RMA: Less than 1 in 5 consumers is 'tire smart'

May 22, 2015

The summer driving season officially has begun, but many Americans will be wasting gas and putting themselves at risk because they're driving on poorly maintained, improperly inflated tires.

“No road trip should start without first checking tire pressure and inspecting tires for damage and insufficient tread depth,” says Dan Zielinski, senior vice president of public affairs for the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA.) “Vehicles with under inflated tires burn more gas and have a greater risk of tire damage that may lead to failure. Consumers who are tire smart and maintain tires will help keep their families safe, keep more money in their wallet and help the environment.”

A 2015 RMA survey found that more than 30% of U.S. drivers are less concerned about gas mileage performance since gas prices have dropped over the past year. A whopping 50% of drivers aged 18-29 say they are unconcerned with gas mileage performance.

“Tire care shouldn’t take a back seat because of lower gas prices,” Zielinski says.  “National Tire Safety Week is May 24-30 and is a good time to start a habit of regular, monthly tire maintenance to help promote safety, save money at the gas pump and help tires last.”

RMA survey findings include:

  • Only 17% of drivers are “tire smart” or know how to properly check tire pressure.
  • 1 out of 3 drivers don’t know that tires should be checked “cold” – before driving. 
  • 35% of drivers do not know how to tell if their tires are bald.
  • Nearly 6 out of 10 drivers do not check the tire pressure in their spare tire.
  • 4 in 10 drivers believe they can tell if a tire is under inflated just by looking at it.
  • Half of all drivers don’t know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their vehicle. (Label on a vehicle’s driver side door or owner’s manual; not tire sidewall.)

National Tire Safety Week is an RMA initiative designed to educate motorists about proper tire maintenance. The effort is part of RMA’s Be Tire Smart – Play Your PART national consumer education program.  PART is an acronym representing Pressure, Alignment, Rotation and Tread – the four key elements of tire care.

For more information about the RMA, visit www.rma.org.