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Bridgestone/Firestone initiates two recalls

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) is voluntarily recalling two batches of tires.

BFNT is recalling nearly 19,000 Firestone FR690 tires (size P195/65R15) produced at its Wilson, N.C., plant in order to ensure the recovery of 890 tires built over a four-day period there starting April 12.

The recalled tires -- which are identified by DOT numbers W2C6T001402 and W2C6T001501 -- may have been used on 2003 model year Toyota Corolla S and LE cars built mid-April through early September.

A "small percentage" of the tires made April 12-15, 2002, may have air pockets under their treads, which could lead to rubber chunking, according to BFNT officials.

Pockets were created by malfunctioning equipment at the Wilson facility, they say.

In addition, the 890 target tires had not been "properly processed for additional inspection."

BFNT is offering replacements through Firestone Tire & Service Centers and Tires Plus outlets throughout the United States.

The company's second recall involves 754 Widetrack Baja A/T tires (size 30x9.50R15) produced at BFNT's La Vergne, Tenn., plant over a 21-day period starting Sept. 23, 2001.

"The products did not comply with the tire marking requirements set by the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard for new compressed air tires for non-passenger car vehicles," BFNT officials said in an official statement, "and will be replaced through Widetrack brand retailers."

The tire's inflation pressure is incorrectly marked in metric units; however, the tire's English inflation units are correct.

"English units are the common usage for inflation pressure in North America, making it highly unlikely that the subject tires would be over-inflated as a result of marking noncompliance."

The Widetrack Baja A/T tires being recalled sport the following DOT serial numbers: W166WB03801, W166WB03901 and W166WB04001.

Markings on non-compliant tires read: Max Load 350 Kg at 1985 Kpa cold; Max Load 900 lbs. at 50 PSI cold. They should read: Max Load 900 Kg at 350 Kpa cold; Max Load 1985 lbs. at 50 PSI cold.

BFNT has set up a hotline (1-800-807-9555) to answer consumers' questions about the recall.

The company is contacting tire owners and dealers.

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