Talk:Firestone and Ford tire controversy

Page contents not supported in other languages.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
WikiProject iconAutomobiles C‑class Low‑importance
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Automobiles, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of automobiles on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
CThis article has been rated as C-class on Wikipedia's content assessment scale.
 Low This article has been rated as Low-importance on the project's importance scale.

current version of this article is copied from the section in Ford Explorer[edit]

I commented out the line saying that the current version of this article is copied from the section in Ford Explorer, so I thought I'd announce it here. --Laura Scudder 23:21, 11 Apr 2005 (UTC)


The title of this article is misleading. It gives the reader the idea that there was a court case involving Firestone versus Ford. This is incorrect and should be changed. Perhaps this should be moved to Firestone, Ford Explorer controversy or some other title. Any other suggestions are always welcome. -moogle 22:42, 18 Apr 2005 (UTC)

Bad article[edit]

If I can be so blunt, this is a terrible article, with zero sources. Both articles would be better served being merged into the respective Ford and Firestone sections, where more editors can edit and improve the article. Best wishes, Travb (talk) 10:29, 11 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Oppose - The Ford article needs things taken out, not more put back. It's massive. Mark83 15:33, 27 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
  • Oppose. You're right, Travb, this is not a well-written article. However, it could be, with a little work, and this subject is notable by itself. This was a huge deal in the news when it happened. I think that it deserves it's own article. I don't like the title of the article (maybe just "Firestone tire controversy" would be better, or something else), but I think that there should be sections about it in the Firestone and Ford articles, with "Full Article:" links to this article. --Aervanath 03:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Actually, the Firestone article already has a section on it.--Aervanath 03:35, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Closed Actually, on second thought, I agree. Thanks for your comments all.Travb (talk) 05:14, 31 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Just to chime in, I would tend to agree that this should not be merged with the Ford and Firestone articles. I concur that the Ford article is way too cluttered with extraneous material, and this material would only serve to further that clutter. I also concur that the topic deserves a seperate article. If the Firestone article already has a mention of the topic, then it should be removed from there, a sentence or two should describe what happened, and link to a separate article (this one) for the topic. Jo7hs2 (talk) 03:26, 21 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Old name[edit]

Firestone vs Ford Motor Company controversy Travb (talk) 15:40, 27 January 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I agree —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs)

Why shouldn't this whole article be deleted?[edit]

I know this is pretty brash for an unregistered user, but please explain why any of this article should stand without citations? The whole article is composed of unsourced statements of questionable accuracy. Check out Unless someone decides to back up any of these bald assertions, I think the article should be junked. 03:21, 23 September 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

The article should not be deleted, it should be edited. If I get a chance, I'll do it myself, but it may be a few months. If somebody could do it sooner, please beat me to the punch. Jo7hs2 (talk) 03:23, 21 November 2007 (UTC)Reply[reply]

POV Tag[edit]

I'm doing POV tag cleanup. Whenever an POV tag is placed, it is necessary to also post a message in the discussion section stating clearly why it is thought the article does not comply with POV guidelines, and suggestions for how to improve it. This permits discussion and consensus among editors. This is a drive-by tag, which is discouraged in WP, and it shall be removed. Future tags should have discussion posted as to why the tag was placed, and how the topic might be improved. Better yet, edit the topic yourself with the improvements. This statement is not a judgement of content, it is only a cleanup of frivolously and/or arbitrarily placed tags. No discussion, no tag.Jjdon (talk) 18:36, 26 April 2008 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Mazda Navajeo[edit]

Wasn't that only produced from 1991 to 1994? Not anywhere where the tire failures was happening. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Agent Mr (talkcontribs) 07:14, 19 February 2009 (UTC)Reply[reply]


Deletion discussions before this seem to have been focused on the lack of sources, but is the topic of the article even notable enough for an article? Doesn't look like there was that much media coverage, and this was really only a minor incident. The tyres on several cars failed prematurely, and this failure was attributed to the supplier. This doesn't sound that important to me, and I think the lead sums it up: "a period of unusually high tire failures on some Ford vehicles." -- (talk) 19:54, 18 November 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Unregistered user, yet a quick comment: besides the scale (300+ deaths, 800+ injured), this incident is notable in that it is a prime example of human factors in safety. I wouldn't call it minor. Industry, academia and regulators can reflect on the multiple opportunities the various parties had to intervene and yet chose not to. Allowing historical material of this kind to remain available can contribute to safer design of procedures and control. Macondo (Deepwater Horizon) and the Challenger incidents are arguably other notable instances of human factors on safety costing lives. (talk) 16:13, 13 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Two changes I made[edit]

There were two changes I made. The first was to take out the reference "by non-Union labor" when noting that the tires were manufactured in Decatur, Illinois during the labor strike that stretched on for a couple of years. As noted by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2000 or 2001 (unfortunately I don't have the article in front of me), it is unknown if the bad tires were because of low training of the non-Union labor, or if it was sabotage by a Union laborer who had crossed the line. I live near Decatur, it was an extremely bitter strike and both were possibilities. I didn't want to get into it in the article, but you can't say that the problems were caused by non-Union labor because we just don't know.

