Retail

Despite real problems, the tire valve scare is not all it’s cracked up to be

Bob Ulrich
Posted on March 6, 2009

How do we know if we have sold affected valve stems that fall into this recall?” asked a dealer via e-mail. Good question, so I decided to find out. The question stemmed from the recent recall of tire valves manufactured by Topseal Shanghai Auto-Parts Co. Ltd., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. Ltd., from July through November in 2006.

Tech International initiated the recall after receiving reports from the field about what it called “potentially faulty tire snap-in valves” manufactured by Topseal and sold under the name Quick Air. The company then notified the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Although it only had received complaints about one model number, TR413, Tech expanded the recall to include other imported valves produced during the same time frame.

By adding valve models TR414, TR415, TR418 and TR423 to the TR413 and 413CH models, the recall grew to nearly six million units. Tech says the recall encompasses the following lot numbers/production codes: 0610012-03, 0610019, 061002632-01, 0610028, 0610035 and 0610034-01.

Dill Air Control Products LLC, a subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong, also has been in contact with NHTSA about the Topseal TR400 series. Dill says the total population of valves in question is 30 million. (One news report out of Texas had the total up to 60 million!) Surface cracking on the outside of the rubber near the rim hole, caused by premature aging, was identified as the reason for air leakage.

Now for the answer to the tire dealer’s question. First, check the lot and model numbers of the Topseal valves you have in stock. Next, inspect any valve stems you may have installed from September 2006 through June 2007.

“The cracking is parallel to the rim,” says Bill Johnson, Tech’s global research and development manager. “If you twist the valve in a clockwise direction, the crack will open.” The twist test should work even if existing cracking isn’t visible.

The valves are unmarked, except for the Topseal triangle insignia on the rubber (the Dill valves are marked Dill APC).

Forgetting about the recall for a moment, how do you know if a tire valve is defective? Not all cracking warrants immediate removal, according to Johnson. Normal weather cracking, which also occurs with tires, may not be a problem.

Any cracking due to abuse or aging could lead to air loss. In those instances, the valves should be replaced, he adds.

“Valve stems should be replaced each time new tires are installed, or sooner if they show signs of aging, stiffness or cracks,” says Gordon Hoffman, a spokesman for Schrader-Bridgeport International Inc., a Tomkins plc company. (Schrader manufactures its tubeless tire valves in its own facilities, and does not purchase valves from Shanghai Baolong.)

Tech is confident that everything is fine now, and not just because of its problem-free past relationship with Topseal.

As the valve situation began unfolding, Tech asked Topseal to re-test the valves it had manufactured in 2007. The valves were fine.

On its own, Topseal was more stringent with its in-house testing procedures; it also hired an independent lab to test new valves.

The lab conducted an SAE J1205/1206 test, which includes testing for adhesion of the rubber to the brass; hardness of the rubber before and after aging; the sealing ability of the valve and the valve core; the force to seat to the rim; and the force to pull the valve out of the rim (i.e., the tensile strength of the rubber).

According to Tech, the 2008 valves passed all the SAE tests and met all the relevant Tire and Rim Association Inc. standards.

Based on its meeting with Dill, NHTSA, through its Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), has since opened a “Preliminary Evaluation” of the TR400 series valves. The ODI is not only studying the cause of the cracking, but also assessing “the scope, frequency and safety consequences of the alleged defect.”

Perhaps forgotten in all the discussion about valves is the importance of the valve cap. Make sure all tire valves leave your shop with one. They keep dust and dirt out, and help keep air in.    ■

Bob Ulrich Editor
Comments ( 0 )
More Stories
European tire shows are reaching a crisis point! Here we have Germany’s Reiffen Essen trade show, the Autopromotec in Italy and the Tire Technology Expo in Germany.
Article

Saturation Point Danger for Tire Shows in Europe

With the Specialty Equipment Market Association (SEMA) Show due to take place this month in Las Vegas, which has to be one of (if not the) largest of its kind in the world, I thought it was the perfect time to take a step back and get an overall picture of what is currently happening in the tire show arena in Europe.

A special pre-event European Press Conference for Tire Cologne was staged by Koelmesse GmbH late last year.
News

Tire Cologne Will Address Many Important Industry Segments

The Tire Cologne has posted a schedule of events for its first trade fair, to be held in May 29 through June 1, 2018, in Cologne, Germany. Although billed as "a trade fair for tires and wheels," it is really more than that, according to show organizers.

News

Dealer Tire Invests in Tire Sensor Technology

Dealer Tire LLC is a "leading" investor in a new tire sensor and data management company, Tyrata Inc., which recently ended its series A financing offer. Thanks to several investors, the company received an influx of $4.5 million.

In addition to warning its employees on the dangers of texting and driving, Ramona Tire promotes that message to the public with its “Please make it home safe today” digital billboard on I-215 west of Hemet, Calif. (see sidebar).
Article

How Is the ‘Health’ of Your Business Insurance Coverage?

Many of us make it a point to see our doctor for regular checkups. Doing so gives the physician the opportunity to assess the current condition of our health, and gives us a chance to ask questions about medical issues or concerns. A thorough exam can help to diagnose early symptoms and gives the doctor an opportunity to offer recommendations and advice for a healthier lifestyle.

Lynda Kester of Big Red Tire Pros and Quick Chadwick, director of marketing for Tire Pros, have some fun with the audience.
Photo

Photos: Go With the Pros, as in Tire Pros

Attendance at the 2018 Tire Pros Dealer Business Conference was a record -- 965 people, including spouses. Here's what went on during the event in San Antonio Feb. 8-11.  

Department of Labor audit outcomes in the automotive service industry.
Article

Wage and Hour Regulations: You Probably Are Not in Compliance

Owners and operators of tire dealerships and automotive service shops, no matter how large or small, are being targeted by the United States Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division. This is the federal agency that enforces minimum wage, record keeping and overtime rules.

Two-time NASCAR champion Greg Biffle has joined Continental as a social media correspondent. His first assignment was driving an off-road course on the General Grabber A/TX. He got stuck in a mud pit.
Photo

Photos: A Look at 2 New General Tires

Continental Tire the Americas LLC invited Modern Tire Dealer to a launch event of two tires on opposite ends of the spectrum — the G-Max RS is an ultra-high performance summer tire, and the Grabber A/TX, an all-terrain tire.

Be the First to Know

Get the latest news and most popular articles from MTD delivered straight to your inbox. Stay on top of the tire industry and don't miss a thing!