Poor Tire Care Costing Consumers at the Gas Pump
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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 20, 2006 - Motorists who plan on hitting the road for summer vacation can save money and promote safety by taking just five minutes each month to keep their tires properly inflated, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
“Poor tire care is leading many drivers to waste fuel and money,” said Kim Weber, RMA director, government relations. ”Under inflated tires make your car burn more fuel due to increased friction between your car and the road.”
A survey by RMA found that 63 percent of motorists chose maintaining tire pressure as the most important action to take to save money at the gas pump. However, 81 percent of drivers fail to properly check tire pressure.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, properly inflated tires can improve vehicle fuel economy by 3.3 percent and save about nine cents per gallon of gas.
Proper tire care also has a more important benefit – safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under inflated tires contribute to 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. Other government research shows that about one in four passenger cars and nearly one in three light trucks have at least one significantly under inflated tire.
“Tires that are poorly maintained are a safety risk,” Weber said. “Under inflation causes tires to experience heat buildup that may lead to tire damage. If you combine under inflated tires with hot summer temperatures and fully-loaded vehicles traveling at highway speeds, you could be a risk for tire failure.”
Drivers can take advantage of a free tire care clinic at Firestone Complete Auto Care located at 407 South 6th Street in Springfield from 7:00 a.m. until noon. The tire care clinic will offer motorists a free inflation pressure and tread depth check plus an opportunity to learn proper tire care and maintenance. Motorists who visit the clinic will get a free tire gauge and tire care information.
“RMA research shows drivers do not know enough about proper tire care,” Weber said. This free tire care event will help Springfield drivers become more aware of the importance of checking their tires.”
Other findings from RMA include:
- Each month, three out of four drivers wash their cars while only one out of seven correctly checks their tire pressure.
- More than half of drivers — 53 percent — wrongly believe that the correct inflation pressure is printed on the tire sidewall.
- 29 percent of drivers wrongly believe that the best time to check their tires is when they are warm after being driven for at least a few miles.
- 73 percent of drivers never check the pressure in their spare tire.
RMA launched the Be Tire Smart — Play Your PART program in 2000. The educational program aims to teach drivers about the importance of taking simple care and maintenance steps to keep tires safe and performing at optimal levels. Nationwide, more than 15,000 tire dealers, automobile and safety organizations across the country distribute RMA’s tire safety information to consumers. For additional tire safety tips or to learn more about the Be Tire Smart program, visit www.betiresmart.org.
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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.