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Yet another Chinese import causes problems for Americans. The latest defective products are valve stems. Valve stems are the little black protrusions that are on the inside of each wheel and allow the tire to be inflated with air.

If a valve stem cracks, the air in the tire can suddenly escape, similar to a blow out, and the vehicle can go out of control and crash. The valves that are defective were sold between September 2006 and June 2007. There are some 30 million of these valve stems that were manufactured by Topseal, a subsidiary of Shanghai Baolong Automotive Corp. The valves were distributed by Dill Air Controls, an Oxford North Carolina, company.

Dill has issued a technical bulletin to its customers warning retailers to inspect the valves when the customers come in for regular service.

At this time the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is investigating the problem.

During these hot summer months, I expect to see more of these failures as the heat from the pavement causes the rubber to decay faster.

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