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A 3-step approach to tire aging findings

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Tire aging is an important issue, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, it does not need to be addressed with further legislation at this time.

NHTSA recently released its 42-page report on tire aging and concluded that it is not necessary "for motor vehicle safety to add a tire aging requirement" to its light vehicle tire standard. Here's why.

1. Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) No. 139, "New pneumatic radial tires for light vehicles," has contributed "to an increased robustness of oven-aged light vehicles tires," according to the agency. "Our research has shown that oven-aged FMVSS No. 139-compliant tires are more resistant to degradation than oven-aged pre-FMVSS N. 139 tires."

2. Light vehicle tires "are performing better on the road as reflected in our most recent crash data."

3. The mandatory tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) requirement on light vehicles "has helped alert consumers to under-inflation that is also known to degrade tires faster."

As part of the report, NHTSA says it is coordinating a promotional and educational initiative to raise consumer awareness about not only tire aging issues, but also how to prevent failures resulting from aging tires.

NHTSA's decision was sound given that it "had trouble quantifying any benefit" of a specific tire aging standard, according to Dan Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA). The Tire Industry Association also came out in favor of the report.

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