TIA Offers Tips to Make a Summer Road Trip Safer and More Economical

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The Tire Industry Association (TIA) offers 7 tips for tire safety. By following these tire safety tips, drivers will be safer on the roads and improve fuel economy.

“Most people don’t realize that by following these simple tire safety tips, they can reach their destinations safely and improve their fuel economy," said Kevin Rohlwing, TIA Senior Vice President of Training.

In preparation for the Memorial Day holiday and summer vacations, the Tire Industry Association (TIA), one of the leading global authorities on tires, offers some tips that drivers can use to stay safe, reduce fuel consumption and thus make that getaway a reality.

1.    Check the tire pressure with a quality air gauge. According to TIA Senior Vice President of Training Kevin Rohlwing, improperly inflated tires are almost impossible to identify by just looking at the sidewall. Drivers should check the owner’s manual or the placard on the inside of the driver-side door to determine the correct inflation and use a quality air gauge to check the pressure first thing in the morning, when tires are “cold.” Improper inflation pressure also contributes to decreased fuel economy and poor handling.

2.    Perform a visual inspection of the tread and sidewall. Look for any exposed steel or fabric and if any material is visible, have the tire(s) replaced immediately. It’s also important to check for any irregular treadwear, bulges or anomalies and have the tires inspected by a professional if anything seems abnormal or out of place.

3.    Be sure not to overload your tires. Summertime activities often involve more luggage and equipment than normal and when you factor in the weight of the passengers, it can be too much for your tires to handle safely. Overloaded tires will also wear out faster and will not be as fuel-efficient, thus potentially costing you hundreds of dollars on replacement tires. Make sure to check the owner’s manual or placard on the door to ensure the maximum allowable limit is not being exceeded.

4.    Use the “penny test” to check for minimum tread depth. The old test still works – place a penny in a major tread groove of a tire with Lincoln’s head facing down. If the top of Lincoln’s head is visible at any point in any major tread groove, it’s a good sign that the tire needs to be replaced so drivers should take the vehicle to a tire professional.

5.    Rotate tires every 5,000 – 7,000 miles. Rotating tires on a regular basis is one of the best ways to get the maximum life out of your tires.

6.    If your tire is punctured, make sure the person who is repairing it performs the repairs off the wheel. The only proper way to repair tire damage is to remove the tire from the wheel. On-the-wheel repairs are dangerous, because there may be more damage to the tire than what is visible when it is on the wheel.

7.    Inspect your spare tire. Many people forget to regularly check the condition of their spare tire (including the inflation pressure) until one of their main tires is not working, and then, it’s too late!

“In most cases, tire-related problems are avoidable with some preventative maintenance, so drivers should take the extra time to ensure their tires are safe to operate. And, with high gas prices, TIA hopes that all drivers will follow these safe & economical tips not just for summer, but all year long,” said Rohlwing.

TIA encourages consumers to watch their new consumer education video, Tire Safety Starts with Proper Tire Repair, which specifically highlights safety tip #6. The video can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/tiresafetystartshere.

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Donna Sage
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