I believe that the statistics in this NHTSA report are more accurate
than what you have to say:
And the statistics clearly show that in 2000, trucks were more likely to
rollover and that fatalities were more likely to be in truck crashes
than car crashes, despite the fact that there were more cars on the road
How you can believe what you do despite the plain facts presented is
beyond me. But then again, we can add to this list: VINs, Rule 78 loans.
If one searches the "Congressional Record" you will discover the government
investigation determined Explorers, as well as some other brands, were
rolling years back because of the defective Firestone tires with which most
were equipped. Explorers with other brand tires were not effected, their
height was not the cause.
The big problem was with catastrophic tire failure (blowout or tread
separation) causing a rollover.
And that tire failure is often precipitated by under-inflation -
Ford deliberately specified a lower than optimal tire pressure to
improve ride comfort (trying to use the tires as part of the
suspension), and then people didn't check their tire pressures
regularly and they sank even lower.
Run tires at highway speeds (70 and up) while they are grossly
under-inflated, and they are going to get hot and come apart on you.
It's simple to have safe tires:
1. Buy good quality tires that are of the proper design and load
rating for the vehicle - not the loss-leader tires Ford often specced,
where the vehicle axle weight is 5 pounds under the tire's maximum
weight rating. Go up one tire size (easier) or one Load Rating notch
to give yourself a safety cushion.
1A. And definitely NO offshore import no-name tires where the quality
is a total crapshoot. They just had a huge recall for some Korean
tires (sold under a few dozen no-name names) where they left out a
critical inner rubber layer, and the tires are blowing out after they
get a few thousand miles on them.
2. Get your actual axle weights at a truck scale and keep the tires
properly inflated to the tire maker's "Load and Pressure Chart"
recommendations for the tires you bought. The tire maker has the
final say on that.
3. And watch them regularly for signs of trouble - blistering or
bulging, uneven wear, cupping or uneven wear (alignment or shock
absorber problems), cuts or gouges (no hitting curbs), and you'll be
--<< Bruce >>--
Whether you mean to or not, you are spreading the Firestone propaganda
that was printed in the press back during the height of the faux
Explorer Rollover "crisis." The truth is that Firestone built
defective tires that failed under loading conditions that were well
inside the normal load ratings for the tires on the vehicles.
Point 1 - Ford's pressure recommendations were not unusually low. Both
Toyota and Nissan had similar pressure recommendation for the same
size tires on similar vehicles (mid-size SUVs).
Point 2 - In congressional testimony, Ford engineers said the pressure
was specified for SAFETY reasons. They wanted to reduce the
responsiveness of the truck to violent steering inputs. Lower tire
pressures reduce steering response and lessen the chance that the
driver might get the truck sideways when making violent maneuvers.
Point 3 - At the time, the press made claims that the center of
gravity of the Explorer was abnormally high because Ford had to raise
the engine location to allow for the use of the old style twin I-beam,
or twin traction arm front axles. However, the model of Explorer that
supposedly had the rollover problems did not use this style of front
suspension. Ford had redesigned the vehicle to use conventional A-Arm
Point 4 - 50% of the 1996 Explorers were delivered with Goodyear
tires. There was no problem with high rates of tire failure for those
Point 5 - The 4 Door Explorers that were supposedly dangerous,
actually had lower rollover driver death rates, and lower injury rates
that most similar sized SUVs of the period (Only the Jeep Grand
Cherokee was better).
Point 6 - The Ford recommended tire pressure was well above the
pressure necessary to safely support a fully loaded Explorer. Even
Firestone admitted that the tires installed on an Explorer of that era
SHOULD have been safe if inflated to only 20 psi. The following text
was extracted from a Firestone web site during the aftermath of the
"crisis" (unfortunately the web site is long since closed down - it
was from a report of Firestone's congressional testimony):
"A table distributed by Firestone shows that the 2000 Explorer, with
tires inflated at Ford's recommendation of 26 pounds, would be safe.
