Goodyear Recalls Tire Nobody Uses Anymore

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
We’re committed to finding, researching, and recommending the best products. We earn commissions from purchases you make using links in our articles. Learn more here
goodyear recalls tire nobody uses anymore

Goodyear has agreed to recall more than 173,000 intended for commercial delivery vehicles and RVs nearly two decades after the last one was manufactured. The company’s G159 tires have been under investigation by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) since December of 2017 and the recall comes in the wake of years of lawsuits alleging the rubber contributed to a series of fatal accidents dating back to 1998.

Despite no new claims having launched in years, court orders and settlement agreements delayed an order to make corporate data pertaining to the tire-buying public for five full years. The NHTSA didn’t even launch a formal investigation until late in 2017, followed by the recent announcement that the agency has pushed Goodyear into a recall for a tire that ended production during the Bush administration.

Manufactured between 1996 to 2003, the tires were eventually supplanted by the G159A after criticisms began to turn into lawsuits. According to the Associated Press, some of the initial lawsuits alleged that the tires were designed specifically for delivery trucks and were never intended for use by recreational vehicles traveling long distances at sustained highway speeds. Though the real issue seems to be that Goodyear was repeatedly accused of intentionally trying to obfuscate the matter while hiding any internal data that would support those claims via settlement agreements.

It wasn’t clear how many potential fatalities the G159 tires were involved in until after the NHTSA launched its investigation. By 2018, the number was estimated to be 95.

From AP:

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., based in Akron, Ohio, denied that the tires have a safety defect and said Tuesday that few, if any, are still on the road. The company said it’s doing the recall to address risks that happen when the tires are underinflated or overloaded on motorhomes.

“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 prepared statement.

Documents show that the government safety agency sent Goodyear a letter requesting a recall of the 22.5-inch diameter tires on Feb. 22 of this year, and the company declined the request on March 8. But Goodyear later agreed to the recall “to address concerns that some of these tires may still be in the marketplace or in use.”

NHTSA must hold a public hearing and then go to court to force a company to do a recall.

Considering how few are probably left on the road, Goodyear has opted to replace G159 tires with a newer model at no cost to RV owners. Those using the tire on other vehicles will be allowed to exchange them for $500 (which wouldn’t quite cover the cost of the newer G159A).

But it’s unlikely to get a lot of takers as anybody who is keeping a set of 19-year-old tires on their vehicle has probably been killed already. Joking aside, rolling around on a set of rubber that’s old enough to drink in some countries is a terrible idea and it’s doubtful there will be many people taking advantage of this particular recall. Goodyear even noted that the RV companies that used the G159 as factory rubber aren’t even in business anymore — making it difficult for it to acquire the relevant registration data as a way of contacting impacted owners. It also added that they would have been the ones responsible for communicating to customers what the appropriate load limits should be.

Meanwhile, the NHTSA is making itself look busy by issuing statements to the public to check if their RV or delivery vehicle uses G159 tires sized for a 22.5-inch rim. It said it believes the units yield a comparatively high failure rate vs similar tires — though just about every tire their age probably would at this point.

“If their vehicle has these tires, they should have this recall completed as soon as possible,” the NHTSA stated.

I’m not sure what the big takeaway for this one is beyond widespread embarrassment. Assuming the tires were bad news from the start, Goodyear does seem to have gone well out of its way to hide any data that would back up assertions the G159 was dangerous. Meanwhile, the government seemed to be largely incapable or disinterested in taking the regulatory actions necessary to get them off the road in a timely fashion. Again, the NHTSA’s formal investigation didn’t really pick up steam until 2018 and only just managed to result in a comprehensive recall for a bunch of tires that aren’t even in use anymore.

[Image: GVLR/Shutterstock]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

Consumer advocate tracking industry trends, regulation, and the bitter-sweet nature of modern automotive tech. Research focused and gut driven.

More by Matt Posky

Join the conversation
3 of 23 comments
  • Funky D Funky D on Jun 09, 2022

    No offense intended to anyone, but I have always been of the belief and experience that any Goodyear tire that doesn't have the name EAGLE on it is junk.

  • Jberger Jberger on Jun 09, 2022

    Goodyear slowed and obscured the safety data until they knew these tires were largely out of service in order to reduce the recall costs. They have known for 20 years that these tires were defective and not suitable for use in the applications they chose to sell to RV Manufacturers. They knew it was not a safe design for RV's but they kept selling it anyway. When the blowouts started, they blamed the owners, and when their internal tests and reports showed a problem, they delayed and obscured in order to minimize the costs AND litigation. It's much easier to settle the case and not admit fault PRIOR to issuing a recall. That's why they did the recall AFTER the tires were not on the road and the cases are largely settled out. If you follow the articles and court documents, you will never want to buy or ride on a goodyear product again.

    • SPPPP SPPPP on Jun 10, 2022

      Oh, crud ... it's THAT tire. I forgot all about that scandal. Thanks for the reminder.

  • Ernesto Perez There's a line in the movie Armageddon where Bruce Willis says " is this the best idea NASA came up with?". Don't quote me. I'm asking is this the best idea NY came up with? What's next? Charging pedestrians to walk in certain parts of the city? Every year the price for everything gets more expensive and most of the services we pay for gets worse. Obviously more money is not the solution. What we need are better ideas, strategies and inventions. You want to charge drivers in the city - then put tolls on the free bridges like the Brooklyn, Manhattan and Williamsburg bridges. There's always a better way or product. It's just the idiots on top think they know best.
  • Carsofchaos The bike lanes aren't even close to carrying "more than the car lanes replaced". You clearly don't drive in Midtown Manhattan on a daily like I do.
  • Carsofchaos The problem with congestion, dear friends, is not the cars per se. I drive into the city daily and the problem is this:Your average street in the area used to be 4 lanes. Now it is a bus lane, a bike lane (now you're down to two lanes), then you have delivery trucks double parking, along with the Uber and Lyft drivers also double parking. So your 4 lane avenue is now a 1.5 lane avenue. Do you now see the problem? Congestion pricing will fix none of these things....what it WILL do is fund persion plans.
  • FreedMike Many F150s I encounter are autonomously driven...and by that I mean they're driving themselves because the dips**ts at the wheel are paying attention to everything else but the road.
  • Tassos A "small car", TIM????????????This is the GLE. Have you even ever SEEN the huge thing at a dealer's??? NOT even the GLC,and Merc has TWO classes even SMALLER than the C (The A and the B, you guessed it? You must be a GENIUS!).THe E is a "MIDSIZED" crossover, NOT A SMALL ONE BY ANY STRETCH OF THE IMAGINATION, oh CLUELESS one.I AM SICK AND TIRED OF THE NONSENSE you post here every god damned day.And I BET you will never even CORRECT your NONSENSE, much less APOLOGIZE for your cluelessness and unprofessionalism.