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10 Most Terrifying Vehicle Manufacturing Defects


9
Doing the Firestone Flip
Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) displays a Firestone tire with tread separation that came off a friend's Ford Explorer on June 19, 2001, during an oversight and investigations hearing of the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection subcommittee. Mark Wilson/Getty Images
Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) displays a Firestone tire with tread separation that came off a friend's Ford Explorer on June 19, 2001, during an oversight and investigations hearing of the Commerce, Trade, and Consumer Protection subcommittee. Mark Wilson/Getty Images

In the 1990s, tire manufacturer Firestone made a boatload of faulty tires with tread that separated from the steel belts. Ford had the bad luck (or bad judgment) to fit these tires on their popular Explorer SUVs as standard equipment. Now, in the 90s, SUVs were everywhere, and they were very rarely used for either sport or utility. So the unsuspecting driver would be on his way to the mall, like usual, and the tire would blow. The driver, not being an off-road expert in recovery maneuvers, would jerk the steering wheel, and the Explorer would roll over. This resulted in about 200 deaths. There were accusations of under-inflating the tires, but in the end, 6.5 million Firestone tires were recalled, and Ford offered to replace an additional 13 million tires.


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