Fall Is the Perfect Time to Learn About Tire Care - Monitors, Proper Inflation, Regular Maintenance.
GM - Nov. 21, 2006
Tire failure due to low air pressure.
DETROIT - Four little wheel sensors in a growing number of vehicles can help save lives by alerting motorists to low tire pressure, a potentially dangerous driving situation. GM Goodwrench is encouraging motorists to take a few minutes this fall to learn how to use a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) as well as check tires and tire pressure, which helps ensure optimal vehicle performance in steering, cornering, braking, ride comfort, noise and fuel economy.
The increasing use of tire pressure monitoring systems, which are being phased in across the entire U.S. vehicle fleet, also means that vehicle owners need to be more mindful when they rotate or replace tires, so that the system isn’t damaged and that the sensors are properly matched to the tires. GM utilizes its industry-leading methodology, Tire Pressure Criteria (TPC), to ensure tire performance, handling and durability under a variety of load and driving conditions and allows the customer to obtain the same tire from a GM dealer when replacement is necessary.
General Motors is a leader in installing tire pressure monitors and has more vehicles equipped with the devices than any automaker, with over 4 million installed on cars and trucks to date. However, even this sophisticated technology needs the full attention of diligent drivers to be most effective.
“Tire pressure monitoring is wonderful technology that has the potential to help make our roads safer,” said Jim Gutting, director, GM Tire-Wheel Center. “But it’s no substitute for being conscientious about tire maintenance. All vehicle owners should familiarize themselves with TPMS, how it works and what it can tell them about basic tire maintenance.”
Low tire pressure-related crashes cause 660 fatalities and 33,000 injuries each year, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Yet a survey earlier this year by the Rubber Manufacturers Association showed that three out of four drivers wash their car every month, but only one in five correctly checks their tire pressure.
NHTSA says tire safety studies have shown that maintaining proper tire pressure, observing tire and vehicle load limits and inspecting tires for cuts, slashes and irregularities are the most important things a motorist can do to avoid tire failure. These actions, along with other care and maintenance can also:
- Improve vehicle handling
- Help avoid vehicle breakdowns and crashes
- Improve fuel economy (by 3.3 percent, according to the Environmental Protection Agency)
- Save money by increasing tire life
GM began installing tire pressure monitors in vehicles as early as 1987. The GM TPMS utilizes separate sensors mounted in each wheel that use real-time monitoring to determine the pressure in each tire. A warning light on the instrument panel or a message displayed on the driver information center, along with an audible warning, alerts the driver to check the air pressure in their tires.
Tire pressure - what’s proper?
To check your tire pressure, you need to know what the vehicle’s manufacturer recommends. Tire pressure is expressed in pounds per square inch, or psi. Depending on the make of the vehicle, the information can be on the tire placard located on the vehicle door edge, door post, glove-box door or inside the trunk lid.
According to John Maxgay, lead engineer, GM Chassis Electronics, when a tire is underinflated, most of the car's weight is concentrated on the tread located just under the sidewalls, rather than being spread out evenly across the full width of the tire. This means that as the tire rolls, the sidewall is continually flexed and could heat up. This may affect both vehicle performance and safety.
On the other hand, while overinflated tires are not associated with as many crashes as underinflated tires, overinflated tires can make the vehicle ride stiff because they do not allow for desired full tread contact (due to the car riding chiefly on just the center of the tread). Overinflated tires also can be more susceptible to being punctured.
Falling temperatures, falling tire pressure
With winter approaching and lower temperatures, it’s the perfect time to focus on tire pressure. That’s because the air pressure inside a tire varies according to the outside temperature and how long the vehicle is driven. If you’ve ever wondered why a basketball doesn’t bounce as well outside on a cold day, it’s because colder temperatures lower the air pressure inside the basketball. The same is true for tires.
GM recommends that owners check their tire pressure once a month on cold (driven less than three miles) tires with a good-quality digital or stick device versus the gauge at the service station air pump.
GM wants to make it easy for owners to keep their tires – as well as the rest of their vehicle – maintained. N early 2 million GM vehicle owners who subscribe to OnStar by GM and sign up for OnStar Vehicle Diagnostics receive free monthly diagnostic reports via e-mail that provide crucial tire pressure information and recommended maintenance information, as well as remaining engine oil life and information on other monitored vehicle systems. The real-time report is sent directly to the OnStar subscriber's computer desktop. Subscribers can enroll at the OnStar website (www.onstar.com
) or press their blue OnStar button and sign up through an advisor.
When the vehicle is brought to a GM Goodwrench dealer for an oil change and tire rotation, if necessary, the Goodwrench technician will rematch the tire pressure sensors to their new positions on the vehicle to ensure that accurate information is being sent to the real-time pressure display in the Driver Information Center, to OnStar, and to the vehicle itself. Goodwrench technicians also are trained to safely remove and replace the sensors when necessary.
In addition to keeping an eye on tire monitoring systems and tire maintenance, GM Goodwrench also recommends that Fall Car Care Month is an excellent time for consumers to have their vehicles inspected before the busy holiday driving season approaches.
What is a multi-point inspection?
GM Goodwrench offers convenient, efficient, multi-point inspections for vehicles, comprehensive diagnostic testing and complete service capabilities to help customers keep their vehicles operating properly. GM Goodwrench dealerships offer the following inspection services:
- Transmission, drive shaft and u-joints
- Radiator, heater and air-conditioning hoses
- Interior lights, exterior lamps, brake lamps, turn signals and hazard warning lights
- Exhaust system
- Engine air cleaner filter
- Suspension and steering system components