Four in Five Drivers Do Not Properly Check Tire Pressure

Regular Tire Care Can Improve Gas Mileage and Maximize Vehicle Safety

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.April 23, 2006 - 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. AAA reports that each year they receive about 4 million roadside assistance calls due to tire-related incidents. Not surprisingly, a 2006 Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) survey found that more than 80 percent of drivers do not know how to properly check their tire pressure.

According to the Department of Energy properly inflated tires can also improve gas mileage by around 3.3 percent and save 9 cents per gallon at the gas pump. RMA’s goal is to encourage motorists to take better care of their tires.

“Not enough drivers are taking proper care of their tires and that can have an effect on vehicle safety,” said Donald B. Shea, RMA President and CEO. “Properly inflated tires promote safety, help tires last longer and maximize fuel efficiency.”

An RMA nationwide survey conducted in February, found:

  • Only 19 percent of drivers properly check their tire inflation pressure. Properly checking tires means checking at least once a month before tires have been driven even a mile and inflating them to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended pressure, not the pressure listed on the tire sidewall.
  • 28 percent of drivers wrongly believe that the best time to check their tires is when they are warm after being driven at least a few miles.
  • Less than half of drivers know where to find the correct tire pressure – on a sticker in their vehicle that’s usually found on the driver’s door or in the owner’s manual. 53 percent wrongly believe that the correct pressure is found on the tire sidewall.
  • 73 percent of drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire.
  • Each month, three out of four drivers wash their car while only about one in five correctly checks their tire pressure.

To address these driver shortfalls, the RMA today announced the kickoff of the fifth annual National Tire Safety Week. As part of its “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program, RMA has designated the last week of April to educate motorists about the importance of tire safety and proper tire care. PART stands for Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread. To prepare for this week RMA has worked with more than 14,000 retail partners throughout the country to open their garage doors for drivers looking for instruction and information on tire care and maintenance. Many tire dealers and auto repair shops offer free tire inflation pressure services throughout the year.

National Tire Safety Week is an initiative of RMA’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program to promote proper tire care, which leads to a safer driving experience. PART stands for Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread, four basic elements of tire care. 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, American Car Care Centers, Big 10 Tires, Belle Tire, Big O Tires, Discount Tire Co., Firestone Complete Auto Care, Goodyear Auto Service Centers, Kaufman Tire, Les Schwab, Merchant’s Tire, National Tire and Battery (NTB), National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), Northwest Tire, Peerless Tires, Pep Boys, ProCare Automotive Services, Sears Automotive Centers, STS Tire and Auto Centers, Sullivan Tires, Tire Centers-LLC, Tire Factory, Tire Kingdom, Tires Plus, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service and many others.

More information about the “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program and National Tire Safety Week can be found at www.betiresmart.org. Additional tire safety information can be found at NHTSA’s web site, www.safercar.gov and on AAA club web sites at www.aaa.com.

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

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The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 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.