Last week, the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) published the results of yet another tire pressure inflation survey and once again, they were quite disappointing. Only 9% of the 5,478 vehicles that participated in the survey had four properly inflated tires.
Not that I expected anything different. The RMA has been conducting these studies for years, and unfortunately, the results never seem to move in a substantially positive direction.
Despite the efforts of many well-intentioned organizations, including the RMA, tire pressure checks just don't seem to be a high priority for most drivers.
Maybe it's time to re-think how we as an industry approach tire inflation education.
Instead of focusing all of our efforts on educating veteran motorists -- whose bad car maintenance habits have been in place for years, perhaps decades -- I propose that we put some lobbying muscle into achieving the inclusion of tire inflation and maintenance information in driving education curricula -- and yes, that means tire maintenance-related questions on state driving license exams.
Soon-to-be-licensed drivers should know how to read a door jamb decal to obtain proper inflation specs. They should know what all of those weird numbers and letters on a tire's sidewall mean. And most importantly, they should know how to use a tire guage.
Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuit order, once said, "Give me the child until he is seven and I will give you the man." In other words, if you want to instill good habits or ingrain a way of thinking into a person, you must start the process early.
Perhaps that's the missing piece of the puzzle when it comes to tire inflation education?