“Motorists risk tire damage if they wait to check tires until they see a dashboard warning light after a 25 percent loss of tire pressure,” says Dan Zielinski, RMA senior vice president. “For many vehicles, a pressure loss of less than 25 percent increases risk. That’s why motorists must check tire pressure every month with a tire gauge.”
An RMA survey indicates that tire pressure monitoring systems may cause drivers to become more complacent about tire care. Two-thirds of drivers reported that they would be “less concerned with routinely maintaining” tire pressure if their vehicle had a monitoring system. The federal government estimates that under inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year.
Additionally, when asked how often they would check tire pressure if their vehicle were equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, an alarming 40 percent of drivers said that they would either “never” manually check tire pressure or check it “only when the warning light comes on.”
“Tire pressure monitoring systems can be effective at detecting an unexpected loss of tire pressure,” Zielinski says. “But it is no substitute for regular tire maintenance with a tire gauge.” Tires can lose one to two pounds-per-square inch (PSI) of pressure each month.
RMA recommends that tire pressure be checked at least once per month and before long trips. Motorists should use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure that is found on a sticker on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. Never use the pressure listed on the tire sidewall. Also check tires when they are cold or wait at least three hours after driving on them.
For more information, visit www.BeTireSmart.org.