Tire Safety Awareness

The Rubber Manufacturers Association is sponsoring the seventh annual National Tire Safety Week April 20-26 to help raise awareness about the importance of tire care. Under inflated tires increase driving risks, waste fuel and cause tires to wear out faster but the majority of U.S. motorists pay little attention to their tires. A national survey indicates that 85% of American drivers do not properly check tire inflation pressure and they should. With gas prices rising again to record levels, motorists can save a little extra time and money by taking that extra 5 minutes each month to check their tires.

Checking your tires monthly not only saves your fuel but can also help save your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), under inflated tires contribute to 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year. NHTSA estimates that about one in four cars have at least one significantly under inflated tire.

In order to keep your tires in good condition check your tire pressure, alignment, rotation and tread on a regular basis.

  • Pressure
    • Improper inflation pressure creates excessive stress and heat and can lead to tire failure. The "right amount" of inflation for your tires is specified by the vehicle manufacturer and is shown on either the vehicle door edge, door post, glove box door or fuel door and is also listed in the owner's manual NOT on the side of the tire. Be sure to check tires when they are cool – meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile. And don't forget to check your spare!
  • Alignment
    • Misalignment of wheels in the front or rear can cause uneven and rapid tread wear and should be corrected by a tire dealer. Have your alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner's manual or whenever you have an indication of trouble such as "pulling." Also have your tire balance checked periodically – an unbalanced tire and wheel assembly may result in irregular wear or vibration.
  • Rotation
    • Sometimes irregular tire wear can be corrected by rotating your tires. Refer to your vehicle owner's manual, the tire manufacturer or your tire dealer for the appropriate rotation pattern for your vehicle.
  • Tread
    • Tires must be replaced when the tread is worn down to 2/32 of an inch. When tire traction is lost, it is easier to hydroplane in bad weather. To determine if your tires are worn, place a penny into a tread groove and if part of Lincoln's head is covered by the tread, the tread is still good. But if you can see all of Lincoln's head, the tire needs to be replaced.

For more information about tire safety please visit The Rubber Manufacturers Association at www.rma.org/.

04/01/2008 - 1:46pm