This week marks the 11th National Tire Safety Week dedicated to the importance of tire care. Drivers should take note because 60 percent of motorists wash their car every month, but only 15 percent properly check tire inflation once a month, according to the latest Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) survey.
The following statistics point out risks associated with under-inflated tires:
- During summer 2011, the Auto Club rescued of 1.6 million stranded motorists and of those, 200,349 were for flat tires.
- 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 under-inflated tires wastes more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline annually.
- 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).
- Under-inflated tires waste expensive fuel, risk safety and cause tires to be replaced sooner, according to the Auto Club’s Automotive Research Center Manager Steve Mazor. “Proper tire care, including maintaining the correct pressure in all five tires, means owners will replace tires less often and use less fuel, which results in a big savings,” according to Mazor.
The Auto Club also recommends that motorists check all five tires for proper inflation since most motorists forget to check the spare tire in their trunk and reminds motorists that their new vehicle may not come equipped with a spare. AAA research shows that 13 percent of 2011 model cars had no spare. This growing issue was covered extensively in a two-page story describing temporary spare tires, mobility kits, and run-flat tires in the current issue of the Auto Club’s member magazine, Westways
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and AAA helped the RMA launch the tire education observance over a decade ago which is especially important with gas prices that remain higher than a year ago.
The Auto Club urges 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.
Motorists can visit Automobile Club of Southern California branches for a free “Be Tire Smart” brochure filled with tire care tips or download one at www.rma.org