The second change was the note that the Car and Driver test was for a rapidly deflating tire, not a tire with tread separation. As noted in the Car and Driver article, they couldn't replicate tread separation so they did deflation - not the same thing. I wrote them a letter slamming their testing methods, they printed it (letter to the editor) a couple of months later. I love Car and Driver and am a subscriber... but it was a poorly designed test. Magicalharp (talk) 04:18, 14 July 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]

need rewording[edit]

Currently the article says

"As a rubber tire moves on the road, it generates tremendous heat. As steel belts heat up, they expand and want to pull away or separate from rubber. "

But I think it is inaccurate to say the steel belts 'want' to do anything. It's more like a force exists that can generate that effect. Can someone think of words that better express this? RJFJR (talk) 16:20, 26 June 2013 (UTC)Reply[reply]

This is an unsubstantiated statement regardless of how its worded and should be deleted unless referenced. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:02, 2 July 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

External links modified[edit]

Hello fellow Wikipedians,

I have just added archive links to one external link on Firestone and Ford tire controversy. Please take a moment to review my edit. If necessary, add {{cbignore}} after the link to keep me from modifying it. Alternatively, you can add {{nobots|deny=InternetArchiveBot}} to keep me off the page altogether. I made the following changes:

When you have finished reviewing my changes, please set the checked parameter below to true or failed to let others know (documentation at {{Sourcecheck}}).

This message was posted before February 2018. After February 2018, "External links modified" talk page sections are no longer generated or monitored by InternetArchiveBot. No special action is required regarding these talk page notices, other than regular verification using the archive tool instructions below. Editors have permission to delete these "External links modified" talk page sections if they want to de-clutter talk pages, but see the RfC before doing mass systematic removals. This message is updated dynamically through the template {{source check}} (last update: 18 January 2022).

  • If you have discovered URLs which were erroneously considered dead by the bot, you can report them with this tool.
  • If you found an error with any archives or the URLs themselves, you can fix them with this tool.

Cheers.—cyberbot IITalk to my owner:Online 01:32, 21 March 2016 (UTC)Reply[reply]

More changes[edit]

Anyone who looks through the history of this page will see that I've made quite a few changes over the last several months. I've been trying to improve the overall quality of the article by adding more citations, adding additional content as I find it, and reorganizing information so if flows better.

Improvements for the future:

  • Improve the section on the design of Ford Explorer as a cause in these accidents
  • Improve the section on the design and construction of the Firestone tires as a cause

There's a considerable amount of engineering information buried in NHTSA documents as well as other sources that describes how the Explorer may have led to more rollovers, and how these Firestone tires were more prone to failure.

New Section on Public Relations:

  • Create a new section describing the public relations of both Ford and Firestone (particularly Firestone) which was notably bad before and during the recall.
I removed the following citation from article because it didn't relate to the paragraph or sentence at the location it was placed or anywhere else in the article. However it is relevant to a section on a breakdown in public relations. Bridgestone/Firestone Recall: A Case Study in Public Relations Ian m (talk) 12:07, 31 August 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

--Ian m (talk) 20:19, 16 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I also reordered the talk page into chronological order to meet the layout standards for talk pages. Ian m (talk) 00:48, 22 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Yes I think you have made it better. I think one point is missing. Explorer was developed and signed off on tires from the Joliette plant, at 26 psi. The same model of tire was then manufactured at Decatur, in parallel with Joliette. The failure rates of tires from Decatur was the main symptom of the problem. Greglocock (talk) 00:13, 17 July 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I haven't found any evidence that Firestone and Ford agreed to manufacture these tires only at Joliette or that Explorer tires would come only from Joliette. But Firestone did approve Ford's plan to recommend 26psi.Ian m (talk) 01:24, 8 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
That was not what I was pointing out. Tire mfrs are self certifying once in production and are free to manufacture wherever they like without discussing it with the OEM. As you can see from the failure rate graph the tires from D and J were not exactly equivalent. Explorer was signed off on tires from one plant, it was mainly the tires from the other plant that failed. Greglocock (talk) 07:39, 8 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Do you have a source for this? I haven't seen anything about it. If you have something I'd be happy to add it.Ian m (talk) 13:25, 8 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No source for the first bit, you might find a statement about it if you search for ford q1 tier 1. The development history is covered in one of the refs, I can't remember which.Greglocock (talk) 17:02, 9 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Failure rates for tires from each factory (and Goodyears) here fig16 P53 Greglocock (talk) 04:04, 4 February 2023 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Effect of Benzene on Green Tire Self-Adhesion[edit]

