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I just viewed your web site where you were posting information from individual customers and consumers of Ford and Firestone. I have decided to send you a copy of my original complaint I sent to Ford and Firestone and some of the initial reply information I received back. Needless to say I have made numerous inquiries back to both companies and have been going in circles ever since. Bottom line I believe that the P 255 R70 16 inch original equipment tires on my Explorer were defective and by reviewing the numerous complaints posted I am lucky to be alive. I did replace the tires and have kept them and the receipts for the future. I offered both Ford and Firestone to have the tires analyzed for defects and neither wanted to even document the complaint. My assumption is that both would rather see dead bodies after the fact than to analyze cracks, slits and bumps before the fact and save lives. Thanks for the ability to post my story. I hope you are making this real data to NHTSA as it appears to be the only organization that wants to get the real facts albeit a little late.

The Letter to Ford:

On August 23rd I took my 1995 Ford Explorer to my dealer where I bought it, to inspect the original equipment Firestone tires do to the recall publicity. I called in advance and indicated that my tire size was not part of the announced recall but when I looked at them I had noticed that the one on the front left had a 6-7 inch crack or slit on the sidewall just below the tread. The remaining tires had no large cracks but on the edge of the outside tire tread there were hairline cracks at the base of every tire lug or tread. I travel 90 miles per day on the Pennsylvania Turnpike and was concerned. I was told to stop in for an inspection. My dealer is Bill Marsh Ford in Newtown Pennsylvania. The assistant service manager looked at my tires and stated that they weren't sure what caused the crack on the front tire but they felt it would not be safe to drive with the damage. I asked about the remaining tires and was told that it could be the remaining cracks were from "dryrot". I asked why would that be the case since I still had about a 3 rating on the tires and would expect to drive another 3-5000 miles before I would be concerned about replacing them. I was told that they had no answers to those questions and couldn't and would not do anything about the tires and that I should take the problems to Firestone. I indicated I understood that these tires were not part of the recall but felt Ford should be aware of the problem just in case. These tires were P255-R70 16 in size and three of the tires had the DOT number VNCU1PL and one had the DOT number ST-358-J. The tire with the large crack was on of the VNCU1PL tires. The Ford dealership made no official report

and did not provide me with any written copies of the inspection. I find it hard to believe after I watch the CEO of Ford come on a T.V and claim they are interested in the safety of their customers first and foremost when all I got was that they wouldn't drive on the tire and they weren't sure why the other cracks were there but I should take them to firestone as they could do nothing else. They didn't even try to offer me a quote on new tires even though Ford has advertised they are in the retail tire business.
Is this the way to show concern for the safety of your customers.

You should know that Ford was not the only company who professes that safety is the main concern and then acts as if it is money and company survival that really counts. That same day I called the Firestone Hot line number and after a long time talked to a representative. I once again informed them that my tires were not part of the announced recall ones but they had some serious cracks and I was afraid to drive on them. I was instructed to go to my nearest Firestone dealer and have them inspected.

I did that the very same day after I had no success at Ford. I drove to the Firestone Dealership located at the Oxford Valley Mall in Langhorne, Pennsylvania. When I arrived I again explained that my tires were 16 inch tires and apparently made in the Canada and Jolliet plants. I was immediately told there was nothing they could do since they were not part of the recall. They hadn't even looked at the tires. I told them I had been instructed by Firestone to have them checked. At that point the service technician agreed to look at the tires. He seemed concerned when he saw the tire with the large crack and immediately said I must have hit something. I told him I certainly didn't remember doing so. He looked at the remaining tires and said that I had a lot of miles on them and they had outlived their "useful life span. I asked why he felt that way since I had useful tread life remaining on the tires. I asked why tires would have the hairline cracks. I was told that tires age and I should know that. I was suspicious of this answer as I have always taken care of the tire and religiously rotated and balanced them at the specified times. I also ran them at 31psi. I was not pleased with the answers but thanked the technician and asked that he write an inspection report to have a record for myself and so Firestone could have a record as well. At that point he flatly refused to do so and I asked why. He said they were so busy they didn't have time to write up such inspections.At the time there were only 4 customers in the store and they were in the waiting area. I asked to see the manager who said the same thing and also refused to put anything in writing about my complaint. Once again when I see Firestone executives and representatives extolling their concern for safety and asking for people who want to widen the recall to consider the facts I wonder whose facts.

When you don't collect the data you can't report it. If you don't report it you can make the facts look like whatever you what. I am not a great fan of Government agencies but at least they are trying to capture all the facts.

I did not ask for anything I wasn't entitled to I just wanted to know why my tires were cracked and if they were safe. I am interested in saving my life or those of others. It seems to me that Ford and Firestone are interested in saving their reputations and money and the only way they will widen the recall is to show them the bodies not the cracks. I certainly hope I am wrong but the "facts" will ultimately come out. I suggest you both try to obtain all the facts and report them before more people die.

For your information I immediately had the tires in question replaced that day.You can probably figure out they weren't firestone. The place I bought my new tires said they had also seen numerous Firestone Wilderness AT tires with cracking problems but the owners were also told by Ford and Firestone they were not part of the recall and nothing could be done. I'm surethesereports were never documented either.They also indicated the front tire with the large crack was in serious condition and could fail at anytime.

They felt the tread was beginning to separate. I have kept the tires and feel strongly Firestone will see them again.

Since neither Ford or Firestone have any intentions on reporting these complaints I have sent copies to NHTSA, the Center For Auto Safety and Strategic Safety Organization. Lest you think I am one of those crazy people who complain all the time this is the First time in my life I have taken the time to do this. I don't want to see the death of my wife or daughters or friends be the "facts to get you to do the right thing.

The Response from Ford:

Dear Charles,

Thank you for contacting Ford Motor Company on 09/01/00 at 8:44:05 AM.

We appreciate the time you have taken to write us regarding the Firestone tire recall.

Ford Motor Company has worked closely with Firestone to thoroughly investigate tire tread separation concerns. As we have repeatedly stated, we are absolutely committed to doing the right thing to protect our customers and to maintain their trust.

An analysis of field data by both companies and reviewed with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicates that tires being recalled account for the overwhelming majority of tread separation failures reported on Firestone tires.

After extensive review of the data, we are satisfied that Firestone has isolated the affected population of tires that should be recalled. We believe that the Wilderness AT produced since 1996 at Firestone's Aiken, S.C.(DOT code 8X); Joliette, Que.(DOT code VN); Oklahoma City, O.K.(DOT code HY); and Wilson, N.C.(DOT code W2) plants have an outstanding safety record. We have confidence in Wilderness AT tires produced at these plants.

Ford continues to work with NHTSA and Firestone to evaluate all tires in concern.

At Ford Motor Company, we consider the satisfaction of our customers as one of our most important objectives. If you have any other inquiries or concerns, please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to address them.

Thank you for contacting Ford Motor Company.

Sincerely,

Kathy
Ford Motor Company
Customer Relationship Center



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