“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
dzielinski@rma.org

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.

Many U.S. Drivers “Under Pressure”

Survey Finds Fewer Motorists Checking Tire Pressure

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.April 23, 2007 - U.S. drivers are less attentive to their tires than a year ago, according to a nationwide survey. Just over 50 percent of drivers say they have checked their tire pressure within the past month compared to 70 percent last year at a time when fuel prices peaked.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) urges motorist to check tire pressure each month to promote vehicle safety, improve fuel efficiency and maximize tire longevity. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reported that low tire pressure-related crashes are to blame for 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries every year. NHTSA estimates that about one in four cars and one in three light trucks has at least one significantly under inflated tire.

“Low tire pressure is a safety concern,” said Donald B. Shea, RMA President and CEO. “Our most recent survey suggests that when gas prices began to drop last fall, so did drivers’ attention to their tires. Motorists need to understand that tire pressure is more than just saving a couple of dollars at the pump.”

Driver complacency may grow as mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) begin to be installed in vehicles. In 2008, all new cars will be equipped with a TPMS that will alert drivers when tire pressure drops 25 percent. Survey results indicate that more than two-thirds of drivers said that they would be less concerned with regular tire maintenance if their vehicle were equipped with TPMS.

“Tire pressure monitors are not a replacement for using a tire gauge every month,” said Shea. “Since tire pressure monitors only issue a warning after a significant drop in tire pressure, motorists are risking tire damage by ignoring regular maintenance.”

An RMA nationwide survey conducted in February found:

  • Only 55 percent of drivers say they have checked tire pressure within the past month compared to 70 percent last year when fuel prices peaked.
  • A total of 40% of drivers said that if their vehicle were equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system, they would either never check tire pressure (16%) or would only check tire pressure if they saw the dashboard warning light (24%).
  • Nearly seven in ten drivers wash their vehicle every month but barely more than half check tire pressure monthly.
  • 45 percent of drivers wrongly believe that the correct inflation pressure is printed on the tire sidewall. Another 15 percent do not know where to find the correct pressure.
  • 26 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.
  • 63 percent of motorists cite checking tire pressure as a top fuel saving tip. (2006 survey)

These alarming statistics are a critical reason why RMA is sponsoring the sixth annual National Tire Safety Week, which runs April 22 – 28. National Tire Safety Week is an initiative of RMA’s “Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART” program to educate motorists about the importance of proper tire care and promote a safer driving experience. PART stands for pressure, alignment, rotation and tread, the four key elements of tire care.

More than 17,000 tire dealers, auto dealers, AAA clubs and others throughout the country will make RMA tire care information brochures available to consumers during National Tire Safety Week. Additionally, most tire retail locations provide free tire pressure services to motorists throughout the year.

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., Dunn Tire, Firestone Complete Auto Care, Goodyear Auto Service Centers, Just Tires, 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 Factory, Tire Kingdom, Tires Plus, Town Fair Tires, VIP Parts, Tires and Service, Wal-Mart/Sam’s Club 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.

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., Toyo Tire North America 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 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.

Sixth National Tire Safety Week Reaches Record Participation

More Than 17,000 Tire and Auto Repair Outlets To Participate

“Be Tire Smart” Brochure

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

 WASHINGTON, D.C.March 14, 2007 - More than 17,000 tire and auto repair outlets will be offering consumers information to help them “Be Tire Smart” for the sixth annual National Tire Safety Week sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association April 22-28.

Participants in this year’s National Tire Safety Week will see a revised “Be Tire Smart” brochure with a new and improved look and additional information about tire pressure monitoring systems, nitrogen inflation and help in finding a vehicle’s tire information label.

“Evaluating and improving the content of the Be Tire Smart program is important to continually engage motorists with reminders that tire care is a critical component of vehicle safety,” said Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president, communications.

RMA is planning a number of events around the country prior to and during National Tire Safety Week including radio public service announcements, media outreach and tire safety events. Many participants in National Tire Safety Week also are planning their own promotional, advertising and community outreach activities.

“Each year, we are more grateful for the effort by all of the tire retailers, auto dealers, auto repair shops, AAA clubs and others who work with us to communicate important tire care information to consumers,” Zielinski said. “Many of those businesses continue this education effort throughout the year and serve as a resource to their customers and communities.”

For more information about participating in National Tire Safety Week, visit www.rma.org.

# # # #

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.