Big O Tires has cut the wait by up to five weeks for local owners of Ford Explorers and other vehicles who need to replace the recalled Firestone tires on their vehicles.
Owners of affected vehicles can now have new tires installed at Big O, turn their old ones in at Phil White Ford, and then apply to Firestone for reimbursement of up to $100 per tire, said Big O manager Justin Williams.
"We just got a big truckload in," Williams said. "We're getting a shipment of 18 to 30 tires just about every other day."
Bridgestone/Firestone is recalling 6.5 million Firestone Wilderness AT, Radial ATX and ATX II tires that can rip and shred, especially at high speeds. The defective tires are suspected to be responsible for 88 traffic deaths and more than 250 injuries.
Last Friday, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration warned consumers that another 1.4 million tires Firestone has refused to recall could also pose a safety risk and should be replaced. Firestone disputes this latest advisory but said its service centers, including Phil White, will inspect any tires that owners are concerned about.
Since the recall was announced Aug. 9, it has been difficult for Phil White to obtain tires to replace those affected, Pat McCann, parts manager at the Star Valley dealership, said. Ford has even stopped production of some vehicles in order to make more tires available.
"We still have a list of 100 or so people waiting for new tires, but we're hoping with the production shutdown at Ford, they'll start arriving any day," McCann said.
In the meantime, Big O is stepping in to fill the void, primarily with Kelly Springfield Bigfoot AT Dual Groove tires. But first, owners of affected vehicles, primarily Ford Explorers built since 1991, should have their tires inspected at Phil White to make sure they are among those that have been recalled.
"We're working with Big O to help out our customers," McCann said. "We have an approved list of replacement tires so we definitely suggest people check with us first."
Once Big O installs new tires, owners must return the old tires to Phil White.
"We'll send the tires back to Firestone, but the owner then has to submit the paperwork to Firestone to get the rebate," McCann said. "At this point, we don't know how long it takes to get a check from Firestone."
Vehicles other than Explorers that could have faulty Firestone tires include 1996 and newer Mercury Mountaineers, 1991 and newer Ford Rangers, 1991-94 Ford F-Series, 1991-94 Ford Broncos, 2001 Ford Explorer Sport Tracs, 1994 and newer Mazda B-Series, and 1991-94 Mazda Navajos.
Owners with questions or concerns can call Phil White Ford at (520) 474-8888 or Ford Motor Company at (800) 660-4719.