Auto Club: Your Vehicle's Tires Are Key to Good Fuel Economy

Extend the Life of Your Tires During Tire Safety Week

(Los Angeles, April 24, 2006) — Motorists can get maximum fuel economy by making sure their tires are in good working condition, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The need for proper tire maintenance is so important that National Tire Safety Week, the week of April 23, was launched to help drivers understand basic tire care. Research shows that about 85% of drivers don't properly check tire pressure.

Any Auto Club member whose vehicle is being serviced next week at any Auto Club Approved Auto Repair facility may request a free 38-point maintenance inspection that includes a tire inspection and tire pressure check. A list of locations can be found at www.aaa.com and in Auto Club offices.

"Not knowing the condition of your vehicle's tires is equal to pouring money down the drain," said Steve Mazor, the Auto Club's Principal Automotive Engineer. "Proper tire inflation is necessary for safe driving and to reduce gasoline costs, which are at record high prices now."

"Under-inflated tires can cut fuel economy by up to 2 percent per pound of pressure below the recommended level," said Mazor. Every other fill-up, motorists should walk around their vehicles and check tires for uneven or excessive tread wear and proper inflation. They can refer to the vehicle's doorjamb or glove box for original specifications or the manufacturer of the replacement tire for tire pressure inflation," he added.

California and many other states have minimum tread depth laws. Motorists shouldn't drive on minimum tire tread before replacing tires, said Mazor. Passenger cars shouldn't operate on tires below 2/32" tread depth.

To determine if new tires are needed, motorists can use a coin as a tire tread depth gauge. Place a U.S. penny, Lincoln's head first, into several tread grooves. If part of Lincoln's head is covered by tread, then more than 2/32" tread depth remains. (Don't place the coin on top of the wear bar, a thick elevated strip of rubber running across the base of tire grooves.) If you need to purchase new tires, be sure replacements meet manufacturers speed/load specifications for your vehicle.

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