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Ford Offers To Inspect, Repair Faulty Tire Valve Stem on 1 Million Vehicles

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Despite fears that defective tire valve stems could be putting driver and passengers in some of their vehicles at risk, Ford will not be issuing a recall. Rather, the company will be offering free dealer inspections, and will replace  tire valves free of charge when necessary.

The Ford tire valve stems, which were made by a Chinese firm called TopSeal Automotive, have the potential to crack.  In such a case, they could cause a tire to deflate or rupture, resulting in a crash. Several accidents, including some that resulted in fatalities, have been blamed on such valve stem failures. 

The tire valve stems have already been the subject of an investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA). The NHTSA launched its investigation after it received 37 complaints of faulty valve stems.  At least 23 of those reports involved one valve that was “severely cracked or cracked and leaking” according to NHTSA. In 11 of the complaints, the tire lost inflation and had to be replaced after being damaged.

The NHTSA closed its probe earlier this month.  However, the agency said in a statement that “the closing of this investigation does not constitute a finding by NHTSA that a safety-related defect does not exist”.

Ford says it will be sending letters next month offering owners of affected vehicles  dealer inspection. Any valve showing evidence of  cracking will be replaced free of charge.  The letters will be sent to approximately one million vehicle owners.

Ford is also warning vehicle owners to maintain proper air pressure in their tires and examine the valve stems for any sign of fatigue or damage. The company has also added valve stem inspection to its recommended tire maintenance suggestions and to its “Multi-Point Inspections” performed by dealers.

Vehicles eligible for valve inspection and replacement include:  some 2007-2008 model year MKZs, Escapes, Mariners, Expeditions, F150s, Montegos, Sables, Focus, Crown Victorias, Grand Marquis, Rangers, Edges, MKXs, Navigators, Fusions, Milans, Mark LTs, Five Hundreds, Taurus, Mustangs, Sport Tracs, Mountaineers and Explorers; some 2007 model year Freestars and Freestyles; and some 2008 Ford Taurus Xs.

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