A deadly rollover auto crash in Florida prompted a federal investigation and recall of 6 million tire valve stems after investigators alleged the accident was caused by a cracked stem, according to a report published in Lawyers USA. The recalled product was manufactured in China by Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corp. between July 2006 and November 2006. There could be as many as 36 million of the potentially defective stems currently in use on a variety of automobiles.
The investigation revealing the valve stem defects resulted from a lawsuit filed by the widow of Robert Monk, of Orlando, Fla., who was killed last November when the right rear tire of his 1998 Ford Explorer failed, causing a rollover crash, Lawyers USA reports. Although the tires on Monk’s vehicle had been inspected two months prior to the accident, a large strip of the tire came off while he was driving on the highway, according to his attorney. This is a result of underinflation, which allows the metal rim of the tire to dig into the rubber.
Dill Air Control Products of Oxford, N.C., the U.S. distributor of the valve stems, notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration of the potential problem as a result of the Florida lawsuit. In May, the company issued an advisory to tire retailers about problems with surface cracks on the outside of the valve stem near the rim hole, and asked retailers to return all valve stems manufactured in 2006 and to inspect valve stems installed from September 2006 through June 2007.
Because of the large number of valve stems in circulation, they could be on any number of automobiles and are extremely difficult to track, according to the Lawyers USA report.