U.S. tire importer Foreign Tire Sales (FTS) has requested assistance from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in recalling roughly 500,000 light-truck tires produced by Hangzhou Rubber Company, a Chinese tire manufacturing company, according to a Vehicle Service Pros article. In the recall notice, FTS explained that a gum strip defect in these tires cause tread separation. Hangzhou tire blowouts have caused drivers to lose control and crash. Some accidents have been fatal.

A Consumer Reports news brief reports that Hangzhou Rubber Company tires were sold from 2004 to 2006 for use in vans, sports utility vehicles, and pickup trucks. Please scroll down to see a list of known distributors, brand names, and vehicle models.

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Fatal Accidents, Tire Tests Prompt Recall of Light-Truck Tires 

Starting in 2004, Hangzhou Rubber Company produced light-truck tires, which are colloquially referred to as “China Bombs.” According to Consumer Reports and Vehicle Service Pros, at least some were sold through the following distributors and the brand names:

Brand Names: 

  • Westlake
  • Chaoyang
  • Goodride
  • Arisun
  • Trazano
  • AKS
  • YKS
  • Telluride
  • Compass

Distributors:

  • Foreign Tire Service
  • Tire Co., Inc.
  • Strategic Import Supply, Wayzata, Minn.
  • Omni United USA, Inc., Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Orteck International, Inc. of Gaithersburg, Md.
  • K&D Tire Wholesalers LLC, Carlsbad, Calif.
  • Robinson Tire in Laurel, Miss.

 

 

In addition, some models, such as Grand Design RVs/Trailers, may have Hangzhou tires installed as “OEM,” meaning original equipment manufacturer or the default built-in tires. The Grand Design Momentum is one such model.

In 2005, Hangzhou Rubber Company noticed an uptick in the failure rate of their tires. Then, the tires blew out in several high-profile fatal crashes, resulting in a lawsuit against New Jersey importer Foreign Tire Sales (“FTS”). FTS conducted their own tests on the Hangzhou tires and found that they were lacking enough gum strip to prevent tread separation failure, causing tires to shred. This is the timeline of events as reported by Service Vehicle Pros.

Tire Identification Numbers and Failure Mileage

Service Vehicle Pros also states that Hangzhou has not provided information such as tire identification numbers. This is why the number of tires issued for recall has increased from 255,000 in 2007 to 500,000 at the end of 2019. Unaccounted-for Hangzhou tires may still be on the market or on the roads.

According to recent consumer complaints posted on VehicleTire.com, the range of tire failure mileages, or the distance traveled before the tires failed, spans between as high as 226,000 miles and as low as 1,000 miles.

There are nearly half a million of these substandard tires out there, unbeknownst to consumers ... This was a tragedy that didn't have to happen, but hopefully we can prevent future fatal crashes.

Jeffrey B. Killino, representing the families of the deceased and injured, in an interview with Vehicle Service Pros 

Unfortunately, we saw during the Ford Explorer-Firestone tire scandal how deadly a defective tire can be — especially if it is paired with a light truck. It is important that consumers are notified immediately, retailers and wholesalers stop selling them, and they are removed from vehicles until we get some answers.

Sean E. Kane, President of Safety Research & Strategies, in an interview with Vehicle Service Pros

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