Michelin tire recall over tread separation

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Michelin North America is voluntarily recalling more than 800,000 tires for tread separation issues. Image: Lens Artwork/Flickr/CC BY-ND

A voluntary tire recall by Michelin North America, Inc. could affect hundreds of thousands of vehicle owners in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Tire recall over tread separation

The tire giant, headquartered in Greenville, S.C., made the announcement on Thursday, July 26. The recall is because of a tread-belt separation seen in a small sampling of the tires that were returned by customers. The affected 841,000 tires were all made as commercial replacement tires for light trucks and heavy duty vans. Some, however, may also have been used on cars.

The affected tires, made between April 2010 and July 2012, are the BFGoodrich LT 235/85 R16 120 Q LRE and LT 245/75 R16 120 Q LRE, and Uniroyal Laredo LT 235/85 R16 120 Q LRE and LT 245/75 R16 120 Q LRE. About 800,000 of the tires were sold in the U.S., said Michelin North America, with the remaining units going to Canada and Mexico.

Separation could lead to air loss

If the tread should separate on the highway, it could lead to a rapid air loss. That could, in turn, lead to a serious accident. However, no injuries or deaths have yet been reported as a result of the tires at this time. Michelin North America is trying to keep it that way.

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Mike Wischhusen, Michelin’s technical director, wrote in a letter to affected owners:

“It is important that all recalled tires be removed from service as soon as possible.”

Customer returns prompt recall

One hundred forty-thee, or about 0.017 percent of the total number of affected tires, were returned by customers due to tread or air loss. Those returns prompted Michelin to launch the recall, rather than taking a chance with the safety of its customers.

Wischhusen wrote:

“We constantly monitor our products performance in the field and it was our own internal quality systems that caught this issue. We caught it very early, based on a very small number of returns… We’re taking this proactive action in order to protect our consumers and the driving public.”

The complexity of tires

Michelin North American was unsure precisely what could have caused the issue.

Wischhusen wrote:

“A tire is a complex thing. There is rarely one thing you can pinpoint to cause something like this.”

Tires replaced free

The recall is scheduled to begin around August 6. Owners will have their tires replaced, free of charge. Michelin Consumer Care can be reached at 1-800-637-5527.


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