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Underinflated Tires Pose Serious Risk

    AURORA, Ill., Sept. 4 According to the AAA-Chicago Motor
Club, not only will underinflated tires reduce the performance of a vehicle's
handling and decrease its fuel efficiency, they also can pose a serious safety
hazard.  Tires with too little air can experience failure, tread separation
and dangerous blowouts.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that more than 70 deaths per year due to crashes caused by an underinflated tire could be avoided if motorists would carefully monitor their vehicle's tire pressure on a regular basis.

NHTSA also found that 27 percent of cars and 32 percent of vans, pickups and sport utility vehicles had at least one tire that was underinflated. Eight percent of light trucks and 3 percent of cars had all four tires underinflated.

"Driving on an underinflated tire can cause the rim of the wheel to rip through the tire thereby creating a dangerous situation," said Mark Bruno, AAA-CMC spokesman.

AAA-CMC suggests that motorists continually check their vehicle's tires for uneven wear patterns, and urge them to have a certified automotive mechanic inspect for bent wheels or sprung axle housings. In addition, motorists should consult their vehicle owner's manual for the proper air pressure level before inflating the tires.

The AAA-Chicago Motor Club is a not-for-profit, tax paying membership organization serving more than 800,000 members and the general public in Illinois and Northern Indiana. The AAA-Chicago Motor Club provides automotive, insurance, travel and financial services, and is a member of The Auto Club Group.

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