Most Motorists Fail to Properly Check Tire Pressure

Simple Tips Promote Safety, Improve Gas Mileage

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.April 24, 2006 – Better tire maintenance by motorists could reduce highway crashes, save gasoline and keep tires rolling longer according to tire manufacturers, motorist safety advocates and California highway safety officials.

Officials with the California Highway Patrol (CHP), California Office of Traffic Safety (OTS), AAA of Northern California and the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) joined forces at the start of National Tire Safety Week to urge motorists to take five minutes each month to check tire pressure or to take advantage of free tire pressure services offered by tire retailers, auto dealers, AAA-approved auto repair shops and other outlets statewide.

In a written communication, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger expressed his support to raising California drivers’ awareness of the importance of tire maintenance. “Sound automobile tire care and maintenance protects motorist safety and saves lives,” he wrote.

During today’s event at the Goodyear Auto Center in downtown Sacramento, motorists will be provided with free tire pressure checks and received free tire gauges.

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.

“Our efforts are aimed at getting consumers to be aware of basic tire care practices,” said Donald B. Shea, RMA President and CEO. “Properly inflated tires maximize safety, improve fuel economy and will help tires last longer.”

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) statistics show that nearly one out of every three vehicles on the road 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.

“Tires connect our vehicles to the road,” said CHP Assistant Chief Steve Beeuwsaert. “Ensuring the safety of your car and your passengers includes regular tire care and maintenance. Under inflated and over inflated tires can both be safety hazards. It is the CHP’s goal to make sure all drivers arrive safely to every destination. Motorists can do their part and protect family and friends by checking their tires at least once a month.”

AAA too often sees the consequences of the lack of tire maintenance – in California, more than 1 million calls per year are tire related. To help consumers with tire care, AAA-approved facilities throughout the state offer free maintenance and safety inspections to check for tire wear and proper inflation.

“Making sure tires are properly inflated is one of the easiest and most important maintenance procedures for drivers. Not only does it promote safety but also will save money at the gas pump,” said Jenny Mack of AAA of Northern California.

The Automobile Club of Southern California also lent its support of National Tire Safety Week. “AAA Approved Auto Repair facilities throughout the state offer free tire pressure service to all motorists,” said Elaine Beno, spokesperson for the Automobile Club of Southern California.

The California Office of Traffic Safety urged motorists to include tire care in a regular routine to ensure that their vehicles are road-worthy. “The goal here is to ensure that motorists throughout the state are taking a quick check of their tires once a month. We want tire safety to be as basic as buckling your seat belt,” said OTS Director Christopher J. Murphy.

As a kickoff to National Tire Safety Week, RMA is co-hosting tire care events in Sacramento, Calif., Phoenix, Ariz. and Austin, Texas. This year, more than 14,000 retail stores across the country will be distributing RMA tire safety information. Nearly every tire retail outlet provides free tire pressure inflation services to all motorists.

“Motorists are welcome to all Goodyear Auto Centers for free tire pressure service throughout the year,” said Goodyear Auto Center store manager Tom Heliker. “It only takes five minutes each month with a tire gauge to check tire pressure. We’re happy to perform this service or to show drivers how to do it themselves.”

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.

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

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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.