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Mikal C. Watts
Mikal C. Watts
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Contaminated Rubber Causes Tire Recalls across Several Brands

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Tire manufactures nationwide have been recalling tires due to potentially contaminated rubber. Cooper Tires and its subsidiaries have recalled eight different tire lines, including other voluntary recalls for “non-standard” rubber which was accidentally mixed in to the specialized tire tread rubber at a plant in Texarkana, Arkansas. This accidental mix has increased the danger of tread separation in vehicles equipped with the contaminated tires, and affected a total of 10,236 tires according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administrations (NHTSA)

In a release by the NHTSA, Cooper tires has determined that the tread machine responsibile for this contamination was being used for a “project” tire and was not properly cleaned after use, stating: "…on December 12, 2011 and again on January 4, 2012 a project extrusion was run on the tread line. When completed, the extruder head was not properly converted back to production configuration which resulted in a small amount of non-standard stock being "mixed" with the specified tread stock. Based upon our review of production data, we estimate that a small percentage of tread was suspect and used to produce tires."

Although the project tire is the official cause of the contamination, many other factors may contribute to such contamination, including lack of quality control, poor management and upkeep of facilities, and negligent employees.

Productions of the tires range from December 2011 through January 2012, with the following tires potentially affected:

Cooper Discover H/T, size LT235/85R16Cooper Discover H/T, size P26570R17Cooper Discover LSX, size 265/70R17Cooper Mastercraft Courser HTR, size LT235/85R16Del-Nat Delta A/S Sierradial, size 265/70R17Del-Nat National A/S Commando, size 265/70R17Pep Boys Definity Dakota H/T, size P265/70R17TBC Sigma Stampede Radial SUV, size P265/70R17

All owners who received contaminated tires will be notified of the recall, have their tires replaced free of charge, and will receive a free mounting and balancing from the place of installation. Owners affected by this recall (NHTSA Campaign ID Number 12T010000) can call Cooper’s Consumer Relations Department at (800) 854-6288.

If you or someone you know has been hurt in a motor vehicle accident, a defective tire may have caused or contributed to the accident, or may have worsened injuries. You should contact an experienced tire defect and automotive product liability lawyer to get more information.