This statement is misleading / inaccurate: "Benzene can damage the materials in a tire." It is at odds with the widespread use of organic solvents in the tire industry to improve adhesion of unvulcanized rubber layers during the tire building process. Organic solvents improve adhesion by 1) removing blooms of any waxes that might interfere with adhesion, and 2) increasing the rate of interdiffusion of polymer molecules across the adhesive interface. [1] The source you give does not provide data to substantiate that benzene somehow reduces the adhesion of tire layers, nor does it define what is meant by "damage". This statement should be better verified/sourced, or deleted from the article.

AresLiam (talk) 21:43, 4 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

So I don't know chemical engineering but this comes up repeatedly. Several workers testified that they were instructed to put Benzene on tires during manufacturing to improve tackiness and that this weakened the tires in some way. This shows up in numerous articles [2][3][4][5] and I've found it mentioned in a class action lawsuit[6] which suggests that it was brought up in numerous other lawsuits. For that reason I think it should be kept but worded to suggest that it's not true. To me it's already out there, people may believe it already or will find it if they start read articles or lawsuits. To ignore it would suggest that the wikipedia article isn't complete. Ian m (talk) 01:40, 5 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The section heading is 'cause'. I prefer to see the subject of cause treated in the physical sense of causality (A implies B. what people believe or say does not imply cause). Your proposal treats cause in the moral/political sense of the word (people assign moral blame/responsibility). To treat cause in the moral sense will violate NPOV, in addition to simply being inaccurate. I suppose the statement could go in a section more focused on what views are held by different parties to the controversy. I can accept that the fact that people believe or say this may be germane to the subject, insofar as the article is about a 'controversy'. I don't think it belongs in a section focused on hard engineering / scientific reasons for the failures. AresLiam (talk) 05:29, 5 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I don't think I'm dealing with it in the moral/political sense. I'm not even sure where you see that. I also don't get why a "Causes" section has to be strictly based in engineering. If changes in worker behavior led to tires being assembled incorrectly and therefore the tires were weaker or prone failure then the cause of the problem isn't strictly an engineering / design / chemistry issue, it's also a quality control / labor management problem. Indeed it looks like these tire failures were probably not entirely due to problems in chemistry or design. The CEO Bridgestone stated that there were problems in quality control within Firestone that Bridgestone was not addressing. Workers at the factory stated, on top of the benzene issue, that tires were rolled across the floor in the middle of construction and that contaminants from the floor may have weakened adhesives. That they were piercing bubbles in tires during assembly with an awl, that they were inspecting ~100 tires per hour or ~700-800 per day and were signing off on tires that they didn't actually inspect. Those are all at least partly human resources / labor management problems, but it is still possible that those actions contributed to tire failures.
The labor strike section of this article does suggest that work was somehow sloppy or slapdash at different periods of time which suggests that the causes for the failures were not strictly based in engineering or design but were caused by poor management, quality control, or poor assembly by workers.
The engineering analyses I've read did find differences in the strength of tires between Decatur and Wilson/Joliette and also found a difference in the method that ingredients were mixed, but could not come to a definitive difference in assembly, chemistry, or engineering between Decatur and Wilson/Joliette that would cause these problems. These analyses didn't look into differences in the failure or strength of tires over time. Nor did they look for differences in the actions of workers over time so they couldn't come to conclusions on those subjects. But the fact that there were differences in the quality of tires over time but no significant differences in the methods of manufacture suggests that something was going on in Decatur on the labor or assembly end of things that led to these failures. That's a cause.
In the end this may all be an academic discussion because I'm finding information that benzene, among other organic solvents, will cause rubber to swell and dissolve. It seems likely that if a tire undergoes enough swelling or dissolving then it may be compromised. The right amount of benzene may hold the tire together, too much turns it into jello.
Ian m (talk) 01:00, 6 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Because of wikipedia's No Original Research policy, the content of the 'Causes' section should be limited to conclusions drawn in attributable sources. AresLiam (talk) 01:26, 7 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Where am I conducting original research? Ian m (talk) 13:55, 7 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]
The cites you give in support of the benzene claim contain no more than allegations from trial lawyers and one or two disgruntled former employees. Not exactly unbiased sources. The WP:NOR policy is about being able to source conclusions from reliable authority. From the NOR page: "Wikipedia does not publish original thought. All material in Wikipedia must be attributable to a reliable, published source. Articles must not contain any new analysis or synthesis that reaches or implies a conclusion not clearly stated in the published sources." None of the sources you give substantively supports the claim that benzene damages tires. Rather, these sources merely repeat allegations from a small number of biased parties who are not in a position to know whether benzene damages a tire. To get to 'Benzene damages tires', it seems to me that you are synthesizing something that does not really exist in these sources. I admire your tenacity in defending the claim, but I believe it is misguided in context of wikipedia. Judging from your edit history, it seems your only interest on wikipedia is the subject of the Ford/Firestone controversy. FYI, pushing an agenda is frowned upon, see Wikipedia:Advocacy. AresLiam (talk) 00:49, 8 September 2017 (UTC)Reply[reply]



