DEARBORN, Mich. (CNN) - Owners of Ford Explorers and other Ford vehicles have begun receiving notices from the automaker of its recall of 13 million Firestone tires.|
The letters started arriving nearly three weeks after the world's second-largest automaker said it would undertake the $3 billion recall because data analysis showed Firestone Wilderness AT tires not included in last year's recall are more likely to fail than other tires on the road.
Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has maintained its tires are safe, and has countered by saying a flaw exists in the design of Ford's popular Explorer model resulting in potentially deadly rollovers when tires blow. More than 100 people have been killed in such accidents.
Last year, Firestone recalled more than 6 million tires, but balked when Ford confronted it three weeks ago with its latest analyses. Bridgestone/Firestone abruptly opted to end the two companies' nearly 100-year-old relationship.
In a letter dated June 6 to its customers, Ford puts blame on the tire. Ford said tread separation can occur with the tires, resulting in loss of control of the vehicle and/or a crash.
The recall applies to all 15-inch, 16-inch and 17-inch Firestone Wilderness tires on Ford Explorers, Expeditions, Rangers, Broncos and F-Series pickup trucks, as well as the Mercury Mountaineer and Mazda B-series trucks. Ford described the recall as a precautionary measure.
"We made the decision to take this action after extensive examination of real-world data, laboratory and track testing, and consultations with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration," the automaker said.
Click here for a look at auto stocks
If vehicle owners replace the tires at non-authorized locations, Ford will reimburse owners up to $110 each for 15-inch tires and up to $130 each for 16-inch and 17-inch tires. Goodyear dealerships and some Michelin and Continental tire dealers are also exchanging tires at no cost to the customer.
Ford has established a 24-hour, 7-days-a-week hotline for owners to call with questions, 1-866-300-1226. In its letter to customers, Ford also provided a list of recommended tires made by Goodyear, Michelin, BF Goodrich, General and Uniroyal.