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Bridgestone/Firestone voluntarily recalls more than 300,000 tires

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) is initiating "a voluntary safety campaign" in the United States to replace approximately 297,000 Steeltex Radial A/T tires in size LT265/75R16 Load Range D on 2000-2002 and some early 2003 model year Ford Excursions.

The company says consumers will receive free replacements for the tires.

Bridgestone/Firestone no longer manufactures the Steeltex Radial A/T size LT265/75R16 Load Range D. The company says it will replace these tires with Steeltex Radial A/T tires in size LT265/75R16 Load Range E.

In order to ensure that the program can be concluded quickly, Firestone also will offer consumers Steeltex R4SII LR E and Bridgestone Duravis M773II LR E tires.

Ford and Bridgestone/Firestone also will utilize the following competitive tires as additional replacements: Pirelli Scorpion AT, Pirelli Scorpion STR and BFGoodrich Rugged Trail T/A. Replacements will be available at authorized participating Firestone retailers and Ford dealerships.

"At Firestone, safety is our number one priority," says Mike Kane, BFNT vice president, quality assurance. "The TREAD (Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) Act and its implementation by NHTSA raised the bar for tire safety, a goal we share and support.

"Our early warning systems now allow us to identify potential issues more quickly and take swift action to avoid future problems."

In an official release, BFNT explained the reasons behind recalling the tires:

"Recent preliminary data reviewed as part of the company’s early warning system suggests that there could be an issue concerning the performance of these tires.

"Since these tires are not performing up to the company’s expectations and in order to avoid any future problems, Firestone, in consultation with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and in cooperation with Ford Motor Co., will replace these tires to enhance safety and to ensure customer satisfaction.

"The performance of these tires differs from other Steeltex tires, which continue to perform well in the field even in difficult duty applications."

Bridgestone/Firestone says the tires were manufactured in Joliette, Quebec, beginning in March 1999 and ending sometime in December 2002.

The company also will send an explanatory letter to everyone who purchased a Ford Excursion fitted with the tires covered under this campaign will receive a letter from Firestone announcing the safety campaign.

Information about how to identify and replace the tires covered by this campaign, as well as frequently asked questions, can be found at www.firestone.com.

In a related action, Firestone will replace approximately 20,000 of the same tires on Ford Excursions of the same model years that were exported.

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