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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
A Defect on Tires has Links to China
June 16, 2008
(Christian Science Monitor) Poisonous pet food. Lead paint on children's toys. The latest potentially defective Chinese import to hit American shores: tire-valve stems, the rubber shafts that allow motorists to fill their tires with air.
There are at least 36 million of the imported valve stems on tires on American roads. Any of them could cause dangerous tire failures this summer.

Already, a lawsuit has blamed a defective tire-valve stem for a crash that killed a Florida driver. One U.S. importer issued a formal recall this month; another alerted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), which has begun an investigation. Earlier this month, the federal agency issued an advisory to motorists to check their tires for wear but said nothing about valve stems.

Most of the valves in question, which are said to crack prematurely, appear to be on tires sold between September 2006 and June 2007.

Tech International issued a recall on June 2 for some six million TR413 valve stems produced by Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. in the second half of 2006. According to NHTSA, the rubber stem may crack and allow air loss.

The extent of the problem won't be known until NHTSA completes its investigation, says an agency spokesman. But some independent safety experts say motorists should be warned to inspect the tire-valve stems immediately.

"The company [that imported most of the tires] has issued a technical bulletin, but nobody seems to know about it," says Sean Kane, an auto-safety consultant with Safety Research & Strategies in Rehoboth, Mass., which issued its own public warning June 12. "We need to know because the public is entering the high-risk summer season, and this is a real problem that potentially affects millions of vehicles."

The investigation appears to stem from a lawsuit filed after the fatal crash in November of Robert Monk of Orlando, Fla. In March, his widow sued Dill Air Controls Products, blaming its tire-valve stem for causing the right rear tire of her husband's SUV to fail, precipitating the vehicle's rollover. Shortly after the suit was filed, the Oxford, N.C., company approached NHTSA with a report of "a potential defect." The agency last month began investigating the valve stems the company distributes in the U.S.

Some 30 million suspect valve stems were manufactured over a five-month period in 2006 for Dill by Topseal, a subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corp., based in Shanghai, according to NHTSA's preliminary summary of its investigation.

In May, Dill issued a technical bulletin to its customers: "We have received a number of parts showing surface cracks on the outside of the rubber near the rim hole.... Out of an abundance of caution, we are recommending that when customers return to your stores for regular service, you inspect the valve stems on vehicles who received valve stems during the period September 2006-June 2007."

Kane claims the valves could deteriorate and crack in as few as six months. Dill's suspect valves were manufactured more than 1-1/2 years ago, from July through November 2006, according to the company.

In its recall notice, Tech said, "the defect is such that after the valve stem has been in service approximately six months or more, the rubber compound may undergo cracking," resulting in loss of tire pressure. It blamed the defect on "improper mixing of the rubber compound in the manufacturer's facility."

For its part, NHTSA says the Tech recall is a good enough reason for consumers to have tire valves checked. But until the Dill investigation is complete, there's not enough basis for a national alert.

"We monitor all forms of vehicle equipment, and we're always on the lookout out for abnormal rates of failure," says Rae Tyson, a NHTSA spokesman. "We are looking at every aspect of these valve stems.... We can't presume defects till we've completed an investigation."

In response to public outrage over contaminated pet food and lead paint on toys made in China, Congress moved last year to bolster the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. But a bill to boost commission funding and force it to notify consumers of unsafe products more quickly has not yet passed.

The agency does not oversee tires.

"Congress and whatever agency [involved in overseeing Chinese imports] don't do enough," says Peter Navarro, a business professor at the University of California at Irvine. "It's very hard because they're understaffed and underbudgeted." (Tire Review/Akron)

· Gold Founding Member
8,670 Posts
Why is that written like tire valve stems are part of the TIRE?

****in' Communists. We should embargo EVERY product made in China and Vietnam, and reinforce the embargoes against Cuba 'n' North Korea.

· Registered
146 Posts
Gee it's just American companies trying to make big bucks using china parts & charging what American (good) parts would cost. But it seems most of the American companies have gone out of business that used to make the parts. Sad.

· Registered
1,877 Posts
I agree w/ the statements that tires and valve stems aren't very much related, and big_red's statement.

The Asian rubber for example, doesn't last a year where a similar US made product could/would last 20 or more.

Beware of Asian rubber. This could apply in more than one way ;) Ha!

· Premium Member
1,305 Posts
Maybe I'm just on crack. But don't you guys vote in the very same people that sign the trade agreements?
Yes. However, the politicians do not do what the people want. They do whatever is going to benifit themselves. All of them should be ashamed of what they have done to the American public.
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