(LOS ANGELES, June 3, 2011) – During the 10th National Tire Safety Week, June 5-11, motorists can visit Automobile Club of Southern California branches for a free “Be Tire Smart” brochure which provides tire care tips. And drivers really should drop by because 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate tires, according to the latest Rubber Manufacturers (RMA) survey.
The tire maintenance education program and observance which the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA helped the RMA launch a decade ago is especially important with gas prices that remain higher than a year ago. Under-inflated tires waste expensive fuel, risk safety and cause tires to be replaced sooner.
During the next three months, AAA anticipates that it will come to the rescue of 1.2 million stranded motorists with tire issues. In Southern California, the Auto Club rescues about 50,000 members with flat tires or other tire issues each month. Under-inflated tires pose a safety risk because they generate heat inside the tire, which can cause damage that leads to failure. Under-inflated tires are attributed to crashes that result in 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year, according to NHTSA.
The U.S. Dept. of Energy estimates that properly inflated tires with good tire tread improve vehicle fuel economy by 3.3 percent (12 cents per gallon).
“Car owners should check their tires monthly and that includes checking the spare,” said the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center Manager Steve Mazor. “Proper tire care, including maintaining the correct pressure, means owners will replace tires less often and use less fuel, which results in a big savings.”
The Auto Club recommends that motorists take five minutes to:
- Check tires monthly, when cool, for uneven or excessive tread wear and proper inflation.
- Refer to the vehicle’s doorjamb, fuel-filler flap, or glove box for original equipment specifications or the manufacturer of the replacement tire for proper inflation. The correct PSI (pounds per square inch of air pressure) for tires is located on the vehicle’s tire information label – not the sidewall of the tire.
- Inflate tires to recommended pressure.
- Rotate the car’s tires regularly. Typically every 5,000 miles—following the recommended rotation patterns in your owner’s manual. Check your car’s wheel alignment so that the tires wear evenly.