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Firestone Recalling 490,000 Tires

Steeltex radial tires linked to 14 SUV crashes, 5 deaths

Feb 26, 2004 | AP

Bridgestone/Firestone announced a recall Thursday of about 490,000 Steeltex tires linked to 14 sport utility vehicle crashes that killed five people.

About 297,000 of the Steeltex LT265/75R16 Load Range D tires are on the road in the United States and 20,000 more internationally, the company said.

The tiremaker said it learned two months ago that there were 14 crashes involving SUVs with Steeltex tires. It said it reported the information to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, as required, and announced the voluntary recall.

The tires were made for use on Ford Excursions from 2000 to 2002 and some early 2003 models.

The recall comes 3½ years after the company began a recall of 17 million ATX, ATX II and Wilderness AT tires. More than 200 people were reported killed and hundreds more injured in rollover crashes after the tread on those tires separated. The company has spent an estimated $1.5 billion on that recall, including the settlement of dozens of lawsuits.

A current lawsuit accuses the tire manufacturer of using substandard materials to make a Steeltex model not covered by the recall. A hearing is scheduled next month to determine whether the suit should become a class-action case. The lawsuit seeks at least $1 billion in reimbursement for motorists and a recall of Steeltex R4S, R4SII and A/T tires.

About 41 million Steeltex tires of various models have been produced and are standard equipment on 71 types of vehicles, including pickup trucks, SUVs and recreational and emergency vehicles.


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