I'm concerned about statement "Finally, the efforts of one attorney, Randell (Randy) C. Roberts at Roberts & Roberts, resulted in Firestone's hidden corporate documents being revealed to the public." While this lawyer and law firm may have contributed to the legal developments in court cases against Firestone and Ford, there were hundreds of lawsuits involving who knows how many lawyers and law firms many of which made significant contributions. Why is this one so special that it deserves mention? WP:BALASP. If we were to list each individual one then this article could go on forever. In addition, the citation references that law firm's own webpage which is hardly a reliable source WP:NOTRELIABLE. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Ian m (talkcontribs) 01:08, 8 April 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Actually, that lawyer's contribution was substantial. It broke the case open. Before that, other lawsuits were settled in secret. It was that lawyer that was able to have the documents released to the public, leading to the national recall. So I think it's worthy of inclusion. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:02, 25 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Where's the evidence that this was such a substantial legal watershed that it deserves mention? Again, without referencing the law firm's own website. Ian m (talk) 12:31, 12 September 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Personal Experience: For what it's worth.[edit]

    In the mid 90's I was employed by a automotive service shop that sold Good Year tires.  I had completed training on the science of tires some time before the Firestone and Ford controversy happened.  My service manager always told everyone to inflate customer tires to the psi indicated by the vehicle door sticker.  Due to my knowledge of tires verses load I had to disagree with him on this one case.
    The Ford Explorer was informing people to use 26 psi, but the load of the vehicle vs the capability of the tires required 30 psi (by my calculations).  He agreed after I explained my reasoning and some time later Ford recalled the Explorers.
    It wasn't long afterwards that I saw a vehicle that went through the recall and the only thing I noted that had changed was the addition of another sticker in the door.  It informed people to inflate tires to 30 psi.  My supervisor and I were amused to say the least.  We never saw new lower springs or wider stance.
    Other tires were failing too from other manufacturers, just not at the same rate.  Years later I still see explorers from the 90s flipping due to high and forward center of gravity.  The reason for the center of gravity being so far off was the design was based on an IH Scout 3 concept.  Ford just shortened the rear end and moved the center of gravity forward.
    The only source I have is my experience, knowledge and research.  I will happily answer any replies with as much information as I can as well as be more specific as needed.  Xanthemann (talk) 09:39, 14 February 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]



User:Greglocock Take a look the Manufacturing Facility section of the current edit. I didn't remove the image, there were two and I removed one of them and then added the Ford Explorer images. I suppose it's a fair debate about where the image goes, but it seems that two copies of the same image is redundant. --Ian m (talk) 20:27, 3 March 2019 (UTC)Reply[reply]


As someone NOT particularly familiar with this event (other than having lived through it): when I read through this article, an unreferenced remark in the last section (Financial) caught my attention because it seems to contradict what's stated before reference #13. "...cost Ford $3 billion." vs. "...cost Bridgestone/Firestone $1.67 billion[73] and Ford Motor Company $530 million." - which is correct? Or did I misunderstand something? Can it be clarified by someone who understands this topic? Thanks. Steve8394 (talk) 17:27, 30 May 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I'm honestly not sure, but I think the issue is time frame. The lower costs maybe first year costs and higher costs are costs over several years. That is worth looking into and clarifying though. Ian m (talk) 02:21, 12 December 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]