CarTest! Expert car reviews and advice     |     home
up      previous  next
CarTest! features hundreds of pages of car reviews and automotive resources to assist you in making a decision about the best vehicle to drive. Our logo photo of Continental Flying Spur foot pedals is  courtesy of Bentley.
© All rights reserved.

Tire Inflation

Drivers can go green by measuring tire inflation monthly

Canadian drivers likely burned an extra 643 million litres of fuel in 2008 because one or more of their tires was under-inflated, according to data from Natural Resources Canada, which is working with the Rubber Association of Canada (RAC) to educate motorists about proper tire care.

That is enough squandered fuel to fill 257 Olympic size swimming pools.

That amount of wasted fuel would release an additional one million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and cost drivers an estimated $772 million in unnecessary fuel bills.

With fuel prices in flux, it is easy to see why tire maintenance is so important. A tire that is substantially under-inflated does not roll as smoothly or as easily as it was intended. This diminishes fuel efficiency because increased rolling resistance causes a vehicle to burn more fuel, which increases both emissions and fuel costs.

Motorists are being encouraged to use a tire gauge at least once a month to ensure their tires are inflated to the vehicle manufacturer's recommendation.

According to an RAC survey, on any given day on Canada's roadways, nearly seven in 10 personal vehicles will have at least one tire that is over- or under-inflated. Most disturbingly, 23 per cent will have at least one tire seriously under-inflated by more than 20 per cent.

“For Canadian drivers who care about the environment -- not to mention fuel economy and safety -- there is no easier way to contribute to cleaner air than measuring tire pressure,” says Glenn Maidment, president of the RAC.

“Gaining the best possible tire-related fuel economy and performance is easy for motorists who take action. All it requires is some basic knowledge and five minutes each month to perform a few simple procedures to ensure your tires are properly inflated.”

According to a 2007 consumer tire attitude survey conducted for the RAC by Ipsos Reid, only 49 per cent of Canada's motorists actually take the time to measure their tire pressure monthly or more frequently. The study also found that only 40 per cent know how to verify the correct inflation pressure for their tires (vehicle placard, owners manual or vehicle manufacturer's recommendation). Just 38 per cent are aware that tire pressure should only be measured when tires are cold (when a vehicle has been stationary for at least three hours, or has not been driven more than two kilometres).

On a more positive note, 81 per cent of drivers surveyed reported using a tire gauge to measure pressure, with only six per cent saying they measured tire pressure visually.

The study also revealed that -- among female drivers -- awareness of the connection between proper tire pressure and vehicle safety has risen 15 per cent since 2005. A similar study by the RAC that year found that only 47 per cent of female drivers equated proper tire inflation to safety.

Male drivers were significantly more likely than females to know that tires should be cold when air pressure is tested to ensure accuracy. Forty-eight per cent of male drivers surveyed knew the right time to measure tire pressure, compared to 28 per cent of female drivers.

Age was also a factor among drivers who understood the proper time to test tire pressure. Forty-two per cent of drivers over 45 knew the correct time to measure tire inflation, compared with 34 percent of drivers aged 16 to 45.

Regionally, more drivers from British Columbia (45%) and Quebec (42%) identified the right time to test inflation pressure.

“We have made great strides in educating Canadians how to get the best performance from their tires, but clearly there is much more to be done,” says Maidment.

Canadians can learn more about the Be Tire Smart program, a joint initiative of the RAC and Natural Resources Canada's Office of Energy Efficiency, by visiting The website discusses the importance of proper tire inflation and maintenance.

Posted Dec. 15, 2008.©

Search CarTest!
Custom Search