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Faulty Chinese tire valve could spark recall of 30 million tires

by Drew Johnson

China doesn't have the most stellar track record for product design or quality, which, unfortunately, is beginning to leak into the automotive industry. Chinese cars are notorious for their poor crash ratings but, thanks to government regulations, U.S. citizens have been protected from Chin's four-wheeled death traps. However, Chinese car components are making it to the U.S. market, the most recent of which could result in the recall of 30 million tires.

Following a rollover crash that took the life of one Florida resident, investigators discovered that the accident was the result of a faulty tire valve. The valve was found to crack prematurely, which, as in the case of the Florida accident, could cause the tire to completely fail, according to Consumer Reports.

Investigators tracked the faulty valve back to Dill Air Control Products of Oxford, North Carolina. Although Dill Air distributed the tire valve, the faulty product had actually originally been sourced from Chin's Shanghai Baolong Industries Co.

In all, as many as 30 million tires distributed through North America could be affected, prompting the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to launch an investigation.

However, tracking down the faulty values is no easy task: The values can only be identified by completely removing the tire from the rim. Moreover, tire retails don't keep records of what valves went on what cars. "Once they are out of the box and on a vehicle there is no tracking for these products so you can't notify owners," Sean Kane, president of Safety Research and Strategies, told Consumer Reports.

Anyone who has purchased new tires since July 2006 is urged to have their tires checked by a professional.