Auto Club Demonstrates How Improper Tire Care Can Affect Safety as Part of National Tire Check Day

Poll Suggests 85 Percent of Motorists Don’t Know How to Check Tire Pressure

 (LOS ANGELES, Oct. 20, 2006) -- Falling and rising temperatures and wet or snowy weather conditions will affect how your vehicle grips the road. If tires are under-inflated or bald you may not be as connected to the road as you think, according to the Automobile Club of Southern California.

To highlight driving safety, help consumers save money and reduce roadside breakdowns, the Auto Club and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) have teamed up to promote National Tire Check Day Friday. Manny Ginez, a master certified automotive technician from the Auto Club’s Approved Auto Repair Program, will be speaking to a group of seniors at the Friendly Hills County Club, 8500 S. Villaverde Drive in Whittier at 12:30 p.m. today about visual inspections of tires, wear patterns and tips on proper tire care.

To also help Auto Club members with their vehicle maintenance, the Club’s Approved Auto Repair facilities also are offering a oil and filter change, 38-pt. vehicle maintenance inspection, tire rotation, battery test and brake inspection for $29.99 during AAA Car Care Month in October and November at participating AAA-Approved Auto Repair facilities. To find a repair facility, call (800) 713-0003 or visit AAA.com.

An RMA poll released today shows only 34 percent of respondents know how to tell if their tires are bald. The study also reveals motorists lack of knowledge on proper tire placement. Four out of five drivers don’t know the proper mounting position when replacing two bald tires with two new tires.

Federal government and tire industry data show that too many motorists are not paying enough attention to the only component that keeps a car on the road: the tires.

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show one in every three cars has a significantly under inflated tire. Every year tire blow-outs cause an average of 23,000 vehicle crashes, while low tire pressure claims 660 lives and injures 33,000 people, according to NHTSA. Not surprisingly, a September RMA survey found that 85 percent of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.

“Despite the risk posed by poorly maintained tires, too many motorists are neglecting tire care,” says Ginez. “Taking five minutes each month to check and adjust tire pressure can enhance safety, improve fuel economy and help tires last longer.”

“When it comes time to replace tires, the best course of action is to replace all four at the same time using quality tires of the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended size,” says Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president. However, if you replace only two tires Zielinski recommends that they be installed on the rear axle to ensure maximum vehicle stability.

AAA and RMA also suggest motorists check their owner’s manual for additional tire replacement recommendations for their vehicle.

A nationwide RMA survey in September 2006 found:  

  • Motorists rank tire care among the top two maintenance practices needed to ensure a vehicle is in good condition and safe to drive.

  • Motorists said checking tire pressure is the number one maintenance practice they can perform to maximize fuel efficiency.

  • 79 percent of motorists reported they own a tire gauge.

But despite these findings…  

  • Only 15 percent of drivers properly check their tire pressure including checking the pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold, and inflating them to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure.

  • 26 percent of drivers mistakenly believe the best time to check their tires is when they are warm after being driven several miles.

  • Only 36 percent of drivers know where to find the recommended tire pressure for their vehicle. It is in the owner’s manual, and also usually printed on a tire information decal attached to the driver’s door jamb.

  • 55 percent of drivers mistakenly believe the inflation pressure molded into the tire sidewall is the recommendation for their vehicle.

  • Only 34 percent of drivers know how to tell if their tires are bald.

  • Four out of five drivers do not know that the rear axle is the proper mounting position when replacing only two tires.

Additional information on tire safety, driving tips, and proper tire care may be found on AAA club web sites at www.AAA.com, on the RMA’s web site at www.betiresmart.org and on the NHTSA’s web site at www.safercar.gov. The Rubber Manufacturers Association, based in Washington, D.C., is the national trade association for U.S. tire manufacturers.

The Automobile Club of Southern California, the largest member of the AAA federation of motor clubs, has served members since 1900. Today, the Auto Club’s members benefit by the organization’s roadside service, insurance services, travel agency, financial products, automotive pricing and car buying programs, automotive testing and analysis, trip planning services, and transportation safety programs. Information about these products and services is available on the Auto Club’s Web site at www.AAA.com.

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