Under pressure from safety officials, Goodyear has finally agreed to recall about 173,000 G159 tires, which were commonly used on RVs, because the tires have a high risk of blowouts and tread separation.
From 1998 to 2015, at least 95 people were either killed or injured in crashes resulting from the faulty tires, according to safety officials.
Federal investigators also allege that Goodyear knew the recalled RV tires could fail and cause catastrophic accidents, often at highway speeds, but the company refused to recall the tires for 20 years.
Just months ago, Goodyear again rejected demands to recall the tires, until the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) threatened a public hearing and court action if a recall was not issued.
Last week, the NHTSA announced a recall for about 173,000 of Goodyear’s 22.5-inch-diameter G159 tires (size 275/70R22.5).
The tire was introduced in 1996 for start-and-stop city delivery vehicles, with a maximum speed limit of 65 mph. But later, they were installed as original equipment on thousands of big motorhomes, including many Fleetwood and American Tradition RVs from the 1990s.
Unlike delivery vehicles, RVs are heavy vehicles that drive at highway speeds for long periods of time, which causes the tires to get extremely hot. In the event of a tire blowout or tread separation at high speed, the RV can suddenly swerve off the road or into traffic.
In August 1996, Goodyear’s own engineers found that the tires could get dangerously hot at speeds above 50 mph, increasing the risk of a tire blowout, or tread separation. Goodyear also began receiving reports of tire failures causing crashes resulting in injuries and death.
Goodyear still insists that there is no safety defect, and that the responsibility is with RV companies who used the tires.
Even so, Goodyear said it will replace the recalled RV tires for free. Goodyear also offered $500 in exchange for G159 tires not on RVs.