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Defective tires from China targeted

Fri., Aug. 3, 2007

OLYMPIA — Attorney General Rob McKenna said Thursday that hundreds of potentially defective tires from China may have been sold in Eastern Washington recently.

He’s urging buyers to go back to tire dealers and have the tires inspected immediately.

“Don’t drive long distances and be careful not to overload your vehicle,” McKenna said Thursday in a written statement warning about the tires.

Officials in two dozen states have issued “consumer alerts” regarding 270,000 tires imported from 2004 to 2006 by New Jersey-based Foreign Tires Sales.

Made by Hangzhou Zhongce Rubber Co., the tires were sold under the brand names Westlake, Compass and YKS. They were designed for sport-utility vehicles, trucks and vans.

McKenna’s office initially said Thursday more than 1,600 of the tires had been sold by retailers in Spokane and Union Gap. Thursday afternoon, the office said it had contacted two of those retailers and both indicated they had neither received nor sold the tires in question.

Foreign Tire Sales filed a defect report with federal officials on July 2, saying that the tires may not meet minimum safety specifications that had been provided to the manufacturer. Specifically, the tires lack “gum strips,” which help prevent separation of a tire’s treads. At least one serious accident has been caused by tread separation of these tires, McKenna’s office said Thursday. State officials are now trying to determine if other brand names are involved.

“At this point, a replacement tire program hasn’t been established, although the states expect a recall process to begin in early August,” according to McKenna’s office. More information about that will be available on Foreign Tire Sales’ Web site at

In the meantime, Washington consumers with concerns about the tires can file a complaint with McKenna’s office at or toll-free at 1-800-551-4636 between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. on weekdays. Anyone who has an accident due to a defective tire should report it to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration and the state Attorney General’s office, McKenna said, and may want to consult a private attorney about filing a lawsuit.

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