Late last week GTC North America, Inc. and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) announced the recall of 12,289 Advance Extra Grip AR215 light truck tires. “Light truck” refers to any motor vehicle with a combined curb and payload weight of 8,500 pounds or less and includes pickup trucks, vans, minivans, and sport utility vehicles.
Some of these tires may have been manufactured with an air bubble in the sidewall, which can cause blistering that could create tread chunking and a loss of air. This has the potential to cause a dangerous loss of vehicle control and crash risk.
Tread chunking occurs when small tire pieces are ripped off the tread. According to NHTSA, this form of tire failure is infrequently seen and stems from a manufacturing or quality control problem. The NHTSA document further explains that states with higher average temperatures see more tire failures, possibly because the rate of chemical aging is accelerated in these states.
GTC, the tire manufacturer, was notified of this tire failure risk after NHTSA tested three tires and witnessed high speed failure with one and endurance failure in the other two. According to their notice to NHTSA, they were told of these findings on December 5 of last year and were unaware of any defect before this time.
The Canton, Ohio-based manufacturer also notes that they no longer manufacture this or any other tire like it. This line was discontinued by Guizhou Trye in December 2009.
GTC explains in their letter to NHTSA that they have received no warranty claims, customer complaints, or reports of injury or death due to the use of this tire. Nevertheless, these tires fail to comply with Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard No. 139, “New Pneumatic Radial Tires for Light Vehicles,” necessitating their removal from the market.
NHTSA explains this recall is expected to begin this month and the manufacturer will notify owners and replace the recalled tires free of charge. This free replacement will also include mounting and balancing, if needed.