SAVING money at the pump is just one benefit of keeping your tires properly inflated, according to a recent press release from the Rubber Association of Canada.
Canadian drivers will pay an estimated $703 million in unnecessary fuel bills in 2012 simply because one or more of their tires are under-inflated, according to data from Natural Resources Canada and the RAC, which represents tire makers.
This year alone under-inflated tires will cause Canadian motorists to waste an estimated 533 million litres of fuel - enough to power 275,000 vehicles for a full year. This needless fuel consumption will also release an additional 1.2 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
What causes all this waste is higher than necessary rolling resistance. A tire that is under-inflated does not roll as smoothly or as easily as it was intended. The result is increased rolling resistance, which requires the vehicle to burn more fuel to push the tire down the road.
The tire industry is advising drivers who want optimal fuel efficiency to reduce rolling resistance - and their fuel bills - by ensuring that their tires are always properly inflated and maintained.
Tire under-inflation on Canada's roadways is widespread. According to RAC research, one third of Canada's 20 million automobiles have at least one under-inflated tire.
A motorist riding on under-inflated tires who annually drives 20,000 kilometers, for example, can save at least $100 at the pumps if they ensure their tires are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommended level. Drivers who log significantly more kilometers each year can potentially save much more. Despite these benefits, RAC research shows that only 30 per cent of Canadian drivers measure their tire pressures monthly.
Another common cause of increased rolling resistance is improper tire alignment. Savvy motorists take their vehicle in for service whenever they notice uneven wear or experience handling problems such as "pulling" or unusual vibrations.
Cost conscious motorists should also be aware that tire makers are introducing innovative tire lines specifically designed and constructed for lower rolling resistance. In a recent Transport Canada study, tire makers reported that these technologically advanced tires can cut fuel consumption by as much as 4.5 per cent.
The potential of low rolling resistance tires to improve fuel efficiency is enormous. The average motorist using properly inflated LRR tires can expect to save hundreds of dollars over the lifetime of their tires.
Tire consumers can learn more about low rolling resistance tires by visiting their tire retailer.
Canadian drivers have never been better positioned to put a dent in their fuel bills, RAC president Glenn Maidment stated in the release. "Low rolling resistance tires, particularly when used in combination with a disciplined approach to proper tire inflation and maintenance, offer tangible savings. Motorists who minimize their tires' rolling resistance also significantly lower harmful emissions."
Measuring and adjusting tire pressure is an easy, four step process that takes no more than five minutes. Here's how: ? Find the right inflation pressure by wheel position on the vehicle placard, which is commonly located on one of the vehicle's inside door posts, or inside the glove compartment or fuel door. Consult the owner's manual for the exact location.
- Remember to only measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving, wait three hours before measuring tire pressure. Tires heat up when rolling, so if they are measured after driving more than two kilometres, the pressure reading will be inaccurate.
- Use a reliable tire gauge when measuring pressure. A visual inspection is not an effective way of measuring tire pressure. A tire can be under or over inflated by 20 per cent or more and not be noticeable. Remove the cap from the valve stem, press the tire gauge onto the valve and take the pressure reading.
- Add air until the recommended air pressure is achieved. If you overfill the tire, release air by pushing on the metal stem in the centre of the valve, then re-measure the pressure.
Shortened tire life should also concern drivers who want to save their money and protect the environment. According to the RAC, chronic under-inflation can carve as much as 15,000 kilometers off the service life of a tire, adding to tire replacement costs and the number of scrap tires.
Learn more about the value of proper tire inflation and maintenance by visiting www.betiresmart.ca.