Drivers: Beware This Dangerous Tire Defect

Before you head off to your Thanksgiving destination this week, Carmen offered an important warning about potentially millions of tires – possibly the very ones on your car. Lisa Parker, investigative reporter from WMAQ, the NBC-owned station in Chicago, filed a report looking into defective valve stems – those little pieces of rubber where you inflate the tire.

It turns out a defective batch of valve stems was shipped from a Chinese company and could be on hundreds of thousands of vehicles. But it’s impossible to track these parts, Parker found, and most drivers have not been directly notified that they could be riding on a potentially lethal defective piece of equipment. The only way to find out if the stems in question are on your tires is to look. Fortunately, the problem is visible to the naked eye and you can tell if your valve stems are defective if they are cracked.

If you’ve had your tires changes anytime since August 2006, or if you own a 2007 Ford, then you should immediately check to see if your have the defective parts. If so, many tire shops offer free replacement services, Parker said. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has also opened an investigation into the defective parts according to Parker’s report.

But everyone should be checking their tires anyway, according to Phil Reed of Edmunds.com. Tire safety is largely overlooked, he said, but extremely important. Always check the inflation level, which can be connected to the valve stem issue, and be cautious of low tire pressure which can lead to blowouts.