Can't Replace Your Tire Gauge
you're buying a new car this fall, federally
mandated tire pressure monitoring systems
will help oversee your vehicle's tire
pressure. However, a tire industry group
cautions that the newly required system
is not a replacement for old-fashioned
As of the 2008 model year, federal law requires that every model year vehicle come equipped with
a tire pressure monitoring system, which
will warn a driver when tire pressure
drops by 25 percent. However, the Rubber
Manufacturers Association, which represents
tire manufacturers, warns drivers against
throwing out their tire gauges.
"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," said Dan Zielinski,
RMA vice president, communications. "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."
A 2007 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
Additionally, when asked how often they
would check tire pressure if their vehicle
were equipped with a 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
"Tire pressure monitoring systems
can be effective at detecting an unexpected
loss of tire pressure," Zielinski
said. "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.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
(NHTSA) reports that one in every three
cars has a significantly under-inflated
tire. Additionally, every year nearly
660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur
as a result of low tire pressure-related
crashes. According to the RMA, 85 percent
of drivers do not even know how to properly
check tire pressure.
"With fall here, checking tire pressure
is important because tire pressure drops
one to two psi for every 10-degree drop
in temperature," Zielinski said.
"Keeping tires properly inflated
promotes safety, maximizes fuel economy
and helps tires last."
The RMA is the national trade association
for the rubber products industry. Its
members include more than 80 companies
that manufacture various rubber products
including tires, hoses, belts, seals,
molded goods and other finished rubber
products. RMA members employ over 120,000
workers and account for more than $21
billion in annual sales. All RMA press
releases are available at http://www.rma.org/.