America Needs Inflation

Under Inflated Tires Increase Safety Risks, Waste Gasoline

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.June 4, 2012 - The verdict is in: America needs inflation – for tires.

A survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, the national trade association for tire manufacturers, show only about one in six vehicles have four properly inflated tires and only 15 percent of drivers know how to properly check tire pressure. Under inflated tires are a safety risk, waste gasoline and cause tires to wear out faster.

This week marks the 11th annual National Tire Safety Week (June 3-9), an RMA initiative dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of tire care.

Properly inflated tires helps to optimize vehicle safety and fuel economy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that under inflated tires contribute to more than 600 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that under inflated tires wastes more than 1 billion gallons of gasoline annually.

“America needs inflation,” said RMA President and CEO Charles Cannon. “In just five minutes every month, motorists can ensure that their tires are properly inflated which promotes safety, better fuel economy and helps prevent premature wear.”

A phone survey of 1,000 U.S. drivers, sponsored by RMA, paints a bleak picture of Americans’ tire care knowledge and practices.

  • 62% of drivers don’t know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle’s tires
  • 43% of drivers don’t know that tires should be checked “cold” – before driving, rather than after driving
  • 60% of drivers wash their cars once a month, only 15% properly check tire pressure once a month
  • 20% of men surveyed vs. 9% of women are “tire smart”

Another RMA-sponsored survey of more than 6,000 vehicles 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).

Solving America’s inflation problem is easy, according to RMA, and only takes five minutes every month. To properly check tire pressure RMA recommends that motorists:

  • Check tire pressure monthly and before long trips.
  • Use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure. This information is found on a label on the driver’s side door post or motorists can check their owner’s manual.
  • Check tires when cold, before driving. Otherwise, tires become warm when driven which increases tire pressure.

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

Are Your Tires Gasping For Air?

 RMA, AAA, NHTSA Continue Effort to Educate Motorists about Proper Tire Care

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.June 2, 2011 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), AAA, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Fairfax County, Va. police teamed up today at the Fairfax County Police Emergency Vehicle Operations Center to demonstrate the hazards posed by under inflated tires. The event also kicks off next week’s 10th annual National Tire Safety Week (June 5-11), an initiative of RMA’s Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART tire maintenance education program.

Fairfax police driving instructors first drove vehicles with properly inflated tires and then vehicles with significantly under inflated tires through simple maneuvers to demonstrate how vehicle handling is negatively affected by poor tire maintenance.

According to a RMA survey, millions of U.S. drivers do not know how to properly check tire pressure. This puts them and others at risk and wastes fuel. The survey found that 85 percent of motorists do not know how to properly inflate tires. Under inflated tires pose a safety risk because they generate heat inside the tire, which can cause damage that leads to failure. The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that properly inflated tires will improve vehicle fuel economy by 3.3 percent and save up to 12 cents per gallon at the pump.

“Ten years ago, NHTSA and AAA helped RMA launch National Tire Safety Week,” said Charles Cannon, RMA president and CEO. “Our partnership and efforts continue today because our job is not finished. Too many drivers fail to do one simple task every month that will reduce their safety risk and help our nation conserve valuable natural resources. Checking tire pressure takes just five minutes and it’s worth every second.”

NHTSA Administrator David L. Strickland, whose agency is charged with creating and enforcing national highway safety standards for vehicles and tires said, “Tires are a critical safety component on vehicles and the only parts that touch the road. NHTSA imposes stringent testing requirements for every tire sold in the U.S. to ensure the strongest consumer protection possible. But, the only way to ensure the continued safety performance of tires is for consumers to play their part with regular maintenance starting with inflation pressure. Without the right pressure, consumers are risking safety.”

AAA Vice President for Public Affairs Kathleen Marvaso noted that AAA will respond to more than one million motorist assistance requests for tire related issues this summer alone, “This summer, AAA anticipates it will come to the rescue of 1.2 million stranded motorists with tire-related issues. Many of these can be avoided by taking a few minutes once a month to ensure tires are properly inflated. During AAA Car Care Month vehicle inspections, technicians found tire issues were the most frequently occurring problem as one out of five vehicles inspected had incorrect tire pressure levels. Improper pressure levels not only put driver’s safety at risk but also can cost them extra money in gasoline and tire replacement costs during a time when many are looking to save money.”

