Minneapolis Motorists Urged to “Be Tire Smart”

Poor Tire Care Costing Consumers at the Gas Pump

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.June 23, 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 Dan Zielinski, RMA vice president. ”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,” Zielinski 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 the Golden Valley American Car Care Center located at 600 Decatur Avenue North in Minneapolis from 7:30 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,” Zielinski said. This free tire care event will help Minneapolis 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, visitwww.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.

Tire Industry Study: Chronological Age Alone Does Not Determine When Tires Are Removed From Service

May 9, 2006 Presentation to SAE

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

WASHINGTON, D.C.May 23, 2006 - A comprehensive study of more than 14,000 scrap tires shows that chronological age alone cannot determine when a tire is removed from service.

The Rubber Manufacturers Association inspected tires at seven large scrap tire processors in seven states and recorded the tires’ date code and tread depth as well as whether the tires had been repaired or had any visible damage. The study data has been shared with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

RMA initiated the study late last year. In June 2005, RMA wrote to NHTSA urging the agency to examine whether a relationship existed between a tire’s safety performance and its chronological age. In the letter, RMA also agreed to work with the agency to provide information about chronological tire age.

“We believe that a good starting point for a discussion about chronological age and tires was to examine tires that had been removed from service,” said Laurie Baulig, RMA general counsel.

RMA’s scrap tire survey examined more than14,000 tires that had been removed from service. The date codes on the tires showed that the survey sample contained tires from one to sixteen years old. If chronological age was a determining factor in tire performance, the data would have shown a spike of tires removed from service after a particular time.

“If age was a sole factor in determining tire service life, our data would have shown a significant number of tires being removed from service at a particular point,” Baulig said. “Our data showed no magic date when tires are removed from service.”

Other study observations included:

  • 42 percent of tires in the study were removed due to wear-out (had tread at or below tread wear indicators). After the first year of service, 59 percent of tires in the study were removed due to wear-out.
  • 25 percent of the tires had road hazard damage.
  • 17 percent of the tires had been repaired.
  • Alarmingly, 87.5 percent of the observed tire repairs were improper – not performed with a plug and internal patch as specified by RMA tire repair guidelines.

The RMA scrap tire study encompassed 14,271 randomly selected tires observed at seven scrap processing facilities in five geographic regions of the country. The seven sites were located in Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon and Pennsylvania. Trained tire technicians from RMA member companies painstakingly observed approximately 2,000 tires at each site and recorded manufacture date code, tire wear and any visual damage or tire repair.

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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.

Most Motorists Fail to Properly Check Tire Pressure

Simple Tips Promote Safety, Improve Gas Mileage

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

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 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.

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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.