Continental Tire North America Inc. said it is recalling 595,000 of its ContiTrac AW and General Grabber AW tires that were original equipment on 2000-01 model year, two-wheel-drive versions of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport-utility vehicles.
The tires were produced between March 1999 and October 2000 and furnished as original equipment on 106,701 vehicles.
However, Continental added that roughly 60,000 of the tires are in the replacement market. Continental said consumers will receive free replacements, which could cost the company an estimated $20 million.
"Ford Motor Company has been fully informed of this action," said Mark Sowka, vp original equipment, Continental Tire North America, "We have been working in close cooperation with Ford to ensure an efficient implementation."
Continental and Ford discovered the problems thanks to a provision in the Transportation Recall Efficiency, Accountability and Documentation (TREAD) Act that requires companies to better track defects.
"These early-warning systems enabled us to swiftly identify a potential problem and bring it to a quick resolution," Ford vp – environmental and safety engineering Sue Cischke said in a statement. "We are working closely with Continental to get our customers replacement tires as soon as possible."
Continental told the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in a letter dated Monday that it had learned of several incidents of property damage, minor injuries and at least one fatal accident. That incident was in May in Barstow, PA, and six deaths were reported.
The recall comes almost two years to the day after Bridgestone /Firestone was forced to replace 6.5-million Firestone-brand tires, most of which were original equipment on Ford Explorer SUVs.