But if the pressure fell by 7 pounds -- as is common, Firestone said,
because many people fail to check their tire pressure -- the
four-door, four-wheel- drive model would reach its carrying
So, According to Firestone's own load/inflation pressure tables, the
tires should have been "safe" with a pressure of only 20 psi. In the
original reference, Firestone never once claimed that a pressure of 26
psi was unsafe. They said it just didn't provide as much of a safety
margin as 30 psi. This has to be just about the silliest defense on
the planet. They might as well have said that a pressure of 36 psi
would have provided an even greater safety margin. Of course this is
true if you were only worried about substandard tires failing. Ford,
had to consider many other requirements. Based on Tire Industry
Standards, and Firestone's own data, Ford felt that the 26 psi
recommendation was the correct one. Even Firestone explicitly admits
that the 26 psi recommendation was safe. According to their own
testimony, the tires would have to be under inflated by 7 psi before
they were unsafe. As has been pointed out many times before, Goodyear
tires inflated to the same pressure recommendation had very few
While I certainly agree that you should by good quality tires, I
strongly disagree with your claim that Ford spec'd tires so close to
the axle weight limit. As I pointed out above the tires and pressures
specified for the Explorer should have been just fine with very large
safety margins (and the Goodyear tires were). I agree Ford can be
blamed for installing Firestone tires, given Firestone's history of
making crummy tires (Radial 500, 721, etc.), but it wasn't the
pressure specification that was faulty, it was the tires.
The problem is that most consumers have no idea where to get a copy of
the load/inflation pressure tables. I have a copy of the industry
standard tables, but most people don't. Most tire stores do, but I've
yet to see a consumer ask for a copy.
Statistics are no better than the honesty of those using them. Just like
people who argue the merits based on what car or brand name they support.
The facts are this: Anytime an emergency maneuver is required to avoid
something it is simply a thoughtless reaction.
In most cases the initial reaction requires a corrective action and the
vehicle is not in a normal attitude when this happens so all those
wonderful trick show techniques and center of gravity arguments are
The fact is SUVs,Jeeps,and Trucks have a much higher tendency to roll in
these circumstances than the average car.
As Mike always says you can believe anything you want.
Not necessarily. Plus, one is able to perform the maneuver much better
and more safely with experience (just ask Jeff Gordon and Jeff Burton
who tend to do these quite frequently at higher speeds than you or I
Regardless of whether it is a planned or not, gravity and laws of
physics still apply.
They really ought to insist on much more 'emergency driving'
training before you get your license in the USA, but they won't
because it would be way too expensive.
At a bare minimum they should take all drivers out in a special
"Skid Car" that has adjustable outrigger wheels at all four corners so
they can reduce the road grip to near zero on command. Northern areas
this can be done on any flat parking lot with a little water and some
cold weather, in southern states you make a flooded skid-pad area out
of glass-smooth concrete. Learn how to manage and recover from skids
Or put students in a Go-Kart and learn power-slides there.
A "Reaction Course" - the classic four or five lanes with traffic
lights above them and cones to show the errors. You boogie down the
road at 40 and all of a sudden your lane and the ones to the left go
red - you better manage a clean lane change to the right in a hurry,
or you just hit the 'obstacle'.
And if they all go red, you better be able to get stopped in a
straight line, or brake while retaining control to make that lane
change. Pity this skill has been rendered partly obsolete by ABS,
which is why the training car does NOT have it. ;-)
And they should take you through the physics of vehicle dynamics,
and the physics when you add in a trailer to the mix - even if you
never do it, you should know the concepts. How to react to a blowout,
to getting one wheel off the road and into a ditch - without
overcorrecting and rolling. Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.
--<< Bruce >>--
Some of these replies are interesting and truthful. Some of them are
people shooting from the hip.
I agree, however, that the trial lawyers were behind a lot of this.
What was interesting was that the lawyers from U-Haul
even got into this. I remember reading one time that U-Haul would not
allow anybody to rent any of their trailers if the person wished to
pull it behind an Explorer. However, you could come in with your
Mercury Mountaineer and they would allow the rental to leave behind
it. Do they still have this rule?
FWIW, my sister had an Explorer with these Factory Firestone tires on
them. About a month after purchasing new tires, the recall came out.
If only she had waited another month........
Oh well. I bet the tire dealer got a bunch of free Firestone tires
after scrounging out back through the piles of tires and looking for
the size of Firestones that were on the Explorers.
Yes they were. (and I have the carpal tunnel syndrome to prove
it ;) )
He was referring to people scrounging up pre-recall takeoffs and
turning them in for replacement under the recall. I'm sure it may have
happened, but not on a large scale. Most tire dealers don't have big
piles of takeoffs laying around anymore.
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