What factors led to recall?
Throughout the extensive coverage of the Firestone/Ford investigation what remains a crucial and yet unanswered question is why most tires that failed were on the left rear.
Although I am not an engineer, I wonder if there could be a problem with the gearing of the rear differential, causing the left rear tire to turn at an "ever-so-slightly" different RPM than the right rear.
This could cause some possible drag and scuffing, which in turn could cause a tremendous amount of heat over the life of the tire.
Direct Tire and Auto Service
The bulk of discussion surrounding the recent Firestone tire recall seems to focus on underinflation of the suspect tires.
How do these tires get into their underinflated condition? We know some were mounted and aired to 26 psi as Ford Motor Co. recommended for its Explorer sport-utility vehicle. But what about the others?
To answer that question, we shopped 28 tire outlets to see what exactly was being done in regard to inflation.
We used four test vehicles and asked each service outlet either to rotate tires and check pressure or to mount one tire and check the pressure in all five.
On leaving each location, we immediately rechecked the pressure using a Vangard Futura GP145, a computerized tire inflator that is accurate to with 1/2 psi.
Sadly, all but five of the service locations scored poorly. Some outlets had put a different pressure in each tire, while others either under- or overinflated the tires by as much as 25 percent.
It seems gauges either were not used or were terribly inaccurate. In some instances the tires were not calibrated at all.
Contributing factors? You bet! We suggest it's time to get back to basics such as proper training and quality equipment.
Dan L. Hunstiger
Vangard Tire Inflation Systems
St. Cloud, Minn.
In his letter (Sept. 11), reader Mel Shook was wrong about what Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. pays dealers for handling its recalled tire adjustments.
In the case of competitors' tires (those not made by BFS), we are compensated $59.86 plus $30 for handling.
For Bridgestone or Firestone brands, we receive the actual cost of the tire plus $20 for handling.
This is better than retail (compensation) in some markets. As for how long it takes to get credit for adjustments, I received credit for over $25,000 within two weeks of applying.
How refreshing to read Joe DePaolis' letter (Sept. 11) on the Firestone tire recall.
Joe always speaks clearly and forceful, whether you agree with him or not.
As president of the former National Tire Dealers & Retreaders Association (1988-89), he was the greatest spokesperson we independent tire dealers ever had. He tells it like it is!
You've been in the trucking business long enough, Joe. How about going to Washington as executive director of TANA. We need you!
Edward `Ted' Grant
Tallmadge Tire Service Co.