Ohio, May 2, 2002 -- Wildly fluctuating temperatures are
inflating problems for motorists this spring.
one day and 80 degrees the next make tire maintenance extremely
challenging, according to Goodyear. Temperature swings arewreaking
havoc on tires, specifically their inflation pressures, Bill Egan,
chief engineer of advanced tire technology, said.
in promoting National Tire Safety Week this week, is offering
several initiatives, including distributing tire care booklets,
offering free tire inspections and showcasing blimp on-board messaging.
The company's Pompano Beach, Fla., airship "Stars & Stripes"
even asks motorists a simple question: Got Air?
associated with the cold naturally leaves tires under-inflated,
making them susceptible to fast treadwear, diminished handling,
higherrolling resistance and tires "generally not performing
as designed," Egan said."People who don't keep pace
with the rapidly changing temperatures usually have tires running
low on air." Under-inflation, like its economic inflationary
cousin, can be costly, Egan said. Tires should be inflated to
the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation printed on a vehicle's
door placard or in the owner's manual, not the maximum limit stamped
on a tire sidewall. Inflation pressure normally should be checked
monthly or before a long trip; however, in the spring, those checks
should be made more often -- with every temperature change, he
said. A tire inflated at 32 pounds per square inch in 70-degree
weather will drop to 26 psi at freezing. In addition, tire life
decreases about 15 percent for every 20 percent the tire is under-inflated.
In fact, a passenger car tire could lose about one- third of its
life at 20 psi, he said. Fuel economy, meanwhile, takes a 10-
percent hit. Rapidly changing weather might mean daily inflation
pressure checks, Egan said. That's a hassle for motorists whose
vehicles aren't equipped with tire pressure-monitoring systems.
But it's a necessary inconvenience, he added. Egan said drivers
should buy a tire-pressure gauge to check inflation. The local
gas station might not be the best place to check or correct tire
from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found
that about 10 percent of gas station air pumps don't work, fewer
than half are equipped with pressure gauges and about 30 percent
over-report tire pressure.
to the weather could damage gas station inflation-pressure equipment,
Egan said. In addition, motorists could inadvertently pump water
into the tire during damp, rainy weather, which leads to deterioration
of the tire's internal components.
to an AAA tire safety survey, few checked for the correct inflation
pressure for their specific vehicle, such as looking in the owner's
manual -- 27 percent -- or on the tire inflation sticker on the
vehicle's door jamb -- 18 percent. Most American drivers -- 82
percent -- say their inflation pressure gets checked regularly,
at least once every three months, with 48 percent getting it checked
at least once a month."However, with these wide temperature
swings, even the monthly checks aren't enough," Egan said.
How they check tire inflation is even more important.
51 percent in the AAA study who said they check their own tire
pressure, 86 percent use their own tire gauge. The remainder practice
far less reliable methods. The research said 13 percent use a
service station gauge, 8 percent simply look at the tire and 3
percent thump the tire with a tool.
use of their own pressure gauge, Egan said, motorists may visit
their local Goodyear retailer for a free tire inspection and free