Millions of Motorists Need to “Get a Grip”

Survey Shows 28 Million Vehicles with At Least One Bald Tire!

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 19, 2010 - Millions of drivers are putting themselves at increased risk by driving with one or more bald tires. A tire industry survey showed that nearly 11 percent of vehicles had at least one bald tire, which can increase the risk of a crash particularly in wet weather conditions.

According to AAA, 94 percent of Thanksgiving travelers this year will drive to their destination. Of the estimated 254 million motorists who hit the road nearly 28 million could be at risk by driving on bald tires.

The 6,300 vehicle survey was sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the U.S. RMA is urging motorists to regularly check tire tread depth and replace worn out tires before they become a safety risk.

According to RMA checking tread depth is simple and only costs a penny. To do the “penny test,” take a penny; insert Abe Lincoln’s head upside down into the tread. If you can see all of his head, your tire is 2/32nds of an inch deep or less and should be replaced.

Tires also have “wear bars” built into them. These are indicators that appear when you have worn your tread down to the limit. These indicators are raised sections spaced intermittently in the bottom of the tread grooves. When they appear “even” with the outside of the tread, it’s time for tire replacement.

Other RMA research shows that 64 percent of motorists do not know how to tell if tires are bald and 9 percent never check their tires’ tread depth.

“Your tires are a critical vehicle safety component,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “Worn out tires cannot grip the road properly, increase stopping distances and can contribute to skidding or loss of vehicle control.”

Under wet weather conditions, bald tires can hydroplane, which occurs when the tire is riding on a film of water. This can lead to a loss of vehicle control and increase the risk of a crash.

Not only are too many motorists not paying attention to tread depth, they also are ignoring tire inflation pressure. Under inflated tires also pose a safety risk, wear out faster and increase vehicle fuel consumption.

A survey released by RMA earlier this year of more than 6,300 vehicles’ tire pressure conducted in March-May 2010 found:
• Only 17% of vehicles had four properly inflated tires.
• 55% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire.
• 15% of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi.)

Tire inflation pressure should be checked every month and before long trips. To properly check tire pressure, motorists should check once each month; check tires when cold – before the vehicle is driven and; use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure found on a label located on the driver’s door or door post or check the owner’s manual.

While basic tire maintenance only takes a few minutes each month, many tire retailers nationwide offer tire pressure and tread depth check at no charge.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.

10th National Tire Safety Week Announced

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846
dzielinski@rma.org

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 12, 2010 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association today announced the tenth Annual National Tire Safety Week will be held June 5-11, 2011.

National Tire Safety Week is an initiative of the RMA’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program, a year-round effort designed to help drivers learn the simple steps they can take to ensure that their tires are in good working condition. RMA is the national trade association for tire manufacturers.

Tire manufacturers and retailers nationwide will work to educate motorists about proper tire care and maintenance. RMA provides tire retailers, auto dealers and automotive repair shops with free “Be Tire Smart” brochures and other materials. Many participating retail outlets use the opportunity to promote tire care through advertising, promotions, free tire pressure checks and conducting media outreach.

More than 21,000 tire dealers, auto dealers and automotive repair shops participated during the 2010 National Tire Safety Week. RMA released a survey of more than 6,300 vehicles that showed 55% of vehicles had at least one under inflated tire. Fifteen percent of vehicles had at least one tire under inflated by 8 pounds per square inch (psi). Under inflated tires waste fuel, risk safety and cause tires to wear out faster. The study also showed that 10% of vehicles had at least one bald tire.

Partners in the Be Tire Smart program include tire retailers, auto dealers, safety advocates and state government agencies. Among the list of Be Tire Smart partners are: AAA, Automotive Service Excellence (ASE), Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Costco, Discount Tire Co., Dunn Tire, Expert Tire, Firestone Complete Auto Care, GCR Tire Centers, Goodyear Auto Centers, Hyundai Motor America, Just Tires, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, Midas, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire Factory, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tire and Auto Service, Tire Industry Association (TIA), Tire Kingdom, Tire One, Tires Plus, Tire Pros, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service, Wal-Mart Tire and Lube Express and many others.

Tire and auto retailers who are interested in obtaining free RMA materials for National Tire Safety Week can order them online at www.betiresmart.org. Those who have participated in the event before can expect to receive materials again this year.

The Be Tire Smart program is funded by RMA’s tire manufacturer members: Bridgestone Americas, Inc., Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company, The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Michelin North America, Inc., Pirelli Tire North America, Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas, Inc., and Yokohama Tire Corporation.

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for tire manufacturers that make tires in the U.S.