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Two Most Underlooked Tire Maintenance - Replacing Old Tires and Air Pressure

Statistics on car accidents caused by tire blowouts is not easy to gather since it is not specifically tallied by any agency.  One report by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) points out about 5.9 percent of accidents involved tire blowouts in 2002.

Another report also by NHTSA shows that 400 fatalities occured in US due to tire failure.  There a so many factor that can contribute to tire failure such as overloading, under/over inflating, structural defects and aging tires.

Over/under inflated tires are one of the biggest risk factor facing drivers today.  In fact, under inflated situation is a lot more common, and it can lead to tire blowout especially in hot summer days.  One study found that vehicles under inflated by more than 25% or more were three times as likely to be involved in the crash.  That's because it's not only the tire blowout that affect safe driving.  Under inflated tires stability of the vehicle, steering response and bad traction on the road.  It also contribute to bad gas mileage significantly.

The on-board tire pressure monitor installed in many vehicles today is not that accurate and it often time fail or malfunction.  So relying on that feature, and foregoing physical inspection of the tires is a bad idea.

The other major concern with tire maintenance is the age of the tire which caused debates between NHTSA and Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).  The NHTSA reported that a tire can lose its elasticity over time, which increases it's chances of becoming dry and brittle on the inside, affecting the car part longevity. When oxidation of a tire occurs, the break down of material properties in that tire can lead to tread separation.

Tread separation is when the tread section of a tire peels off from the rest of the tire during use. Oxidation causes the steel belts in the tire to lose their adhesion to the rest of the components. The combination of these factors can then cause the entire tread to separate from the tire, potentially causing a driver to lose at least some control over the vehicle.  That sounds pretty convincing to me.

However, RMA has a different view on this issue.  The RMA issued a press release in 2009 stating that, "Allegations that there is a correlation between tire performance and chronological tire age are unfounded and unsupported by data".

Regardless of who is right.  It's your safety that's on the line.  Most industry experts now recommend frequent physical inspection of tires older than six years, and replacement of tires that are more than 10 years old even if they went through light use.
Here is how you check the age of your tires:
Tire Rack - Determining the Age of a Tire

Two Most Underlooked Tire Maintenance - Replacing Old Tires and Air Pressure Reviewed by Blogs on 6:53 PM Rating: 5

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