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Why Tire Recalls Have Poor Completion Rates

Why Tire Recalls Have Poor Completion Rates

Why Tire Recalls Have Poor Completion Rates

Recalls are a mechanism by which faulty, potentially dangerous products – like defective tires – are remedied or taken out of circulation. Since 1966, more than 46 million tires have been the subject of recalls in the U.S.1 While some of these tire recalls have been voluntarily initiated by manufacturers, others have been ordered by regulators at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

Regardless of how a tire recall starts, the goals are always the same:

  • Protect the public
  • Keep vehicles as safe as possible
  • Prevent unsafe, faulty tires from causing any or additional injuries and/or deaths.

As such, the goal of every recall is to achieve as close to a 100-percent completion as possible.

Despite this intention and the oversight of regulators, however, tire recalls often fall far short of the 100-percent completion goal. When that happens:

  • Dangerous tires continue to pose a real threat to the driving public.
  • The lawyers at the Amaro Law Firm will be ready to help those who have been injured by recalled tires seek the justice and financial recovery they deserve.

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Tire Recalls: An Overview of the Process

When a recall is initiated for faulty, unsafe tires, the manufacturer is required to notify affected vehicle owners of the following:

  • The potential problem(s) associated with the recalled tires
  • How and where the recalled tires can be remedied or replaced
  • The fact that the remedy is available at no cost to the owner
  • What to do if there is a problem in getting the recall remedy for free.

This notification must be sent by first-class mail to all parties on the manufacturers’ list of registered owners. Manufacturers may also be required to run ads or notify retailers of the recall in order to assure that the message is delivered to as many impacted consumers as possible.

Additionally, for tire recalls, the law requires manufacturers to repair or replace defective or unsafe tires for free as long as those tires have been purchased within five years of the defect or noncompliance determination.

In order to obtain free replacement or repair of a recalled tire, consumers are required to bring the tire to the dealer within 60 days of receiving the manufacturer’s recall notice.

You can check if your tires have been subjected to a recall using this NHTSA search tool.

4 Reasons Tire Recalls Have Poor Completion Rates

Of all recalls involving vehicles and automotive equipment, tire recalls have the poorest completion rates. In fact, over the past decade, the average completion rate for tire recalls is just over 41 percent. Effectively, this means that about 6 in every 10 recalled tires remains in circulation.2

A number of factors contribute to the poor completion rates for tire recalls, including (but not limited to):

  1. Lack of registration requirements for some tire retailers – Franchised tire dealers are legally required to register tire sales with manufacturers. Independent dealers are not. This creates a gap in ownership data if or when a recall happens, as only registered owners of recalled tires will be notified of the problems and available remedies.
  2. Incomplete or outdated owner contact information – Just because tires are registered with manufacturers does not necessarily mean owners will receive recall notifications. That is largely due to the fact that manufacturers may not have up-to-date contact information for owners (because, for example, owners may not update their contact information with tire manufacturers after moving). Consequently, these notifications can be sent to previous addresses, and they may never be forwarded to or received by the owners.
  3. Limited time for owners to seek the free remedy – The law only provides 60 days (from the date of the recall notice) for owners to receive free remedies for recalled tires. After that window closes, remedies may still be available, possibly at a cost to owners, however. These time limits are another reason that tire recalls see such poor completion rates.
  4. No action taken by owners – In some cases, owners may receive adequate notification of tire recalls and simply not respond to them. This may be due to misconceptions about the urgency, misunderstandings about the potential dangers and risks and/or the inconvenience of pursuing the remedy. Regardless, owner responsiveness is another reason why tire recalls are rarely successful.

Combatting Poor Completion Rates for Tire Recalls: NHTSA Recommendations

In order to reverse the trend for tire recalls and improve recall completion rates, regulators at the NHTSA have made various recommendations,2 including (but not limited to):

  • Use of various communication channels and strategies to ensure that recall information is widely disseminated
  • Mobile repair options to make it as easy as possible for owners to obtain the necessary remedies
  • A proactive approach to safety by owners, which may involve regularly checking for and promptly responding to tire recalls.

Contact a Houston Personal Injury Lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm for Answers about Your Potential Tire Defect Claim

If you or a loved one has been hurt by a defective, faulty or dangerous tire, contact a Houston personal injury lawyer at the Amaro Law Firm by calling (713) 352-7975, texting (281) 612-8024 or emailing our firm for your FREE consultation.

Insightful, strategic and relentless, our lawyers are ready to partner with you in the pursuit of recovery and justice when it is time to hold negligent manufacturers and others accountable for defective tires. We have the experience to build you the strongest possible claim and help you navigate every phase of the process.

Our record of excellence and success in tire defect (and other personal injury) claims has earned us exceptional testimonials from former clients and 5-star ratings on Google and Facebook.


1: According to data from the NHTSA
2: According to the NHTSA’s Safety Recall Completion Report