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Faulty tire valves could cause accidents

August 19, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
As many as 30 million tires on the road are at risk of blowing out, which can be a serious, even fatal accident. The problem is potentially faulty tire valves. Those valves have been recalled. So, consumer experts have teamed up to help consumers find out if they are at risk.

Robert Monk was killed last November when his right rear tire failed, triggering a rollover crash. A lawsuit alleges the cause of the accident was a cracked tire valve. One distributor of the valve has issued a recall of six models.

"If you've replaced new tires since 2006, there's a chance that your tire valves are affected by the recall," said Don Mays, Consumer Reports.

Consumer Reports's Don Mays checked cars in the staff parking lot and found more than one with a problem.

"This crack leaked air slowly, resulting in a flat tire. But at highway speeds, you could have sudden air loss, and that can be a serious problem," said Mays.

It's not easy to tell if your tire has one of these valves. At a minimum, Consumer Reports says check your tire pressure at least once a month and inspect the valve for any cracks. Flex the valve out towards the tire and rotate it, looking for any cracks along the stem. A flashlight can be helpful.

"If you do find a crack, go to your mechanic and make sure all four tire-valve stems are replaced, not just the defective one," said Mays.

To be certain that your valves haven't been recalled, have a mechanic take the tire off and inspect the valve from the inside. That's the only way to check the model number to see if your valve is part of the recall.

The six valves that have been recalled were distributed in 2006. If you purchased a new car, or had your tires replaced since then, you may be at risk.

The model numbers of the six valves in recall are:

  • TR-413
  • TR-413CH
  • TR-414
  • TR-415
  • TR-418
  • TR-423

 

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