Defective Tire Valve Stems

WCVB-TV Channel 5 in Boston reported on June 23 that 30 million defective tire valve stems are on old and new cars:

“BOSTON — A small 50 cent part for your car could have a critical safety defect.

Team 5 Investigates reported Monday there could be more than 30 million of these parts on the road right now.

Last November, Robert Monk, 31, died when his SUV flipped. Investigators blamed rapid air loss in the right rear tire. His family has filed a lawsuit.

“There was a crack in the valve stem on his tire that led to a loss in air pressure,” said Richard Newsome, an attorney for Monk’s estate. “And when that happened, his tires failed because of the loss in air pressure. He lost control.”

A valve stem is an inexpensive rubber part taken off the shelf and inserted into a tire so you can pump in the air. But a crack in the rubber could allow air to escape, causing the tire to deflate or rupture. You could then have a flat or a crash.

After the crash, the distributor, Dill Air Controls Products, warned service centers — but not drivers — about the problem of certain cracked valve stems coming from a factory in China. Another company using that same factory issued a recall for six million cracked valves.

But that number is insignificant compared to the 30 million potentially defective valves that Dill warns could be out there — on any make, any model.

Initially, the problem was thought to involve only replacement tires. But Team 5 Investigates discovered it may threaten some cars bought new.

Sean Kane, a tire safety expert, examined the valve stems on our 2007 Ford Explorer. He found cracks on three of the four valve stems.”

The station has tips on how to look for defective stems:

http://www.thebostonchannel.com/investigative/16688483/detail.html

The Consumer Reports blog has a similar report:

http://blogs.consumerreports.org/safety/2008/06/tire-valve-stem.html

When you get a chance, have your mechanic or tire place inspect the valve stems on your car.

Posted by Rich

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