“Fall” Back Into a Tire Maintenance Routine

Don’t Let New Vehicle Technology Replace Your Old-Fashioned Tire Gauge

For more information contact:
Dan Zielinski
(202) 682-4846

WASHINGTON, D.C.October 2, 2007 – If you are buying a new car this fall, newly mandated devices will help monitor your vehicle’s tire pressure. However, a tire industry group cautions that new tire pressure monitoring systems are not a replacement for an old-fashioned tire gauge.

Federal law requires every new 2008 model year vehicle to come equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system that will warn a driver when tire pressure drops 25 percent. The Rubber Manufacturers Association, which represents tire manufacturers, says that is no reason to throw away your tire gauge.

“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 system.

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 said. “But it is no substitute for regular tire maintenance with a tire gauge.” Tires can lose 1-2 pounds-per-square inch (PSI) of pressure each month.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that about one in every three cars has a significantly under inflated tire and that 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low tire pressure-related crashes. According to RMA, 85 percent of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.

“With Fall here, checking tire pressure is important because tire pressure drops 1-2 PSI for every 10 degree drop in temperature,” Zielinski said. “Keeping tires properly inflated promotes safety, maximizes fuel economy and helps tires last.”

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include 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.