NASHVILLE, Tenn. (March 1)—Federal regulators have connected six accidents causing five fatalities and 20 injuries to the Load Range D Firestone Steeltex light truck tires being recalled by Bridgestone/Firestone but have discovered no consistent mode of failure.
BFS is recalling approximately 297,000 tires, in size LT265/75R16, that were original equipment on all 2000-2002 and some 2003 Ford Excursion full-size sport-utility vehicles. BFS said it produced about 490,000 of these tires at its Joliette, Quebec, plant.
"In some cases, it's tread separation; in some cases, it's sidewall failure," according to a National Highway Traffic Safety Administration spokesman. "In other cases, it's a good old-fashioned blowout."
BFS said the tires are more prone to fail when the tire is underinflated and the vehicle is overloaded or driven at excessive speeds.
"In those situations, the tire is not meeting our expectations for performance," according to a company spokesman, who said BFS has not identified the problem, if any, with the tires.
BFS and NHTSA said early warning data generated by new federal reporting requirements triggered the tire maker to launch the recall.