The federal government has opened an investigation into whether faulty Chinese-made valve stems could lead to tire failures and potentially serious car accidents. If the investigation triggers a recall, it could affect as many as 30 million vehicles.
Consumer Reports explains, "Cracks in valve stems can cause tires to lose air quickly, and such air loss at highway speeds can result in tire failure and a loss-of-control crash." The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration believes that "as many as 30 million of the suspected valve stems have been distributed in the North American market," since 2006. The suspected valves were distributed by Dill Air Control Products.
Unfortunately, it's very difficult to determine whether or not your vehicle might be affected. The valve stems may be installed on tires from any tire manufacturer. Jalopnik reports, " Identifying a defective valve stem is simple: Dismount each tire from its rim and check. That's right, folks: There's no outward marking to identify the defective valve stems, nor was any tracking system in place to determine who may or may not have received one."
Techno-fandom.org posts photos of the affected stems, which include the Dill TR-413, TR-413 chrome, TR-414 and TR-418 models -- but you have to remove the tires and the valve stems themselves to identify whether you own one of the affected models -- something many consumers may not be able to do on their own, but a tire shop can do for you. Price estimates vary widely.
We'll post updates if the government decides to order a recall of the affected parts.
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