Alabama Attorney General issues warning of defective tires

Alabama Attorney General Troy King has issued a consumer warning about potentially dangerous tires for light trucks, sport utility vehicles, and vans.

King said that in June, Foreign Tire Sales Inc. reported to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that some tires manufactured in China and sold in the U.S. may be susceptible to belt or tread separation. The tires were made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. and distributed under the names Westlake, Compass, and YKS.

Not all tires manufactured by the Chinese company are suspect. No recall and no replacement tire program has been instituted. However, an official recall of at least some of these tires may begin this month.

"Details are still emerging regarding the potential scope of this problem, but in the interest of safety, I am informing consumers of this situation," King said in a news release. "I urge consumers to check their vehicles’ tires to make sure they are not driving on potentially unsafe tires and to determine if there are any signs of tread separation."

If an inspection indicates that the consumers’ tires may be unsafe, consumers should cease using the tires and report the situation to Foreign Tire Sales, Inc.

Consumers should check the sidewalls of their tires for the brand name, size, model, and DOT number. If the DOT number contains "FTS" as part of the number, the tire may be subject to a future recall. Potentially affected tires also will contain a tire size starting with "LT," as well as a DOT number that starts with "7D." and ends in either "02," "03," "04," or "05." Further information can be obtained from FTS’s web site at www.foreigntire.com.

Consumers should not drive their vehicles for long distances or on hot roads until their tires are checked. Consumers should be careful not to overload their vehicles.

Consumers with any of the tires described above should immediately contact the dealer where they bought the tires, or if that dealer is more than 50 miles from them, another tire dealer, and ask them to inspect the tires.

Consumers who live in Alabama or who purchased the specified tires in Alabama and have complaints about those tires or any other consumer matter should contact Attorney General King’s Office of Consumer Affairs at 1-800-392-5658. If consumers have had an accident as a result of a potentially defective tire, they should file a report with NHTSA by calling its Vehicle Safety Hotline Toll-Free; 1-888-327-4236 TTY: 1-800-424-9153.