Consumers can start calling their Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. dealers as early as today to make appointments for replacement of the 500 steel belted radial tires they own, but the company and the government are asking people to wait about a week to give dealers time to make arrangements to handle the huge recall.
Meanwhile Secretary of Transportation Brock Adams said yesterday that he had received the signed recall agreement, announced last Friday, from the company.
"The confirmation of this agreement by Firestone sets into motion the removal from our highways of some 7.5 million potentially life endangering tires," Adams said. "It reaf-firms the consumer's right to be assured of a safe product."
The agreement between Firestone and the federal government calls on the tiremaker to replace all 500's built before May 1, 1976 and purchased after Sept. 1, 1975 with the newer Firestone 721 steel-belted radial.
In addition, the recall will cover similar tires made by Firestone during the same period, for automobile manufacturers to use as original equipment. Those tires are known as Firestone TPC's.
Also covered are several private brand tires made by Firestone, including the Shell "Super Steel Radial," the Montgomery Ward "Grappler 8,000," the K-Mart 40 steel radial, the Union steel radial; Atlas Golden Aire II, Dayton radial XS2 and the following Seiberling Tire Co. brands: Ferraria radial; JTW Super steel power radials; Caravelle Super steel radials; Zenith Supreme Power radials; LaMons steel radials; RT78 steel-belted radials and the Caravelle Double Steel radial.
A Firestone spokesman said, however, that some of those firms will be setting up their own mechanism to replace their tires. Details, the spokesman said, will be released in mass media advertising within the next few weeks.