Debate Over Retreads On School Buses

The tires on your child's school bus might have problems. A story suggesting just that came across our Associated Press wire Monday morning, and got our attention, fast.

Here's exactly what the first line of that story said: "Goodyear is warning North Carolina officials that the school buses that children rode to class this morning may have problems with their tires."

The story cited an issue with retread tires.

We immediately started asking questions. Is this a real, valid threat?

First and foremost, before you pull your child off the school bus, let us say the Department of Public Instruction says it is not a problem.

All the controversy is surrounding a letter Goodyear sent to the state last month. The letter reportedly said Goodyear had received information the state's retread contractor, White's Tire Service of Wilson, put inaccurate information about load or air pressure on some Goodyear retreads.

That's true, says the head of that Wilson Company, Bobby White, true two years ago when his company discovered and addressed the problem, alerting the state about it.

In fact, the state tells us White's company then tested those mislabeled tires, and they performed at the load and pressure listed. White says the tires actually perform at twice the standard for new tires.

So if this is two years past, why the recent letter from Goodyear to the state of North Carolina? White tells us the state retread contract, worth millions of dollars, expires on February 28th, and Goodyear is vying for it.

Goodyear officials say the letter they sent to the state about retread tires wasn't a warning, but an informational letter. In fact, they say the national Highway Traffic Safety Administration instructed them to write the letter.