NHTSA begins a preliminary evaluation of OE tire valves on Ford Motor Co. models

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The government's ongoing defect investigation into imported tire valves from Topseal Shanghai Auto-Parts Co. Ltd. has widened to include some Ford Motor Co. vehicle models.

On Oct. 14, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), through its Office of Defects Investigation (ODI), began looking into original equipment snap-in valves made by Topseal and supplied to Ford. The ODI opened the Preliminary Evaluation after identifying 37 complaints of cracking and leaking tire valves in 2007 Ford Vehicles.

Eleven of the complaints allege that loss of tire inflation pressure caused by cracked and leaking valve resulted in tire damage severe enough to require replacement of the tire. In addition, 23 of the complaints allege that more than one valve was found to be severely cracked or cracked and leaking and had to be replaced.

The following model-year 2007 makes and models were identified in the complaints:

* Ford: Edge, Escape, Expedition, Explorer Sport Trac, F-150, Focus, Fusion and Mustang.

* Lincoln: MKX and MKZ.

* Mercury: Grand Marquis and Milan.

Topseal, a wholly owned subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Industries Co. Ltd., also supplied another Shanghai Baolong subsidiary, Dill Air Control Products LLC, and Tech International (see "Tech International expands tire valve safety recall," June 24, 2008) with allegedly defective tire valves.

The ODI opened its original investigation into the matter on May 15, 2008.

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