FINDLAY, Ohio — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is conducting a voluntary recall for 327 Cooper Evolution H/T tires manufactured in mid-2017 because their tire identification code is incorrect.
The recall affects tires in size 245/70R16, manufactured between June 4 and June 10, 2017, at Cooper's Texarkana, Ark., factory. The affected tires are determined to contain a tire identification noncompliance. The date code reads 1723 instead of 2317; the DOT code for the Texarkana plant is UT.
Cooper is issuing this recall after being denied a ruling of inconsequential consequence by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Cooper had filed for the ruling in May 2018 after notifying NHTSA of the error.
Cooper argued that the error was inconsequential because the serial week of manufacture has no bearing on the performance or operation of a tire and does not create a safety concern to the operator of the vehicle on which the tires are mounted. The tires in all other respects are properly labeled and meet all performance requirements under Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS).
Cooper also argued that registration and traceability would not be interrupted, as the company's internally controlled online registration system was modified to be able to accept the incorrectly ordered 1723 date code. Any tires registered with that date code and TIN would be identified properly as having been manufactured in the 23rd week of 2017.
NHTSA eventually denied the application, ruling that Cooper has not met the agency's "burden of persuasion" of establishing that the subject noncompliance is inconsequential to motor vehicle safety.
The mislabeled date code "presents an obvious risk that the tires may be used or perhaps sold well after they have aged to the point where they cannot be safely used," NHTSA wrote in its ruling, published in the Federal Register on Aug. 26.
NHTSA went on to say that an important issue to consider in determining inconsequentiality is the "safety risk to individuals who experience the type of event against which the recall would otherwise protect." In general, NHTSA does not consider the absence of complaints or injuries to show that the issue is inconsequential to safety.