Mississauga, Ontario – Use a gauge, not a gaze, when measuring tire inflation for safety and fuel economy, according to Be Tire Smart.

Since the air in tires supports about 95 per cent of the vehicle’s weight, under-inflation is the most common cause of tire failure and can lead to poor or delayed braking, steering or acceleration. Under-inflated tires also have a smaller footprint on the road surface, which weakens their grip, resulting in reduce stopping, cornering and handling capabilities. Seriously under-inflated tires can also fail suddenly due to a build-up of extreme heat.

“Our research shows clearly that tire under-inflation is both widespread and a significant safety issue,” said Glenn Maidment, president of the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC). “Tire makers build incredible performance capabilities into their tires to give motorists a safe and enjoyable driving experience. But it is up to vehicle owners to ensure that they properly inflate and maintain their tires, so they perform as their builders intended.”

According to RAC research, nearly one-quarter of Canadian drivers have at least one tire that is under-inflated by more than 20 per cent, while nearly 70 per cent drive on one or more tires that are low by more than ten per cent. A tire can be under-inflated by 20 per cent or more and not look noticeably different; the only accurate way to measure is with a reliable gauge, which can be purchased for a few dollars.

Another common error is assuming that the maximum pressure stamped on the tire’s sidewall is right for everyday driving. That level refers to the maximum pressure the tire can contain under maximum load, and is not the vehicle manufacturer’s recommended air pressure for normal driving conditions. Always use the air pressure stipulated by the vehicle placard on the door jamb, or in the owner’s manual.

For more information on checking tire pressure, visit Be Tire Smart.

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