WASHINGTON (May 25)—Ford Motor Co. has quietly slipped a paragraph into the tire safety section of its vehicle owners' manual and company Web site, advising Ford owners to replace their tires after six years, regardless of mileage.
DaimlerChrysler A.G. will give the same advice to its customers beginning with the 2006 model year, according to a DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman. A Ford spokesman said the company based its decision on its ongoing tire safety research, while the DaimlerChrysler spokeswoman said her company's talks with a number of tire manufacturers confirmed its decision to give the six-year recommendation.
A spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, however, said no tire maker would say the six-year recommendation was a good idea. "I can't imagine that happening," he said. "That doesn't make sense. Ford has never shared any (tire aging) data with us that we know of, and the same with DaimlerChrysler."
The RMA and its tire manufacturing members have said consistently that there are too many variables in tire aging to give a hard-and-fast expiration date, and have fought legislation that would arbitrarily create one.