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Most Drivers Don't Know Basics
of Tire Care

In Response to Research, First National Tire Safety Week Launches


Tip: Regularly rotating your vehicle's tires will help you achieve more uniform wear. Unless your vehicle owner's manual has a specific recommendation, the guideline for tire rotation is about every 6,000 miles.

Do you know the first thing about taking care of your tires? Most U.S. drivers don't, according to research by the Rubber Manufacturers Association.

Nearly 90 percent of drivers surveyed this year aren’t checking their tire pressure properly and many do not know enough about how to care for their tires correctly. In response to its research, the Rubber Manufacturers Association created National Tire Safety Week, a campaign dedicated to educating drivers about the importance of tire safety, and urging them to check their tires once a month.

"Our research shows a significant need for tire safety education throughout the country, especially as we approach the busy summer driving season," said Donald B. Shea, RMA President and CEO.

The RMA released results from a survey conducted by FrederickPolls in February 2002 on U.S. drivers’ attitudes toward and knowledge of basic tire safety, revealing that drivers need to be better informed about proper tire care. The RMA research found that 89 percent of drivers are not checking their tire pressure properly and 66 percent of drivers don’t know where to find the proper tire inflation pressure for their vehicle’s tires. Also, more than half of drivers surveyed don’t know what a tire ‘wear bar’ is and that it indicates when tires are bald.

Keeping tires at the recommended inflation pressure will help reduce the risk of tire failure. Tread is important because it grips the road, providing tires with traction.

As summer approaches, more drivers will be hitting the highways for their summer destinations. RMA also found that one in three drivers is not checking the pressure in their tires before taking a long trip with a fully loaded vehicle. One in four drivers incorrectly believes that they are better off having their tires a little bit underinflated when their vehicles are fully loaded. Excess baggage and items in a car can put additional pressure and stress on tires, which could lead to tire failure.

RMA research, combined with other tire-related data by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and AAA, is alarming. NHTSA found that one in four passenger cars and one in three light trucks/SUVs has at least one significantly underinflated tire, totaling nearly 60 million vehicles. NHTSA also found that nine percent of passenger cars have at least one bald tire.

"Checking your tire pressure could literally mean the difference between life and death. We urge all motorists to check their tires monthly and before long road trips," said Annette M. Sandberg, Deputy Administrator of NHTSA.

To better protect motorists, NHTSA last November launched a tire safety campaign stressing the importance of proper tire inflation and vehicle load limits. The campaign is also designed to encourage motorists to check their tires monthly, as well as prior to a long trip, to be sure they have adequate tread.

For more information and tips on tire care, visit the Rubber Manufacturers Association's website. For tips on how to choose the best tires for your vehicle, click here.

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