Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has been at the center of at least 41 lawsuits filed over one product in particular, the G159 tire. Between 1996 and 2003, the tires were sold to unsuspecting motorhome owners and have caused many injury accidents and deaths due to tread separation. In spite of these suits, Goodyear still refuses to willingly release any data on the product or issue recalls.
Goodyear claims that the G159 tires were made for lower-speed delivery vehicles and should not have been equipped on RVs at all. They also continue to pin the blame for the tire failure on the RV owners involved in crashes siting insufficient inflation and upkeep (Felton, 2018).
In a case filed by the Schalmo family, who were involved in a serious crash involving the defective tires, Goodyear released data only after being forced by the court that stated the tires had reached temperatures as high as 229 degrees. Court records show that the tires were intended to sustain a temperature of 194 degrees when traveling on the highway at speeds of 65-75 mph; at an excess of 200 degrees, the tires were at risk for separation.
No stranger to tire lawsuits, Firestone recalled some products in 2000 after reported deaths and injuries associated with their own tire failures. A representative from Goodyear testified in the suit against Firestone stating that 3.4 parts per million (ppm) was an acceptable standard to issue a recall (Felton, 2018). Firestone had a tread separation claim of 270.6 ppm and NHTSA declared the product defective. Alternatively, Goodyear’s 730 property damage and injury claims from the G159, equaled 2,270 ppm, almost ten times more defective than the recalled Firestone products.
In December of 2017, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Office of Defects (ODI) opened an official investigation covering the nearly 40,000 tires installed during 1996 to 2003 (Moore, 2018). In response to recent investigations, Goodyear has stated that they are being cooperative with the ODI and they do not have any plans to issue any further comments regarding the G159 tire “due to the sensitivity of the issue and the potential legal consequences that may arise” (Garlitos, 2018). In fact, they have succeed so well, that it is virtually impossible to find any information about the G159 on the corporate and consumer websites. Despite all the facts, the defective tires continue to be marketed to long-haul and regional delivery trucks (Goodyear, 2017).
Felton, R. (2018). How Goodyear Hid Evidence Of ‘The Worst Tire Made In History’ Linked To At Least 9 Deaths. Retrieved January 31, 2018, from https://jalopnik.com/how-goodyear-hid-evidence-of-the-worst-tire-made-in-his-1822200424
Garlitos, K. (2018, January 08). Goodyear Treading Hot Water Over RV Tire Probe Lawsuit News @ Top Speed. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from https://www.topspeed.com/cars/car-news/goodyear-treading-hot-water-over-rv-tire-probe-lawsuit-ar179167.html
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company (2018). SAVE MONEY AGAIN AND AGAIN WITH GOODYEAR® RETREADS. Retrieved February 1, 2018, from https://www.goodyeartrucktires.com/pdf/resources/publications/goodyear_commercial_truck_retreads.pdf
Moore, M. (2018, January 8). NHTSA investigating alleged Goodyear tire failures. Retrieved February 01, 2018, from http://www.rubbernews.com/article/20180105/NEWS/180109961/nhtsa-investigating-alleged-goodyear-tire-failures