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Should I be concerned about the recent reports of failing valve stems and tires blowing out? Thanks.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Denise Koeth, Managing Editor at Tire Review Magazine The valve stems that were recalled were made between July and November of 2006, so if you've purchased tires since then, you may want to check just to be sure yours are safe. Tech International, the Chinese company that made the stems, has said the following model numbers have been recalled: TR413, TR413CH, TR414, TR415, TR418 and TR423. The only problem is you can*t check what model number you have unless you dismount the tire from the wheel and inspect if from the inside. The next time you take your car into a repair shop or dealership, ask them to check the valve stem for the model number. Most should do it free of charge, especially if they are already dismounting the wheels for another service. In the meantime, you should do a visual inspection of your valve stems. Remove the hubcap (if you have one) and move the top of the stem around with your fingers. Check for any signs of cracks in the base of the stem where it meets the wheel. Also, newer vehicles with direct tire pressure monitoring systems (that automatically alert you to air pressure drops in your tires) require special valve stems, unlike the generic-type valve stems that are involved in this recall, so there is no concern in that case.

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