Sat08302014

On The Road

Survey: drivers clean cars more than they check pressure in tires

American drivers seem more concerned about keeping their cars clean than keeping their tires properly inflated. According to the federal government, 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries occur every year as a result of low-tire-pressure-related crashes.

A recent Rubber Manufacturers Association survey found that nearly 70 percent of drivers wash their vehicles at least once a month, while only 15 percent of drivers check their tire pressure.

"We think it's more important to have a safe car than a clean car," said Donald B. Shea, RMA president and CEO. "Motorists who spend $12 a month to clean their car can afford to spend five minutes checking their tires."

Shea added that well-maintained tires promote safety, improve fuel economy and help maximize tire life. The RMA recommends these tire-care tips to keep you safe and save you money at the fuel pump.

• Don't be caught under pressure. Check your tire pressure monthly with a tire gauge. The correct pressure is found on the driver's door or door edge or in the owner's manual. Don't use the inflation pressure stamped on the tire sidewall; that is the maximum pressure for the tire. Also, check tire pressure before you drive even a mile so that tires are cold to get an accurate reading.

• Not so good vibrations. Misalignment of wheels can cause uneven and rapid tread wear. Have your alignment checked periodically as specified by the vehicle owner's manual. Also have your tire balance checked periodically. An unbalanced tire and wheel assembly could result in irregular wear or vibration.

• Take turns with your tires. Treat your tires as a team and rotate them every 5,000-8,000 miles to help them wear evenly and optimize their longevity. Consult your vehicle manual or tire dealer for the appropriate rotation pattern. If your vehicle has a matching, full-size spare tire, consult the owner's manual for rotation instructions.

• Let Lincoln tell you if you're legal. Tires must be replaced when the tread is down to 2/32nds of an inch to reduce the threat of hydroplaning. An easy test: put a penny into a tread groove. If you see all of Lincoln's head, it's time for a new tire.

- Courtesy of ARA content

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