Tech International, one U.S. distributor of Chinese-made valve stems, issued a massive recall of approximately 6 million “Replacement Snap-In Tire Valve Stems.” The stem has been tentatively linked to at least one fatal rollover crash of an SUV in Orlando, Florida.
The valve stems were made for Dill Air Control Products of Oxford, N.C., by Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. in China. The National Highway Traffic Safety administration has opened an investigation of Dill Air Controls Products, which manufactured approximately 30 million of the Dill TR400 Series tire valves in 2006. Per the NHTS report, the “tire valves can crack and leak air. A leaking tire valve could result in tire deflation, tire damage (e.g. overheating, rupture) and possible vehicle control problems.”
Consumers should check their tires to make sure they do not contain the rubber replacement tire valve stems. This is especially important if you have had a tire replaced since July 2006.
Unfortunately, that is easier said then done because once a valve stem has been installed the only way to check to see if it is in fact one of the defective models is to completely dismount the tire from the wheel and check it from the inside. Also, most service centers do not keep records of any valve stems they may have installed on a vehicle. Once they are out of the box and on a vehicle there is no tracking, so customers can’t be notified.
Eugene Petersen, program leader for tire testing at Consumer Reports, says, “At a minimum, motorists should conduct a visual inspection of their valve stems. To do this, remove the hubcap and move the top of the stem around, checking for any signs of cracks in the base of the stem where it meets the wheel. Ideally, the consumer should have the tire removed from the wheel and checked by a professional to make sure the valve is not one of the defective models.”
Below is a list of the model numbers your mechanic should look for: