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Tires: the Rodnet Dangerfield of Auto Parts

December 6, 2001

Sacramento - Ms. Wilcox's idea of presenting tires as a Valentine's Day gift may not be such a bad idea after all. While Ms. Wilcox and Dunlop were doing their poll on what Canadian's want for Christmas, the NHTSA was busy conducting its own survey among American drivers and its results are not as tongue in cheek. According to NHTSA, it has discovered that 9% of passenger cars on the road are driven with at least one bald tire. More over, 27% of passenger vehicles are driven with substantially under inflated tires.

If your tires are under inflated, where do you go? Your local garage? Maybe not. NHTSA learned in a separate study that 14% of gas stations are either not equipped with air pumps or have malfunctioning pumps. Only 49% of gas stations, NHTSA learned, are equipped to provide air pressure gauges. What good is a pump anyway without a gauge?

NHTSA says it is planning to launch a new tire safety campaign based on the theme "Everything Rides On It." The campaign will involve radio, TV, print ads and brochures and stress the importance of proper tire inflation and vehicle load limits. It will also encourage drivers to check their tire pressure monthly.

Maybe a tire pressure gauge would make a good Christmas gift.