How Could Something So Boring Be So Important to the Safety of Your Family?

Cooper Tires

Cooper Tires

As a Dad, I make some funny decisions when it comes to taking care of the family.   To avoid the potential harms of pesticides, maybe we drive a little further to get organic fruits.   If the weather is bad, I may drive a few minutes out of the way when dropping the kids off at school, just to avoid a low visibility stretch of road.   Yes, I feel like an incredibly responsible father when I do things that I think  will make my family more safe, but since I am one of the 85% of US drivers the do not properly check tire pressure and improper tire maintenance leads to an estimated 600 traffic fatalities per year, every extra minute in the car could be an accident waiting to happen!

Oh Tires, Why Do We Neglect You So?

If you are at all like me, there are probably some days where it feels like you spend more time in your car shuttling the kids around then you do in your home.   Up until recently, my idea of tire maintenance was this… try to drive the car, if you hear your rims smashing against the ground, probably time to put air in your tires.  Unfortunately, it looks like I am not alone in my tire neglect…

MAINTENANCE STATISTICS (as reported by the RMA)

The Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA) is the national trade association of tire manufacturers in the United States.  According to the RMAʼs 2010 Tire Tread Depth Survey:

  • Nearly 11% of vehicles surveyed nationwide had at least one bald tire. That means as many as 28 million vehicles could have at least one bald tire.
  • 64% of Americans do not know how to check tread depth.1
  • 9% of drivers say they never check tread depth.2

Additional research conducted by the RMA shows the following statistics:3

  • Only 17% of vehicles have four properly inflated tires.4
  • 55% of vehicles have at least one under inflated tire.5
  • 85% of U.S. drivers do not properly check tire pressure.6

Wow, this was a real wake-up call for me, as boring as it is – I realized I needed to take tire maintenance more seriously.

Cooper Tires Helped Show Me The Light…Or The Rubber…Or Lincoln’s Head…

Cooper Tires is not exactly a household name (at least in my household), so I was a little surprised when they contacted us and wanted us to test out their Cooper CS4 tires and provide information to our readers about tire safety and maintenance.  After doing a little research, it turns out Cooper Tires have a long and successful history.

The Cooper Tire and Rubber Company dates back to 1914 and it is now the fourth largest tire manufacturer in the US.   With over $3.4 billion in revenue in 2010, Cooper Tires clearly knows a thing or two about tires, maintenance and safety!  In a future post, we will provide our full review of the Cooper CS4 tires, but for now we want to focus on how to safely maintain your tires.  Here is a suggested plan from Cooper…

TIRE MAINTENANCE MONTHLY CHECK

Cooper Tire recommends that drivers should perform the following tests on vehicles monthly.

Examine tread:

Bald tires can skid and slide on pavement, and are more likely to be damaged by potholes and other road hazards. The minimum tread on your tires should be more than 2/32 of an inch deep. If it isn’t, the tire must be replaced.

  • You can perform a simple test using a US penny. Put the edge of the coin into the tread, with Lincoln going in headfirst. If the top of Lincoln’s heads is covered by tread that means you’re driving with the minimum amount of tread. If the top of his head is entirely visible, it’s time to replace the tire.
  • While youʼre examining your tread, also look for signs of uneven wear or damage (i.e., cuts, cracks, splits, punctures, bulges and impacts.) These conditions shorten the life of your tires and if not corrected, further tire damage or failure will occur.

Test air pressure:

Under-inflation causes excessive stress on the tire, and can create irregular wear, which shortens the lifespan of tires and can also cause tire failure.

  • The holidays are one of the busiest travel times of the year, so it is imperative to have the proper level of air pressure in your tires. As proper air pressure can improve gas mileage by more than 3%, doing a tire pressure check can actually save you money at the pump.
  • Check your ownerʼs manual or tire placard (or sticker) for your tiresʼ correct pressure and adjust your tiresʼ pressures accordingly. The tire placard can be attached to the vehicle door edge, doorpost, glove box door, fuel door or trunk.
  • A common myth is the tire pressure listed on your tiresʼ sidewall is the optimal pressure – in reality itʼs the maximum pressure.
  • When you check the air pressure, make sure the tires are cool — meaning they are not hot from driving even a mile.

Cooper Wants to Help You Stay Safe

In an effort to help drivers stay safe while driving this holiday season, Cooper is giving away 25 Road Trip Ready Kits.  The readiness kit ($40 value) includes a flashlight, two D batteries, tire inflator/sealer, distress flag, cloth gloves, safety vest, siphon hose, booster cables, first aid kit and manual.

To enter, simply visit the Cooper Tires Facebook page between now and November 25th, 2011.  On December 1st they will pick 25 lucky winners.

Now, if you will excuse us, we need to do some road testing of the Cooper CS4 tires.  Look for our full review of the tires coming soon.

More Information:

Learn More at Cooper Tires

Have a Question/Comment?  Let Us Know!

References:
1 Rubber Manufacturers Association, motorist phone survey, May 2009
2 Ibid.
3 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration press release, “Many U.S.
Passenger Cars Are Driven on “Bald” Tires, NHTSA Research Shows,”
November 30, 2001.
4 Rubber Manufacturers Association, tire pressure survey, May 2010
5 Ibid.
6 Rubber Manufacturers Association, motorist phone survey, May 2009

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