Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has admitted that it offered free replacement tires to
some customers, but said it was not part of a practice known as a “silent recall.” The Los
Angeles Times reported that Goodyear has received more than 3,000 claims since 1995 about
its light-truck tires and that most of those claims have been settled, with consumers
receiving replacement tires and reimbursements for vehicle damage. Goodyear said it was
simply providing “customer satisfaction” replacements on a case-by-case basis.
Goodyear acknowledged that tread separation involving its 16-inch Load Range E light-truck
tires has been linked to 125 injuries and 15 deaths. There have been reports also
mentioning Load Range D tires, and some RV trailer owners have reported problems with
Goodyear Marathon tire failures. However, Goodyear officials stated that a recall wasn’t
needed because it found no defects in the tires.
A Goodyear spokesman said some consumers
were using vehicles for extraordinary purposes that might be better served by a different
tire. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration said it was expanding its
inquiry into the fatal accidents involving Goodyear’s light-truck tires.