Schrader-Bridgeport International, Inc., marketer of AirAware TPMS systems, components and tools, supports National Tire Safety Week, April 20-26, with a reminder to drivers that proper tire inflation can help save fuel and money. With properly maintained tires, the average driver could save as much as two weeks’ worth of gas every year a significant savings with fuel prices at current levels.
According to research by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA), the sponsor of National Tire Safety Week, 85 percent of drivers surveyed do not check tire pressure properly. Two out of three drivers don’t know where to find the recommended proper tire inflation pressure for their vehicles. As a result, an estimated four out of ten vehicles on the road have at least one under-inflated tire.
Schrader urges drivers to check their tire pressure with a gauge at least once per month, and before any long motor trip. Tires should be inflated to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations printed on the driver’s side doorframe or in the owner’s manual, not the maximum limit stamped on a tire sidewall. To obtain the proper reading, tires should be checked when they are cold and haven’t been driven for at least three hours.
Government studies indicate that proper inflation can improve gas mileage by more than three percent with regular maintenance, since under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by 0.4 percent for every pound-per-square-inch drop in pressure.
The U.S. Energy Department estimates that every pound per square inch of tire under-inflation wastes four million gallons of gas per day in the U.S. Tires that are 20 percent under-inflated five to seven pounds per square inch can increase fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent, or two to three miles per gallon, while reducing tread life as much as 15 percent.
In addition to good fuel economy, proper tire inflation is critical for safety, maximum tire life and proper vehicle handling. Under-inflation increases the rolling resistance of tires, which increases fuel consumption and subjects tires to excess stress and heat prime contributors to tire failure, including blowouts at high speed. Under-inflated tires also wear out more quickly.
Properly inflated tires are harder and roll more easily, which helps fuel economy and improves tire life. Proper inflation allows tire treads to grip better in all conditions, including rain and snow. Properly inflated tires function with a vehicle’s suspension to provide maximum handling, steering and braking ability.
The RMA also points out that vehicles equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) can help motorists detect loss of tire pressure, since Federal regulations require TPMS to warn drivers when tires are 25 percent under inflated. However, this warning may be too late to prevent damage. TPMS units are NOT a replacement for monthly tire pressure checks with a gauge.
For further information, go to www.schrader-bridgeport.com.