Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death Caused by Tire Manufacturers' Cost Cutting, Employees Paid on a Commission Basis
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Personal Injuries and Wrongful Death Caused by Tire Manufacturers' Cost Cutting, Employees Paid on a Commission Basis

Thursday, August 12, 2004By Richard Alexander

Many tire-manufacturing workers are paid on a commission basis, depending on the number of tires they produced or inspect each day.

The commission compensation system for tire builders is intended to promote the manufacture of defective tires and consumers pay for it with tire failures that cause personal injuries and deaths. The incentive is to produce tires, regardless of quality, so that a tire builder can increase take home pay.

The interliner is the foundational structure in building a tire. When an interliner is not placed correct it will cause a catastrophic failure. No tire should be made and sold unless the interliner is wrapped with a sufficient overlap at the splice to assure a full and complete interliner. A defective interliner precludes the tire from operating as a whole structure and is the weak point that initiates a separation of the tread from the belts and results in destructive failure.

Because the interliner is vulcanized in the interior of the tire there is no way to inspect the interliner's position or splice once the tire is made.

The proper placement of the interliner is under the sole and exclusive control of the tire builder at the beginning of the tire building process. Tire builders are often paid on a commission basis. This is the last person who should be paid based on production.

It is also not unusual to pay tire inspectors on a commission basis as well. Paying inspectors on a commission on tires approved results in inspections that are superficial and passes tires for sale that are defective. In one case, a Cooper Tire employee reported he was required to inspect 4,000 tires during a 12-hour shift to earn a living wage. That is less than 11 second per tire assuming no lunch, bathroom or rest breaks. Quality control on this time schedule is superficial and the system is designed to approve tires that are defective.

Cutting Back on Tire Materials

Tire manufacturers save money is by reducing the amount of rubber in a tire, which impacts overall tire strength. A lighter tire is a cheaper tire, that generates more profit, but it increases the risk of delaminating and catastrophic failure.

Tire companies commonly remove anti-oxidant and anti-ozone components [known as the AO package] of the base rubber stock used in the manufacture of tires to save money. These components of the tire rubber control and limit the aging of tires and the absence of the anti-oxidants causes rubber to deteriorate, literally dry out, reduces tire strength and results in dangerous and defective tires.

Do not be misled by evaluating a tire based on tread depth. Even with good tread depth, a tire will be weakened and deteriorated because of the absence of anti-oxidants and exposure to hot weather.

Vehicles driven in the "sun" crescent of the U.S. stretching from the Southern Atlantic Coast, across the South to the Southern Pacific Coast have tires that are more susceptible to premature aging as a result of both the absence of anti-oxidants and heat.

After three years in the Sun Belt, a tire with good tread is weakened and potentially dangerous. Never rely upon a visual inspection of an older tire. Check the "serial number" on the tire with a dealer. The serial number is a mold number, which identifies the year and week of manufacture.

Tragically, companies build tires for sale in the United States are designed to fall apart before they wear out, unlike tires made by the same companies for sale in Europe. Tires manufactured for sale in Europe have anti-oxidant and anti-ozone components and are actually stronger and safer than tires sold in the U.S. because European safety enforcement exceeds that provided by the U. S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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