Tire Sensors Help, But Experts Say Knowing Vehicle Maintenance Basics Saves Lives

October 8, 2003 - Posted at: 11:30pm

JONESBORO, AR -- Rain can cause driving to be hazardous, especially if you're driving on bald tires. A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration shows that about 1 in 10 vehicles has at least 1 tire that doesn't have enough tread on it.Many drivers don't keep enough air in their tires either. When asked if she knew how to check the tire pressure in the low tire on her Chevrolet Impala, Sheila Tate replied, "No ma am. No. That's why I brought it to them (Plaza Tire Service)."

A sticker on the inside of a vehicle's door frame indicates at what pressure the tire should be inflated while cold.
A sensor in her tire valve alerted Tate to the problem. When the pressure gets below a 20% of the manufacturer's recommended cold inflation pressure, a light in a vehicle's dash board illuminates. There are after-market tire pressure systems available, but a study done in Phoenix shows some don't work 50% of the time. That's why car owners need to get educated about maintaining their vehicles.
A mechanic at Plaza Tire Service said, "Your basic tire pressure ought to be about 32 to 45 pounds depending on the tire. Check it by your tire gage. If it's not right, you need to adjust your air pressure. That'll prevent blow-outs."
Keeping tires inflated to the number of pounds indicated on your door frame also helps tire tread wear evenly. So does having tires balanced and aligned often. Uneven tread wear can cause tires to blow out. Something Sheila Tate prevented by getting her tire checked.
"When I seen the low air pressure, then I stopped right here. First stop is right here," added Tate.