WASHINGTON (Oct. 22, 2008) — The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has opened a preliminary evaluation into more than 1 million Topseal snap-in tire valve stems made as original equipment for Ford Motor Co.
NHTSA's Office of Defects Investigation so far has received 37 complaints of cracked and leaking tire valves in Ford vehicles from the 2007 model year. Twenty-three of the complaints said more than one tire on the involved vehicles were affected, and 11 said the resulting tire damage was bad enough to mandate tire replacement.
The affected models are spread across Ford's entire vehicle fleet, including Explorers, F-150s, Mustangs and Focuses among many other models.
A Ford spokesman said the auto maker is cooperating fully with NHTSA but has discovered in its internal investigation that the incidence of cracking and leaking related to the Topseal valve stems is low. The spokesman said he could not quantify the level of damage, either numerically or percentage-wise.