“Neglecting tires hurts your wallet at the gas station,” says Dan Zielinski, spokesman for the Rubber Manufacturers Association, a trade association for tire manufacturers. “Under-inflated tires make your engine work harder and waste gas. It’s the same principle if your bicycle tires are low on air -- your legs work harder to get you where you’re going.”
More than one in four vehicles on the road is wasting gasoline due to under inflation. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that 27 percent of passenger cars and 32 percent of light trucks had at least one significantly under-inflated tire. An RMA survey found that 85 percent of motorists do not properly check tire inflation pressure.
Poor tire care causes tires to wear out faster, which means more scrap tires and an added cost of buying new tires more often. NHTSA estimates that under-inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. So, proper tire inflation will not only keep money in your pocket but help keep you safe on the road.
“Checking tire pressure is easy and takes just five minutes,” Zielinski says. “If you have questions, thousands of tire dealers across the country will do it for you free of charge.”
RMA’s tire manufacturer members sponsor a national tire care education program called “Be Tire Smart -- Play Your Part.” The group urges motorists to check tire pressure at least once a month. The recommended tire pressure for every vehicle is located on a label on the driver’s door or door post or check the owner’s manual. Also, check tires when cold -- before driving.
Other tips include to check wheel alignments periodically, rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles and check tread each month for cuts, bulges, punctures or other damage. Also, check tread depth using the “penny test.” Insert a penny head first into the tread groove. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, it is time for a new tire.
For more tire care tips, visit www.betiresmart.org.