NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 1, 2004) — Federal regulators have connected six accidents causing five fatalities and 20 injuries to the Load Range D Firestone Steeltex light truck tires being voluntarily recalled by Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) but have discovered no consistent mode of failure.
BFS said its voluntary safety campaign will replace about 297,000 tires, in size LT265/75R16, that were original equipment on all 2000-2002 and some 2003 Ford Excursion full-size sport-utility vehicles. The company said of the approximately 490,000 of these tires it produced at its Joliette, Quebec, plant, 297,000 may likely still be on the road.
“In some cases, it's tread separation; in some cases, it's sidewall failure,” according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) spokesman Rae Tyson said. “In other cases, it's a good old-fashioned blowout.”
BFS said the tires are more prone to fail when the tire is underinflated and the vehicle is overloaded or driven at excessive speeds.
“In those situations, the tire is not meeting our expectations for performance," according to a BFS spokesman, who said the company has not identified the problem, if any, with the tires.
The latest recall, estimated to cost $30 million, affects about 80,000 Excursion SUVs produced at Ford's Louisville, Ky., assembly plant from March 24, 1999, through Feb. 13, 2003.
BFS and NHTSA said early warning data generated by new federal reporting requirements triggered BFS to launch the replacement program.