Don’t forget to check your tires this month!
Hot weather can cause tire pressure fluctuations. Don’t forget to check the spare!
Do you know what this is?
According to an April 2014 article in the L.A. Times, 42% of drivers don’t recognize this symbol. Ten percent of drivers even admitted to intentionally ignoring it when it popped up on their dashboard. And that’s more than a little scary, because this symbol is alerting you to a potentially serious tire problem.
The symbol is the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) warning light. If your vehicle is model year 2008 or newer, it’s equipped with TPMS – and chances are you could see this light sooner or later.
This warning light is trying to tell you that at least one of your tires is at least 25% below its optimal pressure. That’s a problem because the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration tells us there are more than 11,000 tire-related crashes in the U.S. every year, and nearly 200 people will die from these accidents.
So if you do see you see this symbol lighting up on your dash, please don’t ignore it. If the light comes on while you’re driving, pull over as soon as you can and check to make sure you’re not experiencing a sudden loss of tire pressure. If all four tires appear to be OK, drive to the closest gas station, service station, or tire shop to check and correct the tire pressure. Then consult your vehicle’s owner’s manual to reset the system, or ask your mechanic to reset it. (And by the way, any time a warning light shows up and you aren’t sure what it is, we strongly recommend pulling over in a safe place to check your owner’s manual.)
To sum up … we’ve said it before, but it’s true: Your tires are one of the most important pieces of safety equipment on your vehicle. Treat them as such, and heed the TPMS warning light!
Photo Credit: Robert Couse-Baker
We all know that this week is National Tire Safety Week. Oh wait, you didn’t know that? We figured that everyone celebrates these tire milestones like we do, but maybe not. Anyway … last year during Tire Safety Week we told you how to PARTY with your tires, and that’s still a great way to remember four important things to check on your tires:
P is for Pressure
A is for Alignment
R is for Rotation
T is for Tread
Y is for Year-round
This year, we’d like to focus our Tire Safety Week efforts on tire pressure and tire tread. We’re zeroing in on these two areas because of a couple of statistics that come courtesy of the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA):
1. Only 48% of drivers know where to find the correct inflation pressure for their tires
2. 52% of drivers don’t know how to tell if their tires are bald
Luckily, we have simple solutions to both of these problems. To find the correct inflation pressure for your tires, just look for a sticker that looks like this one on your car (it’s usually in the drivers’ side door jamb):
The highlighted areas show the correct inflation pressure for the front, rear, and spare tires. (By the way, here’s another interesting stat from the RMA: only 33% of drivers have ever checked the pressure of their spare tire! You want your spare to be ready to go if you ever need it – so remember to check the pressure in the spare tire too.)
Learn how to check your tire pressure (a one-minute video from the RMA)
To check if your tires are bald, all you need is a penny. Insert the coin into the tire tread on several different places. If you can see all of Lincoln’s head, your tires are bald and you need new tires, pronto.
Learn how to check your tires’ tread depth (a one-minute video from the RMA)
We hope you’ll take some time this week to give your tires a little TLC. In just a couple minutes, you can identify and correct tire issues that could cause serious trouble down the road. Treat your tires right, and they’ll treat you right!
Image Credit: RMA
Back in October of last year, we posted a piece entitled “Are drive-in theaters driving off into the sunset?” Sadly, in many cases the answer is a resounding “Yes,” due to the costs of converting the screens from 35 millimeter film to digital projection. A digital projector can cost as much as $70,000 per screen plus additional retrofitting costs. Many drive-ins simply aren’t able to pay the price, so they’re falling by the wayside.
We recently heard about a drive-in that’s fighting to raise the money needed to thrive in the digital age and we wanted to share the story, particularly since the theater is in our home state of Washington. A ferry ride and a 50-mile drive away from TireBuyer headquarters near Seattle, Port Townsend is a charming, sleepy town on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula.
Port Townsend’s Wheel-In Motor Movie Theatre, in business since 1953, is one of just four drive-ins left in Washington – and if it doesn’t raise around $18,500 by Sunday, June 8, that number could drop to three. The theater’s owner is putting $30,000 of his own money towards the $65,000 cost of digital conversion and has started a Kickstarter campaign to raise the remaining $35,000. The campaign ends on June 8. In case you’re not familiar with how Kickstarter works: if the fundraising goal isn’t reached by the campaign’s end, all the money raised will be returned to the donors. As of Friday morning, May 30, the theater had raised $16,502.
We can’t help but root for this little theater nestled amongst tall pines, named the “Best in the West” drive-in by Sunset Magazine back in 2003. If you feel similarly nostalgic, it’s easy to help. Even a donation of $25 comes with special perks – buttered popcorn and your name on the Wheel-In website and the new digital screen. And of course, the perks increase with the donation amount, all the way up to a private screening for a $5,000 gift.
We wish the best of luck to the Wheel-In, and to drive-ins everywhere that are working to make the conversion to digital projection. We hope you’ll be lighting up summer nights for decades to come!
Images courtesy of Wheel-In Motor Movie