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Why is Goodyear recalling the G159 tires 19 years after the last ones were manufactured?

The NHTSA has put out repeated calls for the tyre to be recalled after safety deficiencies could have put lives in danger.

A sign stands over a Goodyear Tire facility in Somerville, Massachusetts.

Product recalls are not unusual. Over the last year Tesla has recalled more than half a million cars due to various defects. However, what is unusual is a product recall 19 years after the product finished its run.

Well this is what has happened to the Goodyear G159 tyre. Last produced in 2003, the tire has been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since December of 2017. Now, the call has been put out to recall some 173,000 recreational vehicle tires.

In the Safety Recall Report, the safety risk is listed as “Tread separations can lead to loss of vehicle control, resulting in increased risk of crash.” The US government says the tyres could have contributed to 95 casualties since 1998.

Why are the tyres being recalled?

A judge had ordered an ivestigation after the release of data from Goodyear that was sealed with a combination of court orders and settlement agreements. It has been argued that Goodyear was supressing information through the courts that showed the tyres were dangerous when used on high-speed vehicles. It is alleged that they were designed for delivery trucks.

The NHTSA had originally asked Goodyear to recall the tyres in February, but this request was declined the following month.

Michael Brooks, acting executive director of the nonprofit Center for Auto Safety, told CBS News that what Goodyear is accused of doing should be illegal. “Sealing off the documentation that there is a distinct threat to public safety should be against the law,” said Brooks

“This tire hasn’t been made since 2003, it consistently met Goodyear’s demanding safety standards, and we have not received an injury claim related to the tire’s use on a Class A motorhome in more than 14 years,” Goodyear said in a statement.