concern that the U.S. National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) failed to detect a pattern of defects or alert the public to dangers posed by the tires.
The following tire models are affected by the Foreign Tire Sales recall:
- Size LT235/75R-15, models CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT5FTS.
- Size LT235/85R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT2FTS.
- Size LT245/75R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT3FTS.
- Size LT265/75R-16, models CR860, CR861 and CR857, with a DOT number beginning 7DT4FTS.
- Size LT31X10.5 R-15, models CR857 and CR861, with a DOT number beginning 7DT6FTS.
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