Texans urged to check dangerous tires

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The office of the attorney general is urging Texas drivers to check their vehicles for potentially dangerous tires.

The tires were sold from 2002 to 2006 for light trucks, sport utility vehicles and vans, and they could be in danger of tread separation, officials said.

The tires were made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. in China and distributed in the United States under several names, including Westlake, YKS and Compass.

According to Foreign Tire Sales, Inc., the U.S. distributor, at least 270,000 tires may have insufficient or missing "gum strips," an important safety feature on certain tires that helps prevent tread separation.

More than 50,000 of the potentially unsafe tires are believed to have been sold in Texas, officials said.

If anyone has any of these tires, he or she should immediately contact the dealer where the tires were purchased.

If the dealer is more than 50 miles away, drivers should ask the closest tire shop or mechanic to inspect a car's tires. In the interest of public safety, the office of the attorney general is asking tire dealers not to charge for such an inspection.

Consumers who purchased these tires should not drive for long distances on hot roads and should avoid overloading their vehicles, officials said.

If an inspection indicates that tires may be unsafe, consumers should immediately file an online complaint with the office of the attorney general here or call 800-252-8011 to receive a form by mail.
Consumers can also contact the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration at 800-327-4236 and FTS here.

Consumers should check the sidewalls of their tires for the brand name, size, model, and U.S. Department of Transportation number. If the DOT number contains "FTS" as part of the number, the tire may be subject to a recall in the future.

The specific tire sizes and models affected were:
• LT235/75R-15 CR861 CR857
• LT245/75R-16 CR860 CR861 CR857
• LT225/75R-16 CR 861
• LT265/75R-16 CR860 CR861 CR857
• LT235/85R-16 CR 860 CR861 CR857
• LT31X10.5R-15 CR861 CR857

At this time, NHTSA has not ordered a recall of any of these tires, and no replacement program has been instituted. However, consumers should regularly check the NHTSA, FTS and attorney general's Web sites for updates.

As part of general tire safety, consumers should keep the following tips in mind:
• Inspect tires at least once a month and before every long trip for patterns of uneven wear.
• Check tire inflation pressure in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.
• Do not overload a vehicle. Excess weight can place extra stress on one's tires.
• Check tire placard or vehicle owner's manual for the maximum amount of weight a vehicle can safely carry.
• Develop safe driving habits.
• Observe speed limits and avoid fast stops, starts, and turns.
• Avoid contact with potholes, debris, and curbs when driving or parking a vehicle.
• Keep vehicles properly maintained.
• Rotate tires regularly, get wheels balanced, and get a front-end alignment if necessary.
• Use the proper tires for a vehicle.
• Check the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations before replacing a tire with a different size and/or construction.
• Be aware of how the outside temperature affects tires.
• Have any tire problems checked out by professionals.
• Avoid buying used tires.

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