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Farm Press Release

For immediate release - Monday, October 16, 2000.
Contact Bob Brammer - 515-281-6699.

Miller: Replace "NHTSA Advisory" Tires as well as Bridgestone/Firestone Recalled Tires

Miller emphasizes that Bridgestone/Firestone also is replacing or compensating for tires named in an advisory issued by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

The company will replace tires for free or reimburse consumers for other brand tires.

DES MOINES. Attorney General Tom Miller urged Iowans to finish replacing Bridgestone/Firestone tires named in the company's voluntary recall, and also certain other Bridgestone/Firestone tires the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) says may pose a possible safety risk because of tread separation.

On August 9, Bridgestone/Firestone announced that it was recalling about 6.5 million tires and offering free replacement tires or payment up to $100 each for tires replaced with other brands. On Sept. 1, NHTSA issued a "Consumer Advisory" recommending that consumers replace other tires not included in the recall. NHTSA said it was "concerned about the possible safety risk associated with those tires" because the agency's review of data provided by the company indicated that certain other model tires also had high tread separation rates. Bridgestone/Firestone has not included the "NHTSA Advisory" tires in its recall, but the company is offering consumers free replacement tires or compensation up to $140 for tires replaced with other brands.

"We want to be sure people are replacing the NHTSA Advisory tires as well as the recall tires," Miller said. "The main recall has had a lot of publicity and seems to be going well in Iowa, but some people may not have noticed the NHTSA Advisory list of tires that also could pose a risk, or the company's offer to replace or pay for those tires, too."

Miller said the NHTSA Advisory involves fewer tires, about 1.4 million, and that the tires were manufactured earlier so many may no longer be on the road. Most of the tires were sold as replacement tires for light trucks and sport utility vehicles and not as original tires on new vehicles.

The NHTSA Advisory said its review of data on damage claims, personal injury claims and lawsuits indicated that the rate of tread separation on some of the tire models in the Advisory exceeded the separation rate for recalled tires, sometimes by a large margin. NHTSA on August 30 recommended expanding the recall to include these tire models, but Bridgestone/Firestone declined.

Replacement and reimbursement options for NHTSA Advisory Tires:

Bridgestone/Firestone dealers will replace free of charge any NHTSA Advisory tires (as well as the recall tires.) The company will replace the tires for individuals or companies, regardless of use and condition, and without a pro rata payment. Customers will not be charged for mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax, or disposal fees. The company will select the brand and type of replacement tires.

Bridgestone/Firestone will reimburse consumers up to $140 per tire for tires replaced with competitors' brands, regardless of the use or condition of the tire to be replaced. The $140 reimbursement includes mounting, balancing, valve stem, sales tax, and disposal fees. Consumers must return the replaced tires and an original receipt to an authorized Bridgestone/Firestone retailer to obtain reimbursement forms. Reimbursement is likely to take four to six weeks.

How to identify NHTSA Advisory tires:

Miller said the NHTSA Advisory included 24 tires of various models, sizes and place of manufacture. The Advisory included certain tires of these models: ATX, Firehawk ATX, ATX 23 Degree, Widetrack Radial Baja, Widetrack Radial Baja A/S, Wilderness AT, and Wilderness HT.

"I would suggest three different and easy ways to determine if your tires are involved in the NHTSA Advisory," Miller said. "First, people can simply go to a Bridgestone/ Firestone dealer and they will check your tires for you. Second, call the Attorney General's Office or go to our web site for a full list of the tires. Third, go to NHTSA's or Bridgestone/Firestone's web sites, or call the company's 800 number. Any of these sources have information to help people get off of these tires."

The sources are:

Attorney General's Office: www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org Call 515-281-5926.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration: www.NHTSA.DOT.GOV

Bridgestone/Firestone: www.Firestone.com Call 1-800-465-1904.

Miller said those sources had full information about the tires subject to the Bridgestone/ Firestone recall, as well as tires in the NHTSA Advisory. He said his office is participating in a multi-state working group investigating the Bridgestone/Firestone tire situation.

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