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Goodyear recalls RV tires after government cites multiple deaths

Federal safety investigators said the tires failed more often than other tires

A pedestrian walks past a Goodyear Tire facility in Somerville, Mass. (Brian Snyder/Reuters)

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company is recalling thousands of tires produced between 1996 and 2003 and used on recreational vehicles after federal safety investigators said they failed more often than other tires and resulted in multiple deaths.

After launching an investigation in 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration alleged in a February letter to the company that “[i]t appears that Goodyear was aware of a safety defect in the … tires as early 2002 while the tires were in production but did not file a recall.”

NHTSA said the defect is “a clear, identified failure that leads to a loss of vehicle control, causing crashes and potentially catastrophic consequences such as death and serious injury.”

Goodyear responded to the agency in March, saying there is “no evidence of an actual defect in the tire” and noted that the tire “has likely been out of the market for years.” The company argued it had long been the responsibility of RV makers to issue recalls related to tires chosen for their vehicles.

While Goodyear initially declined NHTSA’s request for a voluntary recall, the company said in a regulatory filing this week it was moving ahead with a recall “to address concerns that some of these tires may still be in the marketplace or in use.”

Goodyear said the “tread separations” were the result of inadequate specifications from motor home manufacturers and “overloading and underinflation common” among motor home drivers. Company representatives did not respond to requests for comment.

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Goodyear said in its filing that 173,237 tires were potentially involved. The company will replace the tires on RVs or pay $500 for tires that haven’t been installed.

The recalled tires are part of Goodyear’s G159 tire line. The affected size is 275/70R22.5, according to the company.

“NHTSA urges anyone who owns, rents, or uses an RV or truck with 22.5-inch rims to ensure these tires are not in use on their vehicle,” the agency said in a statement.