October 31, 2007

AAA warns motorists that tire pressure monitoring systems should not replace monthly tire checks

Orlando, Florida – The American Automobile Association (AAA) is warning motorists that tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) should not be considered a substitute for monthly tire pressure checks. The systems, which are mandatory on all model-year 2008 passenger vehicles in the U.S., are also common on vehicles sold in Canada.

TPMS illuminates an in-dash warning light when the pressure in one or more tires is at least 25 per cent under-inflated, which AAA says is well below the pressure required for safe driving.

According to a recent survey by the Rubber Manufacturers Association, 40 percent of motorists said if their vehicle was equipped with TPMS, they would either never check their tire pressures, or would check them only if the warning light came on. More than two-thirds said they would be less concerned with routinely maintaining their tires if their vehicle had TPMS.

“It’s extremely important that motorists do not wait until the warning light comes on to check their tires’ pressure,” said John Nielsen, director, AAA Approved Auto Repair Network. “If a tire is losing pressure from a slow leak, a motorist could drive on an under-inflated tire for weeks or even months before the warning light comes on. Under-inflated tires cause poor handling, increased stopping distances, reduced fuel economy and premature wear. What’s more, a heavily-loaded and under-inflated tire could overheat and blow out, leading to a possible loss of vehicle control and a crash. AAA strongly recommends that motorists continue to check their tires’ pressure at least once a month to ensure their driving safety, as well as those around them.”

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