Tire Failures

Tire failure can result in a serious crash resulting in drastic consequences. Our firm has the experience and resources to prosecute the tire manufactures.

Perhaps the single most important component in vehicle safety is a reliable tire. Tire failures resulting from detread or a blowout can cause a vehicle to be uncontrollable often with disastrous and tragic results. An automobile suffering a tire failure may leave the roadway, roll over, or cross into other lanes of traffic causing serious injury or even death to vehicle occupants and other motorists. There are a number of issues to be considered in prosecuting a tire case.

Image of tire failure and tire blowout

  • Tire Defects – How and why did the tire fail? One of the most common types of tire failure is a tread separation. Tread separations are caused by improper design, manufacturing, exposure to contaminants or elements, or tire age.
  • Writing On The Wall – On the sidewall of the tire is the DOT serial number system, which will tell you important information about the tire, from where it was manufactured to how old the tire is. Where and when the tire was made is critical in developing theories and discovery. Do you know how to determine how old a tire is?
  • Tire Age –As a tire ages, its components dry out, the rubber deteriorates and the adhesions between the tire’s parts begin to break down, often leading to a tread separation. This aging process occurs regardless of whether your tires are being stored or are in use. Almost all vehicles place a six-year age limit on tires.
  • Recalls – When a tire is defective and the manufacturer is aware of a safety problem, they have an obligation to alert consumers to the problem. However, there is currently no effective tire recall system in place that prevents recalled tires from being sold or placed onto a vehicle.
  • Discovery – Our team can fight the important discovery battles to help effectively handle a tire case. From inspecting a tire plant to deposing the big tire manufacturers’ representatives and experts, our team has a proven track record.

Tire failure may also be linked to under-inflation. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) report says 27 percent of passenger cars on U.S. roadways are driven with one or more substantially under-inflated tires. Under-inflated tires can result in tire failure, including tire separation and blowouts, with a potential for loss of control of the vehicle. Under-inflated tires also shorten tire life and increase fuel consumption. Don’t rely on a visual check to decide if your tire is properly inflated. Always use an accurate guage.

The NHTSA advises drivers to check their tires each month, as well as before taking a long trip, to make sure they have adequate tread, that tread does not demonstrate any visible cracks or other defects, and that tires are properly inflated.


Tire Age

When was the last time you checked how old the tires on your vehicle are? Oxidation, which occurs through air, heat and sunlight, can age a tire drastically and increase the risk of a blowout.

Tire failures, blowouts and detreads are foreseeable and preventable events. Obvious tire defects may be detected with a surface inspection when the tire is first installed and inflated. Consumers and technicians should look for bulges, lumps, cracks and noticeable air leakage. Technicians should also check for tire defects when any service work is done on the vehicle and its tires, and they should check the tire’s age. Consumers should make sure to ASK their tire service center to check for tire age.

Car companies have now updated guidelines to say tires older than six years can be dangerous to consumers, but that does not prevent stores from attempting to sell them. Sometimes tires can be held in a warehouse for months or even years before being sold, reducing the lifespan of the tire once it reaches the consumer.

How can you find out how old your tire is? There are date codes printed on the side of the tire that will tell you, but it takes a little work to figure out the codes used by the manufacturers.

How to read tire age code

The date code can be found along the edge of the tire where it meets the rim or hubcap. Before 2000, the date code had three digits. Since 2000 it has four. The first two digits are the week of the year (01 = first week of January); the third digit (for tires made before 2000) is the year (1 =1991). For most tires made after 2000, the third and fourth digits are the year (04 = 2004). So if the date code reads 0806, the tire was manufactured in the eighth week of 2006.

Tire failure due to age can result in a serious car crash and even a vehicle rollover accident, causing serious injury or death to vehicle occupants.

However, it is encouraging news that the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) recently announced it will study tire safety related issues in more detail during the next year. In particular, the agency will study tire age, and determine new rulemaking to improve tire labeling and consumer information.


Tire Recalls

Sometimes, tires are defective because of a manufacturing error or problem. In those instances, potentially serious incidents like a blowout or a detread may occur even if the tire is brand new and not very old. Unfortunately, many times consumers and even retailers and service centers do not realize a tire is defective. How can this be?

If tire is defective as the result of design or manufacturing defect, and the manufacturer is aware of the problem, the manufacturer has an obligation to alert consumers to the potential danger. However, in many instances, tire recalls are not issued until manufacturers are forced to do so. Even then, because of fundamental flaws in the tire recall system, many consumers and retailers never get the word about a recall.

This is because there is no effective tracking system in place to check on the status of tires. Also, there are thousands of brands and segments of brands of tires. A consumer can’t just look at a tire and be able to tell that it has been recalled. It’s often based on a complex Department of Transportation (DOT) code. Businesses that sell or install tires do not have access to any type of central database that would allow them to quickly and easily look up a tire to see if it has been recalled.

Adding to the problem, recall notices are often sent by third-class mail, to save the manufacturer money. This class of mail does not provide automatic forwarding if a vehicle owner has changed address. The company also won’t receive any type of notification if a recall notice is not delivered to its intended recipient. The notice just falls into the heap of unclaimed, undeliverable mail, with nobody aware of the potentially dangerous tire on the vehicle and on the road. Even many service centers don’t have complete copies of recall documents.

There is no easy answer for the tire recall problem. It will take a cooperative effort between tire manufacturers and regulatory and safety agencies to establish an efficient, effective system to alert the public to dangerous recalled tires.