Orlando, Florida – A distributor of Chinese-made valve stems has announced a recall of six million units and the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has launched an investigation into reports that defective valve stems may have contributed to a fatal rollover in Florida.
Safety advocates are urging motorists to inspect their valve stems for cracks and to check their tire pressure. The report said that as many as 30 million replacement rubber valve stems, imported to the U.S. from China beginning in August 2006, can crack prematurely, causing the tire to lose air.
On November 11, Robert Monk of Orlando, Florida died when the right rear tire of his 1998 Ford Explorer failed, triggering a rollover crash. His family has filed suit against Dill Air Control Products, alleging that the crash was caused by a defective tire valve stem manufactured by Topseal, a subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Industries Company for Dill Air Control Products.
After receiving notice of the crash, Dill officials met with the NHTSA and on May 2, sent a technical bulletin to major tire retailers advising them that the company had received complaints of surface cracks appearing on the outside of the rubber near the rim hole in models TR 413, TR 413 chrome, TR 414, and TR 418 Dill ACP valve stems. Dill officials told NHTSA that the valves, manufactured from July 2006 to November 2006, may leak from cracks caused by ozone exposure. NHTSA opened a formal investigation on May 15.
On June 2, Tech International, a distributor of Shanghai Baolong-made replacement tire valve stems, announced a recall of six million TR 413 valve stems. Motorists should report valve stem failures to NHTSA at ODI.NHTSA.dot.gov.