Ken Paxton
Consumer Protection

Texans Urged to Check for Potentially Dangerous Tires Distributed by Foreign Tire Sales, Inc.

Foreign Tire Sales, Inc. (FTS), in accordance with the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act, today issued a recall of tires that could be in danger of tread separation. The Office of the Attorney General is urging Texas drivers to check their vehicles for these potentially dangerous tires and contact FTS to learn more about replacing the recalled products.

The recalled tires were made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co. Ltd. (“HZ”) in China and distributed in the United States under several names, including Westlake, YKS and Compass. The tires were sold from 2004 to 2006 for light trucks, sports utility vehicles, and vans.

According to FTS, the U.S. distributor, at least 270,000 tires may have insufficient or missing “gum strips,” an important safety feature on certain tires that helps prevent tread separation. More than 50,000 of the potentially unsafe tires are believed to have been sold in Texas.

Consumers should immediately check the sidewalls of their tires for the brand name, size, model, and U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) number. Tires subject to today’s recall bear the DOT number “FTS” as part of the number.

Consumers who own any of these tires should immediately contact FTS toll-free at (888) 899-9293 or online at FTS may require consumers to complete a questionnaire and present it to a local dealer to obtain replacement tires. Consumers who own these tires should avoid driving for long distances on hot roads. Contact FTS to locate the closest tire shop or mechanic participating in the recall.

In most cases, consumers should not be charged to replace the defective tires. Check the FTS Web site or hotline for additional information.

Specific tire sizes and models affected:

• LT235/75R-15 CR861, CR857 (Partial D.O.T. Number: 7DT5FTS)
• LT235/85R-16 CR860, CR861, CR857 (Partial D.O.T. Number: 7DT2FTS)
• LT245/75R-16 CR860, CR861, CR857 (Partial D.O.T. Number: CR857)
• LT265/75R-16 CR860, CR861, CR857 (Partial D.O.T. Number: 7DT4FTS)
• LT31X10.5R-15 CR861, CR857 (Partial D.O.T. Number: 7DT6FTS)

As part of general tire safety, consumers should keep the following tips in mind:

• Inspect tires at least once a month and before every long trip for patterns of uneven wear. Check tire inflation pressure in accordance with manufacturer recommendations.

• Do not overload your vehicle. Excess weight can place extra stress on your tires. Check your tire placard or vehicle owner’s manual for the maximum amount of weight your vehicle can safely carry.

• Develop safe driving habits. Observe speed limits and avoid fast stops, starts, and turns. Avoid contact with potholes, debris, and curbs when driving or parking your vehicle.

• Keep your vehicle properly maintained. Rotate tires regularly, get wheels balanced, and get a front-end alignment if necessary.

• Use the proper tires for your vehicle. Check the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations before replacing a tire with a different size and/or construction.

• Be aware of how the outside temperature affects your tires. Hot weather can be especially hard on tires.

• Have any tire problems checked out by professionals. If you find that one of your tires is losing pressure, take it to a tire expert for a complete internal inspection.

• Avoid buying used tires. You might be getting previously recalled or otherwise dangerous tires.

ABOUT CONSUMER ALERTS - The Office of the Attorney General accepts consumer complaints about businesses. When a pattern of complaints warrants intervention, the Attorney General can file a civil lawsuit under consumer protection statutes, sometimes with the result that a company is required to pay restitution to consumers -- see our Major Lawsuits page. However, when a consumer is swindled by a con artist, filing a complaint cannot help. Civil litigation can sometimes put a very unscrupulous business out of action, but often cannot produce restitution.

Individual con artists generally fall under the jurisdiction of a criminal prosecutor -- in Texas, this is the district or county attorney. But even when they are charged and convicted, these individuals usually have spent the money as fast as they have stolen it. A person who is the victim of fraud should report the incident to the police or sheriff. But by far the best thing is for consumers to be aware of fraud, so they are not swindled in the first place. For this reason, the Office of the Attorney General posts these Consumer Alerts about possible scams and schemes that come to our attention through citizen contacts to our office or other sources.