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More Tire Woes For Ford and Mercury - Recalls In Progress

Does your 2002 Explorer or Mercury Mountaineer Have Sliced Tires?

USA Today reported that Ford is recalling about 45,000 '02 Explorers and 7,000 mechanically similar Mercury Mountaineers manufactured in Louisville because their Goodyear and Michelin tires might have been sliced by a defect on the assembly line.

Ford acknowledged owners will start getting recall letters in about a week. Ford believes no more than 3700 of the 52,000 have sustained the damaged tires, but dealers will inspect the others to be sure.

No accidents have been reported from the cut tires, Ford spokesman Ken Zino says. Damaged tires will be replaced free. Owners who have paid to replace them will be reimbursed.

Previous Firestone Replacement Continues

Ford said that they will replace most or all the Firestone tires on pre-'02 Explorers and Mountaineers that were not part of the Firestone tire recall announced in August. The automaker says the non-recalled Firestones are failing, though much less often and without the disastrous results of the recalled tires. Those were blamed for at least 174 deaths when the treads separated and caused Explorers and Mountaineers to go out of control.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating whether to order Bridgestone/Firestone to expand the recall, but it won't decide for a few months. Ford doesn't want to wait.