GREENVILLE, S.C. (July 26, 2012) — Michelin North America Inc. is recalling about 841,000 BFGoodrich Commercial T/A A/S and Uniroyal Laredo HD/H commercial light truck tires in the U.S., Canada and Mexico because of tread belt separation that can result in air or tread loss.
Approximately 799,900 of these tires, which are commonly used on commercial light trucks and full-sized heavy-duty vans, were sold in the U.S., Michelin said.
Two sizes of each tire are affected — LT 235/85R16 120 Q and 245/75R16 120 Q — for each model, Michelin said. The recalled tires were manufactured at the firm's Fort Wayne, Ind., plant beginning in April 2010 until the company stopped making those models, in January or July 2012, depending on the tire lines, it said.
Before the recall, the customer return rate for all four sizes for tread and/or air loss was 0.17 percent, or approximately 143 tires, Michelin said. However, any tire produced in those model lines during the 2010-2012 period could suffer tread separation, it said.
Michelin first discovered the tread separation problem through its quality system, according to Michael Wischhusen, Michelin technical director.
“We monitor the field performance of all our tires,” Mr. Wisch-husen said. “We first noticed an uptick in claims with the early April 2010 timeframe and initiated an in-depth quality review.”
Despite Michelin's intense scrutiny of the tires, the company still hasn't identified any overriding cause for the tread separations, according to Mr. Wischhusen.
“A tire is a complex product, and it is difficult to pinpoint one single issue that is the main problem,” he said. “It is a combination of material choices, physical design parameters and applications.”
Michelin is now making redesigned tires as successors to the recalled tires, according to Mr. Wischhusen. It has tested the replacement tires and found a significant improvement in safety and performance, although it will continue to monitor those tires closely, he said.
The removed tires will be replaced with a similar product free of charge, Michelin said, through customers' BFGoodrich or Uniroyal dealer.
The company is placing a notice on its website announcing the recall, Mr. Wischhusen said. It will mail recall notices to tire owners no later than the week of Aug. 6, probably sooner, he said.
“We have started to ramp up production of replacement tires,” he said. “This is a tremendous inconvenience to our dealers, and we apologize for that. But we are doing everything in our power to expedite the production of replacement tires.”
For more information on the recalls, tire owners may visit either www.bfgoodrichtires.com/voluntarysafetysrecall or www.uniroyaltires.com/voluntarysafetyrecall, or call Consumer Care at 1-800-637-5527 between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. EST Monday through Friday or 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. EST Saturday.