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June 03, 2014

This Dashboard Light Could Save Your Life!

TPMS_dashboard_indicatorDo you know what this dashboard light means? It is your tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) telling you that one (or more) of your tires is dangerously under-inflated.

Under-inflated tires are estimated to cause thousands of car crashes and hundreds of deaths each year, yet 42 percent of drivers still can’t identify the TPMS vehicle dashboard icon, and 1 in 10 surveyed admit to having intentionally ignored a TPMS warning and continued to drive, according to survey results from Schrader International.

Tire pressure monitoring systems have been required by law on all new vehicles sold in the United States since 2007. Regardless of the style of TPMS alert you have in your car, when it lights up, your tires are sending you a very important message: One or more of your tires is significantly underinflated and you or an auto service technician needs to take a closer look as soon as possible.  The TPMS warning symbol will illuminate when one or more of the tires is 25 percent under-inflated, at which point the vehicle is impaired, affecting maneuverability, handling, and braking distance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports tires that are under-inflated by more than 25 percent are three times more likely to be involved in a crash related to tire problems than a vehicle with proper inflation. According to information shared by Schrader International from NHTSA and the U.S. Department of Energy, nearly 200,000 accidents are caused by tire-related issues each year, and 60 highway fatalities and 33,000 injuries are caused by under-inflated tires each year.

Check-your-tire-pressure-20140507_141009If you see the light, you don’t have to panic, but you should make an immediate effort to check the pressure in all four tires manually using a tire pressure gauge. Remember, you can’t tell if your tires are at their correct pressure just by looking at them: it is virtually impossible to tell a tire is under-inflated visually until it is nearly 50 percent deflated. That’s practically flat!!

Don’t wait for the TPMS light to tell you to check your tire pressure; just make a habit of checking them yourself once a month. How do you find your correct tire pressure? Look for a sticker inside the driver’s door, or find it in your Owner’s Manual. TCheck-your-tire-pressure-20140513_114535ire pressures embossed on the outside of the tire are MAXIMUM pressures and may not apply to your specific vehicle. Besides tire safety concerns, keeping your tires inflated to proper pressures also improves your fuel economy saving you money on fuel, and lengthens the lifespan of your tires saving you money on untimely replacements.

If you don’t have a tire pressure gauge, or just don’t want to get your hands dirty, then simply make a visit to your nearby tire retailer. Most tire shops will check your tires and inflate them to their correct pressure as a courtesy.

What’s the good news? According to Schrader, as the drive for increased education progresses, so has the level of safety for U.S. motorists. In fact, the presence of TPMS has resulted in a 55.6 percent reduction in the likelihood that a vehicle would have one or more severely under-inflated tires. Find more information in the attached infographic provided by Schrader International 

Now you know what the TPMS light is telling you!

Schrader-TPMS Survey Infographic-2014


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