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Proper Tire Care Helps Keep Your Vehicle Rolling; GM Goodwrench Offers Expert Tire Maintenance Tips

April is Car Care Month

DETROIT - Experts say that poor maintenance of a vehicle's tires is a risk no motorist can afford. During April Car Care Month, GM Goodwrench is reminding drivers of the importance of maintaining their tires to help avoid uneven wear, poor performance - or even blowouts, which may result in loss of control of the vehicle.

Most drivers would agree that tires are a critical safety component of their vehicle. However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates tire failures/blowouts contribute to 414 deaths and 10,275 non-fatal injuries each year in the U.S.

And, statistics show that some drivers don't follow the basic tire maintenance guidelines that can help prevent tire failures. For example, the Car Care Council reports that 26 percent of the vehicles inspected at check lanes during the last Car Care Month had low air pressure in one or more of their tires.

Under-inflation is the leading cause of tire failure, according to the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).

"We all want our families to be safe and secure on the road, and that begins with proper vehicle care and maintenance," said Doug Herberger, GM North America vice president and general manager of Service and Parts Operations. "Although today's tires are more technologically advanced than ever before, regular visual inspections and maintenance are critical to enabling tires to perform at their best."

What Causes a Tire to Blow Out? Besides obvious road hazards such as potholes and road debris, improper air pressure can cause a tire to blow out or fail.

Underinflation or overloading creates excessive stresses and heat, and can lead to tire failure, which could result in a crash leading to vehicle damage, serious injury or even death, according to the RMA. The association adds that proper inflation extends tire life and saves fuel.

Drivers can help prevent potential tire failures with expert advice and service from their dealership.

"GM Goodwrench dealerships have the expertise, knowledge and technology to make sure your tires and GM vehicle are properly maintained to help avoid problems down the road," added GM's Herberger.

Tire Tips

* Blowouts: If your tire sustains a blowout while you are driving, do not slam on your brakes. Slamming on your brakes can cause the vehicle to swerve in the direction of the blowout. Instead, gently apply the brakes to regain control and slowly guide the vehicle to a safe area away from the road.

* Air Pressure: Tire pressure is measured in pounds per square inch, or psi. Tires lose air through the process of permeation. Changes in outdoor temperature can affect the rate at which a tire loses air. Typically, a tire loses one pound to two pounds of pressure per month, and even more in warm weather.

To help avoid underinflation, the RMA recommends checking the air pressure in your tires at least once a month and before every long trip. Tires must be checked when they are cold - that is, before they have been run no more than one mile (1.6 km).

Never "bleed" or reduce air pressure when tires are hot. It is normal for pressures to build up as a result of driving.

Tread Wear/When to Buy a New Tire: You can check your tires for proper tread by taking a penny and pinching Lincoln's body between your thumb and forefinger. Put Lincoln's head in a groove on the tread. If any part of Lincoln's head is obscured by the tread, the tire has good tread. If you can see above his head, visit your GM Goodwrench dealership for a new tire.

Did You Know? According to the RMA, every time the outside temperature drops 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the air pressure in your tires goes down one pound to two pounds per square inch.

Other GM Goodwrench Maintenance Tips GM Goodwrench encourages consumers to visit their local dealership during April Car Care Month for an inspection to ensure that their vehicle is up to date on its maintenance needs. The inspections can point out items needing service - service that can help a vehicle run better, last longer, retain its value and provide optimal safety and security.

In addition to tires, these key items need to be inspected:

* Batteries: A weak battery can leave you stranded - possibly at the worst time and place. * Brakes: An expert inspection can determine whether your brakes are functioning properly with full braking capability. * Belts and hoses: A broken belt or ruptured hose can cause costly engine damage and travel delays. * Windshield wipers: Old or worn windshield wipers can lead to poor visibility in adverse weather conditions. * Headlamps: Properly aimed headlamps are a must for optimizing your visibility - both your seeing and your being seen. * Oil: If you're a GM owner with a vehicle equipped with the GM Oil Life System (OLS), you can use the Simplified Maintenance plan to save time, money and oil. The plan calls for you to visit your GM Goodwrench dealership only when your "Change Oil" light comes on, instead of every 3,000 miles. If you don't have GM OLS, change your oil and filter at intervals recommended in your GM owner's manual to minimize engine wear and reduce the possibility of internal damage. * Fluid levels: Improper fluid levels - including coolant, oil, power steering, transmission, brake fluid and even washer solvent - can negatively affect vehicle performance, durability and safety.

What is a Multi-Point Inspection? GM Goodwrench technicians perform comprehensive vehicle inspections to help customers keep their vehicles operating at optimal performance.

In addition to checking the brakes, tires, fluids and battery, here are a few inspections available at your GM Goodwrench dealership:

* Visual inspection of exhaust system * Visual inspection of engine air cleaner filter * Visual inspection of transmission, drive shaft and u-joints * Visual inspection of suspension and steering components * Visual inspection of radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses * Check interior lights, exterior lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and hazard warning lights

About the Rubber Manufacturers Association The Rubber Manufacturers Association is the national trade association for the rubber products industry. Its members include more than 100 companies that manufacture various rubber products, including tires, hoses, belts, seals, molded goods, and other finished rubber products. RMA members employ over 120,000 workers and account for more than $21 billion in annual sales.

About GM Goodwrench Goodwrench is the service brand for GM vehicles. With dealerships located nationwide, the GM Goodwrench network is one of the largest automotive service chains in the industry. GM Goodwrench technicians receive specialized training from General Motors to provide expert care for GM cars and trucks. Genuine GM replacement parts are manufactured to the exact specifications of the GM vehicle. For more information, visit the GM Goodwrench web site at