Thursday, December 11, 2008

Tire valve stem recall

Reported by: Shannon Cake
Photographer: Jim Sitton
Last Update: 5:01 am
Click on the video player to the right to watch the story

WEST PALM BEACH, FL -- There has been a recall on a tiny device that we count on to stay safe when we drive. It’s a tire valve stem, the rubber prong that allows the air to flow in and out of your tires.

Contact Five Investigators first warned you about a problem with a bad batch of these valves several weeks ago.

Sara Monk believes the faulty valves were on her S.U.V. and caused an accident on I-75 just north of Tampa last year. Sara and her husband Robert were expecting their first child when their car tire went flat. Their car flipped on the Interstate. Robert died in the accident.

"I just remember thinking, this isn’t happening to me. This isn’t real,” remembers Sara. "One day we were shopping for strollers and baby beds. The next day I’m sitting in a room with strangers and they’re asking me whether I know whether my husband wanted to be buried or cremated.”

Sara and her lawyers are blaming the accident on a bad tire valve, distributed by Dill Air Controls in North Carolina.

Sara filed a lawsuit against the company. Meanwhile, tire valve stem complaints to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are adding up.

Between September 2006 and June of 2007, millions of the bad valves were installed on U.S. cars.

Reporters from our Scripps Sister Station found the distributor, Dill Air Controls, knew about the problem, even posted warnings on the website to help consumers, but the company never issued a recall, until now.

Brian Rigny is Dill’s General Manager. "Dill will honor legitimate claims of ozone cracking of valve stems within or outside the trimeframe,” said Rigny.

The company is issuing photos so customers can tell the difference between Dill’s stems and others and match it with the stems on their cars.

Meanwhile, it’s a good idea to check the valve stems on your cars. Shine a flashlight down onto your tires and look around the base for cracking or peeling.

The following national retailers will replace your valve stems if they are affected by the recall:

Sears, B.O. Tires, Tire Kingdom, Merchant's Auto Center, N.T.B. and Tires by Les Schwab.

For more information on the tire valve stem recall, go to: or call, 1-888-364-2982.

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