Tire failures can result in catastrophic consequences. Most accidents can be avoided by following the tire manufacturer’s instructions and performing proper maintenance. Unfortunately, defects, both manufacturing and design, are causes of a number of failures. If a defect in the tire caused the failure, the tire manufacturer may be responsible for the harm that is caused
Failures can occur during both operation of the vehicle as well as maintenance of the tire. When a tire fails during operation, the operator can experience a sudden loss of control resulting in vehicle rollover or crash. They also fail during mounting and other maintenance resulting in explosive separation of the tire and the rim. The failed tire/wheel assembly becomes a projectile often seriously injuring or killing the tire mechanic or bystanders.
One type of tire failure is known as tread-belt separation. Tires can catastrophically fail in service when the tire tread and belts detach from the carcass or remaining belts of the tire. Tread belt separation occurs when there is a break down in the adhesion between the steel belts and rubber tread. A number of factors can cause the adhesion between the belt and rubber to fail. Weak or improper compounds, contamination during manufacturing, and other problems can cause the initiation of cracks between the belts and treads. These cracks can continue to develop during the use of the tire. Heat or friction within the tire can speed up this process. Ultimately, this can result in separation and the potential for catastrophic failure of the tire. Under these circumstances, the vehicle can become unstable and difficult to control resulting in vehicle rollover or other terrible consequences.
Public awareness of these accidents has increased as a result of the rise in the number of crashes involving Firestone tires which were equipped on Ford Explorers during the late 1990s. Strong safety concerns surfaced after a number of tread separations allegedly resulted in vehicle rollovers. This prompted a recall of certain Firestone tires.
If you, your family, or your friends are injured as a result of a tire failure, it is important to call an attorney experienced in investigating tire failure. These cases can be complex and expensive and should be handled by an attorney who has experience in this specialty.