A North Carolina company has issued a voluntary recall nationwide for nearly 2 million tire valve stems made in China because some of them may crack due to a faulty rubber compound, causing the tire to lose pressure.
We've been writing about these faulty tire valves, distributed by Dill Air Controls Products of Oxford, NC, for several months now. The snap-in rubber valve stems were manufactured by Topseal (Shanghai) Auto-Parts Co., Ltd., in Shanghai, China, and imported and distributed by Dill under the Dill ACP brand name.
Dill has concluded that the problem relates to two specific lots manufactured in July 2006. Based on field returns and testing data, Dill believes that the number of valves from the two suspect lots subject to increased risk of cracking is 200,000 or fewer. However, the valve stems are not traceable by lot number once the stem is installed. Because of that the recall necessarily includes many more valves than are likely to contain the defect. Consumers who are unsure if their current valve stems were purchased during the recall period should have their valves inspected. Dill ACP valve stems from this time period that exhibit cracks will be replaced at no cost to the consumer, the company says.
The suspect valves have a cap with the "Dill" name stamped on the top. Dill has put photos of the suspect tire valve stems online, as well as instructions for inspecting the stems.
If consumers are unable to return to the point of purchase, they can have their valves inspected at any participating Sears Automotive Center, Tire Kingdom, Big O Tires, Les Schwab Tire Centers, NTB or Merchant's Tire, according to Dill. Additional information is available by calling 888-364-2982.
The isn't the first we've highlighted problems with tire valves made by Topseal. In October, we reported that Federal safety regulators had opened an official investigation on faulty tire valves that may have been installed as original equipment on more than one million 2007 Ford cars and trucks. And in June we wrote that as many as 30 million valve stems were implicated in an earlier federal investigation.
Dill and Topseal say they have taken numerous corrective actions to prevent a recurrence of this problem, including using an enhanced rubber compound, employing an automated inspection system to ensure all additives are mixed properly, performing more testing of the valves in the United States, and re-establishing production of valve stems in the U.S.