The U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) today announced the kick-off of National Tire Safety Week, an industry-led initiative to raise awareness and educate consumers about proper tire care and safety. This year’s theme and hashtag, #KnowYourRoll, will run through Memorial Day.
This year’s National Tire Safety Week coincides with the announcement of the formation of the bipartisan Congressional Tire Caucus, co-chaired by Reps. Joe Wilson (R-S.C.) and Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.). The caucus was created to facilitate an exchange of ideas and information important to the U.S. tire manufacturing industry in the name of economic impact, sustainability, safety and future mobility.
“U.S. tire manufacturers continue to invest tremendous resources innovating tires so they are safer and more sustainable than just a decade ago,” said Anne Forristall Luke, president and CEO of USTMA. “National Tire Safety Week is a chance to highlight the importance of the drivers’ role in the safety equation through regular maintenance and simple tire pressure and wear checks. Just like fastening your seatbelt – an action that’s become synonymous with safety–proper tire care and maintenance also need to be top of mind when it comes to ensuring the safety of all motorists on the road.”
USTMA is committed to helping consumers understand important facts about tire care and maintenance. Our members’ public outreach campaigns empower drivers, especially teen drivers and young adults, to check the condition of their tires as the full summer road trip season begins. A number of member companies, including Bridgestone, Cooper Tire, Goodyear, Michelin, Toyo Tires and Yokohama Tire have developed initiatives focused on the annual tire safety campaign.
A recent survey by AAA found that almost 100 million Americans are planning travel this spring and summer. Unfortunately, many happy road trips will be interrupted by car trouble. AAA predicts it will be called on to rescue up to 8 million drivers from problems like dead batteries, lock-outs and flat tires.
USTMA recommends drivers check their tire pressure monthly, regularly check their tire tread depth and ensure that tires are rotated and properly aligned. Fewer than half of drivers believe—incorrectly—they can determine if a tire is under inflated just by looking at it. And less than one in five know how to properly check tire pressure. Those are two important reasons why proper tire maintenance and periodic inspections by a tire professional are essential for optimum performance and service life of tires.
Additionally, USTMA has been actively advocating in state legislatures to advance laws to protect consumers from unsafe used tires that put drivers at risk. Nearly 38 million used tires were sold in 2017. Once a tire has been mounted on a vehicle and driven, it’s considered a used tire. While new tires must meet stringent federal safety standards to be sold in the U.S., worn tires can be resold as used with virtually no restrictions.
National Tire Safety Week is an annual USTMA initiative aimed at helping consumers learn the simple yet essential steps for proper tire care and maintenance, and is supported by USTMA members: Bridgestone Americas, Inc.; Continental Tire the Americas, LLC; Cooper Tire & Rubber Company; Giti Tire (USA) Ltd.; The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company; Hankook Tire America Corp; Kumho Tire U.S.A., Inc.; Michelin North America, Inc.; Pirelli Tire North America; Sumitomo Rubber Industries; Toyo Tire Holdings of Americas Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corporation.
Maintaining a vehicle’s tires is essential to maximize tire life and ensure safety on the road. There is no better time to start than National Tire Safety Week in May to start checking tire pressure and condition regularly, says the Car Care Council.
Ensure that your vehicle is in prime driving condition, here are five tips from Hankook Tire for tire safety:
- Check the tire pressure
Tire inflation has a direct impact on driver safety and performance, so it should be effectively maintained to ensure optimized driving, tire life and mileage. Tire pressure can decrease by one psi a month, and inflation can also fluctuate with the outside temperature. Check the tire pressure before every road trip or at least monthly. The optimum air pressure level for tires can be found on the inner side of the car door, inside the fuel cap or in the car manual. Before using an air pressure gauge to check the pressure levels, the vehicle should be inactive for at least three hours.
Over-inflated tires can result in excessive tread wear and can make the tires more vulnerable to road hazards such as potholes and road debris. Underinflated tires often result in decreased performance, lower fuel economy and shortened tire life.
- Monitor tire tread
Tire treads determine how much traction a vehicle will have in variable road conditions. As a car drives, tread length is gradually worn down by road friction and eventually requires replacement, which underscores the need for consistent monitoring. Ideal traction starts with healthy tread wear, as the deeper the groove (or tread), the better the tire grips to the road. To determine if a tire’s tread is too worn, simply take a penny and insert it heads-down into the tread of the tire. If Lincoln’s head is visible, it’s time for a new tire.
- Watch for wear and tear
While checking the tread, be sure to also inspect for bumps, bruises or other visible damage to the tires that could impact driving performance and tire pressure levels. A bulge or bubble on a tire’s sidewall is not easy to spot, but can indicate an air leak or tire defect which can have a significant impact on performance and safety. If there is a defect, replace the tire with a size that matches the driver’s vehicle, driving style and geographic location.
- Schedule rotation and alignment checks
Periodic tire rotation and alignment checks are lesser-known, but important habits for tire care and safety. Due to the different weight distributions over a car’s front and rear axles, tires will wear differently over time. The practice of rotating tires ensures even tire wear and alignment and maximizes tire life span. Hankook recommends rotating tires every six months or 6,000-8,000 miles and ensuring that wheel alignment checks are part of annual inspections, or conducted every 12,000 miles. Proper wheel alignment helps prevent vibration, skidding and road noise, and regular rotation prevents abnormal tread wear, both of which can help maximize the life of the tires and the driver’s investment.
- Check for air in the spare
Don’t take having a spare tire for granted. A recent Hankook Gauge Index survey revealed that 29 percent of Americans never check their spare tire’s air pressure, which can create a larger issue if the time comes to perform a roadside tire change. To locate the tire’s recommended PSI, check the driver’s side door jamb or owner’s manual. Drivers who end up on the side of the road with a flat tire will be thankful they checked their spare before leaving the driveway.