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Safety Alert: Over-Inflated/ Under-Inflated Tires - Watch Out!

Tires.jpgOver-Inflated/ Under-Inflated tires- Watch out!

As the summer driving season is underway, five minutes at the air pump could save you time and money. Keeping your tires inflated to the right pressure improves fuel economy and reduces the likelihood of breakdowns and even accidents. A tire 25% below its recommended pressure is three times as likely to be involved in a crash, while a tire 25% high is twice as likely as a properly inflated tire, according to data from the National Highway Transportation Safety Agency. The air in your tires is what actually carries the weight of your car. Proper inflation gives your tires the structural integrity to carry you safely from point A to B. Since 2008, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMSs) have been mandatory in passenger cars, which include SUVs. As early as 2006, however, 30 percent of new passenger cars were already equipped with TPMSs. A TPMS alerts the driver if a tire is underinflated. A "telltale" or "lantern" activates on the vehicle's dashboard display indicating that one of the tires is underinflated.

Under-inflation is bad for the tire and can lead to a potentially dangerous situation. It can stress a tire beyond what it was designed to withstand, which can negatively impact the tire's performance and lead to tire failure. Under-inflation puts too much pressure on the tire's sidewalls. They look like they're bulging outward.

Experts in the tire industry say that when "Tire wear increases, and so does fuel consumption, because it takes more energy to roll an under-inflated tire down the road." Under-inflation also increases tire damage, creating weak spots that could fail later, even after the tires are back at the right pressure.

Over-inflated tires are trouble, too. The can cause blowouts on long drives, carrying heavy loads or in extremely hot temperatures. They also impair handling because over-inflation means less of the tire's surface is in contact with the road than the manufacturer intended.

"You should never exceed the upper pressure limit specified on the tire.

Regardless, as you head out for a road trip, check your tire pressure. The correct pressure should be written on the tires' sidewalls and a decal inside the driver's door. You can buy a tire gauge for a few bucks at a gas station, auto parts store or drug store.

TPMS Gauges - Watch out!

According to a Rubber Manufacturers Association 2016 survey, half of 1,000 people surveyed believe the maximum inflation pressure, which is listed on a tire's sidewall, is the proper inflation pressure regardless of the vehicle that is using the tire. Proper inflation is listed on a placard located on the driver's-side doorframe of the vehicle. The same survey indicates that 40 percent of people think visual examination of a tire is enough to determine if the tire is underinflated. Another recent study shows that only one in ten drivers ignores a TPMS telltale. So TPMS is a helpful tool to avoid underinflation.

It goes without saying, America's roads have been made safer through the auto manufacturers' implementation of TPMSs in their vehicles. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, vehicles with TPMSs, when properly used, are less likely to be involved in tire-failure-related crashes. Moreover, vehicles equipped with a TPMS system get better gas mileage and longer tire life.

However, with the added protection afforded through the implementation of a TPMS, the manufacturers are now faced with a risk creating the TPMS, and potentially greater risk with the exposure to product liability claims. The direct TPMS, which is a sensor component inside the tire and rim assembly, has an average battery life of seven to ten years. Another indicator of whether a direct TPMS should be replaced is if the TPMS has seen between 80,000 and 100,000 miles of use. Accordingly, industry experts estimate there are 108 million vehicles in the United States closing in on the TPMS replacement "sweet spot." Failure to replace these first-generation direct TPMSs could result in a slew of claims and potential liability at various levels across the vehicle and tire industry. For example, a "dead" TPMS could allow for an underinflated tire to go undetected, which could lead to a vehicle crash and injuries. The vehicle-service and tire-service entity could be hit with negligence claims for failure to replace the TPMS. Vehicle, TPMS and tire manufacturers could find themselves involved in a product liability suit.

In view of this potential risk, industry players and related industry groups and associations should proactively undertake efforts to educate the driving public. The vehicle-service and tire-service industry should adopt best practices intended to determine whether their customers' vehicles are due for TPMS replacement.

Source: http://www.natlawreview.com/article/tire-pressure-monitoring-systems-when-bubble-bursts


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