According to Continental, a total of 390,657 tires present the risk of tread separation and need to be replaced. In the letter sent to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the tire maker said that it was informed of one injury and one fatality caused by the problem.
Most of the tires being recalled by Continental (the official figures say 330,360 units) have been fitted as original equipment on Ford F-250 and F-350 Super Duty trucks manufactured in between 2008 and 2009. The rest have been sold as replacement tires.
The seriousness of the problem is acknowledged by the NHTSA, who, together with Continental, described how the thread separation occurs.
"Some of these tires may experience uneven wear, vibration, or particularly under conditions of overloading or under inflection in high ambient temperature usage, separation between the belt edges. Separation of the belt edges could lead to tread belt separation, increasing the risk of a crash."
The problem, which so far seems to be contained, might grow out of proportions, as Continental admits it has no way of knowing how many of the tires...contain this performance issue (for additional details, contact Continental at 888 799-2168).
This week's recall marks the second time in 20 years that Ford is hit by problems with one of its tire suppliers. The previous one, Firestone, was sacked by Ford in the beginning of the new millennium, after the tires supplied caused the car maker's SUVs to roll over.