It won’t officially be summer for a few weeks yet, but many Iowans are already taking their summer road trips — and some of them will be riding on underinflated tires.
Anne Forristall-Lake, president of the Rubber Manufacturers Association, says only 17-percent of drivers surveyed know how to properly check their tire pressure.
“Open the door and look on the inside of the driver’s side door for the little sticker,” Forristall-Lake says. “It also has the proper tire pressure for the tires on that particular car. It’s in the owner’s manual as well.” When you check a tire’s pressure, the temperature of the tire is key.
“Check your tires cold,” she says. “When you drive a tire, heat builds up and that causes inflation. If your tires are warm when you check them, you might get a false reading.” Every year, she says there are 11,000 accidents nationwide that are tire-related. If you have a blow-out, you’ll need to change out the damaged tire for a spare, but some new vehicles don’t come equipped with a spare.
“Sixty-percent of people never check the pressure in their spare,” Forristall-Lake says. “If you’re lucky enough to still have an actual spare tire in your trunk, it’s important to make sure that you check the tire pressure and the condition of that tire as often as you’re checking your other tires.” About one in three drivers don’t know how to tell if their tires are bald.
To see if the tires are road-worthy, turn a penny upside down and stick it in the tire tread. If you can see the top of President Lincoln’s head, it’s time to replace the tire.
By Karla James