A tire recall occurs when a defect is discovered in a certain make of tire. The recall could be initiated by the manufacturer, or by prodding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
When purchasing tires, take the time to register with the manufacturer. This way, should a recall be issued, the manufacturer will have your contact information. Or, play it safe, by subscribing with the NHTSA’s e-mail alert service, which will immediately alert you of any tire recall.
If you did not register your tires and did not receive notification, but suspect you may be driving with the recalled brand, you'll need to confirm. You can do this by reading your tires’ identification number (TIN) (located on the tire’s sidewall) to verify if your tires are indeed up for recall. In some cases you may also need to read the tires' size, which can also be found on the tire's sidewall. If you cannot find this information, take your vehicle to a tire dealership and ask them to "read" your tire.
Should a recall be issued on your tires you have 60 days within receiving recall notification to take them your dealer for repair or replacement. Should the tires be out of stock, be sure to obtain a letter from the dealer verifying you’ll still be covered should a new shipment of tires arrive after the window of 60 days closes.
In the interim, routinely check the tires, while making sure they are properly inflated, per manufacturer's suggestion.
Should you lose faith in the recalled tire company's product, you do have the right to opt for a different brand from a different company. However, you will not be fully compensated. You'll instead receive some form of discount.
For more information regarding this, call the NHTSA hotline at (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9393.
If you suspect your tires have a design defect, contact the NHTSA via one of three ways:
Call either (888) 327-4236 or (800) 424-9393. If you’re hearing impaired, dial (800) 424-9153.
When calling, be as specific as possible in describing the problem. Have at the ready the tire's brand, model and size. All of this information can be found on the tire's sidewall.
The NHTSA will then mail you a letter verifying it received your information. The agency will also request permission to use your name and contact information when notifying the manufacturer. You have the right to refuse this request.
Send a detailed letter describing the problem. In it include:
- Your name, address, and phone number.
- The tire's brand, model and size.
- The type of vehicle you were driving.
- The tire problem.
- If a blowout occurred, provide how many people were in the vehicle at the time and if any injuries were involved. Also include the approximate speed you were driving.
- The approximate miles on these tires.
- The number of miles on your vehicle.
- The location of the tire on the vehicle (example: front left or rear right).
- If you have the tire and/or separated treads in your possession.
- If you have photos of the tire(s) and/or damage to the vehicle, if applicable.
- If you have a police report, if applicable.
- U.S. Department of Transportation
- National Highways Traffic Safety Administration
- Office of Defects Investigation (NVS-210)
- 1200 New Jersey Ave. SE
- Washington, DC 20590
Submit via the Safe Car website (an information arm of the NHTSA) and follow the instructions. Again, have the tire's brand, model and size number at the ready.
What Happens After I Notify the NHTSA?
The NHTSA will investigate your claim. If it determines your problem was not an isolated case, a recall will be issued.