A survey reveals that the vast majority of Ontario vehicle owners understand the financial and environmental value of properly inflated tires… but few know how or when to check them.
According to the recent study, conducted by Leger on behalf of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada, the average motorist could improve gas mileage by as much as 3% simply by keeping tires inflated to the correct pressure.
Only 34 per cent of Ontario drivers said they check their tire inflation monthly. Approximately 69 per cent do not know that tire inflation pressures should only be measured when tires are cold. And 41 per cent refer to the air pressure stamped on the tire’s sidewall when identifying the correct pressure for their tires. (This imprinted sidewall pressure is the maximum pressure a tire can contain under load, not the recommended pressure. Prolonged driving at this inflation pressure could result in uneven and reduced traction.)
Notably, 21 per cent of drivers rely on visual inspections, rather than an air pressure gauge, to determine if their tires are inflated properly. (A tire can be underinflated by 25 per cent and still look normal.)
The tire industry says underinflated tires in Canada will waste about 500 million litres of fuel – enough fuel to power 275,000 vehicles for a full year. This additional fuel consumption will set drivers back about $650 million at the pump, and release an additional 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
Among motorists who say proper tire inflation is important to them, top reasons cited include: vehicle safety (84 per cent), longer tire life (74 per cent), fuel economy (73 per cent) and improved vehicle handling (71 per cent).
“Canadian drivers understand the benefits of proper tire inflation and that’s great news,” says Glenn Maidment, president of the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC), which represents tire makers. “However, the survey also emphasizes the urgent requirement for broader driver knowledge and education on tire inflation facts and procedures. The need is particularly acute among younger drivers who are significantly less likely to know inflation pressures should be measured monthly and when tires are cold. Learning a few simple facts and procedures advances safety, maximizes fuel efficiency and protects the environment.”
A recent TRAC survey also found that 81 per cent of Canadian drivers are unfamiliar with low rolling resistance (LRR) tires. These tires are designed with specialized tread patterns that keep vehicles moving efficiently, advanced rubber technologies and materials that minimize internal movements inside the rubber itself and materials that lower weight, increase rigidity and improve aerodynamics. The result is a range of two to four per cent in improved fuel economy. For motorists who drive approximately 25,000 km per year, this translates to between $50 to $100 in fuel savings per year, so the average motorist can expect to save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of these tires.
To help motorists improve their fuel-saving know-how, TRAC is providing an informative ‘Get Fuel Fit’ Guide – a free, online resource offering advice on tire selection, maintenance and driving habits that improve fuel economy and protect the environment.
May 14 to 21, 2018, is National Be Tire Smart Week, during which the tire industry will be reminding motorists about the fuel efficiency, safety and environmental benefits of proper tire inflation and maintenance.