Captain Susan Culin, Commander of the Fairfax County Police Traffic Division, said the department works hard to educate county residents about important vehicle maintenance and safety information. “Fairfax officers too often see the consequences of poorly maintained vehicles on county roads,” Collins said. “We appreciate the opportunity to work with industry, safety advocates and government agencies to educate drivers. Tires that are under inflated or bald will not grip the road properly and that increases the risk of crash. We urge all motorists to follow simple tire care tips to make sure they get to where they’re going safely.”

RMA urges all motorists to Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART. PART is an acronym for Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread – the four key elements of tire care.

  • Pressure: Check air pressure, under-inflation is the leading cause of wear and tear of tires
  • Alignment: Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid tread-wear
  • Rotation: Regularly rotating your vehicle’s tires will help you achieve more uniform wear
  • Tread: Advanced and unusual wear can reduce the ability of tread to grip the road in adverse conditions

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

As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet atAAA.com.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. NHTSA sets and enforces safety performance standards for motor vehicles and equipment, and through grants to state and local governments enables them to conduct effective local highway safety programs. NHTSA investigates safety defects in motor vehicles, sets and enforces fuel economy standards, helps states and local communities reduce the threat of drunk drivers, promotes the use of safety belts, child safety seats and air bags, investigates odometer fraud, establishes and enforces vehicle anti-theft regulations and provides consumer information on motor vehicle safety topics

Tire Manufacturer Group Issues Service Bulletin for Nitrogen Inflation of Passenger and Light Truck Tires

TISB 44-Using Nitrogen to Inflate Passenger and Light Truck Tires in Normal Service Applications

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.November 6, 2006 - The Rubber Manufacturers Association today issued a service bulletin on “Using Nitrogen to Inflate Passenger and Light Truck Tires in Normal Service Applications.”

The use of nitrogen inflation systems by tire retailers has increased in recent years. RMA, which represents tire manufacturers, issued the Tire Information Service Bulletin to provide general information about inflating tires with nitrogen.

The RMA bulletin notes that nitrogen is an inert (non-flammable) gas – basically, nothing more than dry air with oxygen removed (air contains about 78% nitrogen). Because of its inert properties, nitrogen is often used in highly specialized service applications and/or demanding environments.

Applications such as aircraft, mining, and commercial/heavy use utilize nitrogen to help reduce the risk of internal combustion (fire) if the brake/rim/wheel components overheat. Also, dry nitrogen is used in professional racing to help reduce variation in inflation pressures (caused by moisture) where even small differences in pressure can affect vehicle handling at the extreme limits of performance.

For normal tire service applications, nitrogen inflation is not required. However, nitrogen inflation is permissible as its properties may contribute to minor reductions in inflation pressure loss. Nevertheless, several other sources of pressure leaks, such as punctures, tire/rim interface (bead), valve, valve/rim interface, and the wheel, may negate the benefit of nitrogen.

If the tire inflation pressure is below the pressure specified on the vehicle placard, the tire must be re-inflated – whether with air or nitrogen – to the proper inflation pressure.

RMA warns that depending on nitrogen alone to reduce the requirements for inflation maintenance may, in fact, lead to under inflated operation, which may result in premature tire failure.

“With the right amount of inflation pressure, you will achieve optimum tire performance,” RMA wrote. “This means your tires will wear longer, save fuel and help prevent accidents.”

And above all, the RMA bulletin strongly reminded motorists to check tire pressure at least once a month when tires are cold and to use the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended inflation pressure.

“Whether inflated by air or nitrogen, regular inflation pressure maintenance remains critical and necessary,” RMA wrote. “Use of nitrogen alone is not a replacement for regular inflation pressure maintenance.”

Consumers can download RMA’s Tire Service Information Bulletins at www.rma.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.

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.