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Background
To check for bald tires, exam­ine built-in tread­wear indi­ca­tors, or raised sec­tions, in bot­tom of tread grooves; or insert pen­ny upside down with­in tread & if top of Lincoln’s head is vis­i­ble, tire needs to be replaced
Main­tain prop­er tire air pres­sure by read­ing vehi­cle man­u­fac­tur­er rec­om­men­da­tions & using accu­rate gauge
In July, NHTSA pro­posed new fed­er­al motor vehi­cle safe­ty stan­dard that would require instal­la­tion of tire pres­sure mon­i­tor­ing sys­tems in new cars & light trucks; stan­dard is not yet in place
Says
“It is extreme­ly impor­tant to motorists’ safe­ty that they ensure their tires have ample tread & are prop­er­ly inflat­ed. Motorists who dri­ve on tires that are bald or sub­stan­tial­ly under-inflat­ed risk injuries or fatal­i­ties.” — Nor­man Mine­ta, Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary
“It is vital­ly impor­tant that motorists mon­i­tor tread depth to guard against tire fail­ure & replace unsafe tires. Check­ing tires is a cru­cial ele­ment in reg­u­lar vehi­cle main­te­nance.” — Dr Jef­frey W. Runge, NHTSA’s admin­is­tra­tor
Significant Points
9% pas­sen­ger cars on US road­ways have at least 1-bald tire, says NHTSA
27% pas­sen­ger cars have 1-or more sub­stan­tial­ly under-inflat­ed tire
33% light trucks, SUVs, vans & pick­ups have 1-or more sub­stan­tial­ly under-inflat­ed tire
Only 49% gas sta­tions equipped with air pumps pro­vide pres­sure gauges
Of those pumps that have gauges, near­ly 20% over-report pres­sure by at least 4 psi
This caus­es peo­ple to dri­ve on under-inflat­ed tires
US Trans­porta­tion Sec­re­tary Mine­ta announces cam­paign to pro­mote tire safe­ty
Stud­ies revealed many gas sta­tions’ air pumps fail to pro­vide accu­rate pres­sure gauges
Cam­paign stress­es impor­tance of prop­er tire infla­tion & vehi­cle load lim­its
Encour­ages motorists to check tires for ade­quate tread month­ly & pri­or to long trip
Bald tires, with 1/16″ or less tread, between 1.5 & 1.8 times more like­ly to be under­in­flat­ed
Additional NHTSA Findings
90%+ gas sta­tions equipped with air pumps

14% gas sta­tions either not equipped with air pumps, or have mal­func­tion­ing pumps

10% sta­tions with tire gauges on air pumps use gauges that over-report pres­sure by at least 6 psi or more

20% sta­tions with tire gauges on air pumps use gauges that over-report pres­sure by at least 4 psi or more