LIHU’E — Steve Takahashi, general manager of Pacific Service & Development
Corporation (PS&D), the island’s Firestone tire dealer, is concerned with
the public’s safety, and the media’s sensationalizing the unfortunate
circumstances and scaring the general public, regarding the voluntary safety
recall of certain Firestone tires.
While thousands of the size P235/75R15
tires in the ATX and ATX II and Wilderness AT models are being voluntarily
recalled worldwide, and some 88 deaths have been reported attributed to tire
failure in these models, the fact is that only three complaints have been filed
from Hawai’i regarding those tires, and no deaths have occurred here.
thinks there are many reasons for the failure of these certain Firestone tires
on the Mainland: Improper inflation, excessive speeds on Mainland highways
(where in places 75 miles per hour is the speed limit), high temperatures in
the Mainland states where the failures have occurred, and heavily loaded
vehicles associated with family vacations.
Many of the affected tires are
standard equipment on Ford trucks and sport utility vehicles, but Ford
recommends a 26 pounds per square inch (psi) inflation pressure Takahashi feels
is too low.
Firestone recommends 30 psi, he said.
improper inflation theory, Takahashi said that many drivers are using
self-serve or gas-and-go service stations for their gas needs, so regular
checks of tire pressure don’t normally take place any more.
recall has slowed Firestone tire sales a bit and caused PS&D’s tire
department the inconvenience of handling nearly 200 calls from concerned
Firestone owners, Takahashi said he has no intention of abandoning the
Firestone tire line.
“The tires are good tires,” he said. “But tires are
not indestructable. They need maintenance,” he noted. “The atire pressure
should be checked regularly, and visual inspections of the tires should be done
to check for improper wear due to misalignment, and for scrapes and cuts due to
hitting potholes and curbs.
“Just as a car engine needs to be checked for
oil levels, radiators need to be checked for water, cooling system hoses need
checked and brake systems sometimes need brake fluid, tires also need to be
checked and maintained periodically,” he advised.
“Unfortunately, tires are
usually taken for granted, and maintenance is neglected.” Takahashi urges
Kaua’i drivers to inspect their tires regularly, for safety’s
PS&D stands ready to replace tires affected by the recall. Where
the Wilderness AT model is concerned, only that model’s tires from the
Decauter, Ill., manufacturing plant are subject to the recall.
tires are all designed for trucks and sport utility vehicles, and are designed
for on- and off-road uses. “People with sedans shouldn’t be concerned,” because
the recalled tires won’t fit on sedans unless the sedans have been modified, he
Takahashi takes safety concerns seriously, so when a concerned
customer comes in, the PS&D staff looks at the tires, checks for correct
pressure, and if the tires are ones impacted by the recall, they’ll check U.S.
Department of Transportation serial numbers on the tires.
If the tires are
subject to the recall, the customer will be put on a list and be called when
replacement tires are in. Or customers can go to another dealer and have
replacement tires mounted on their vehicles.
Recalled tires must be turned
in to PS&D, with customers required to fill out forms to get reimbursement
for replacement expenses directly from Firestone, Takahashi
PS&D has been cutting holes in and scraping DOT numbers off
of recalled tires before shipping them to Firestone on the Mainland. Of the
nearly 200 calls PS&D has received regarding Firestone tires, probably half
of them may have the recalled models, he said.
To confirm, people have to
come in to PS&D. Firestone hopes to have the nationwide recall program
completed by the early part of next year, Takahashi said.
Around 20 people
who did not want to wait for Firestone replacement tires have had Goodyear
tires put on their vehicles at Tire Warehouse, reports owner Sharron
Tire Warehouse has the Firestone recall forms, which along with the
recalled tires must be processed at PS&D, she said.