Get Your Customers Road Trip Ready In 5 Easy Steps
By Christine Hogg
Canadian drivers are set to hit the road in droves once COVID- related travel restrictions are lifted, according to a new Leger survey for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC). The survey found that 61 per cent of drivers are planning a summer road trip or a drive to a vacation destination.
Among younger drivers aged 18 to 34 and 35 to 44, that number climbs to 70 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.
Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has had a major impact on summer driving intentions:
• 60 per cent of drivers say the restrictions imposed by the pandemic had a big influence on their decision to take a vacation involving driving this summer.
• 44 per cent of those not planning a road trip cite COVID fears as the reason, while
24 per cent say their summer vacation plans do not involve driving and 17 per cent say they cannot afford a vacation because of pandemic-related financial hardship.
The findings also suggest a significant number of motorists neglected their tires during the pandemic. Almost two-in-ten drivers (18 per cent) say their tire pressures have not been checked at all in the past year. This percentage rises to
25 per cent for drivers aged 18 to 34 and 27 per cent among those 35 to 44. Yet, despite these lapses in tire care, 95 per cent of drivers agree proper tire inflation is essential to vehicle safety. There is also high awareness that correct tire pressures
save fuel (91 per cent) and protect the environment by lowering emissions (71 per cent).
TRAC research reveals a clear disconnect between understanding the importance of proper tire inflation and knowing how to ensure pressures are right.
“Prolonged driving on chronically under-inflated tires can result in uneven tread wear, shortened tire life and, in extreme cases, tire failure,” said Michal Majernik, Communications Manager, Tire and Rubber Association of Canada. “Motorists also need to know that,
when severe, under-inflation increases stopping distances and lessens vehicle stability, particularly when cornering. The bottom line: measuring tire inflation is a safe-driving essential.”
Before your customers hit the road this summer, offer them these tips and best practices for a safe summer.
Top tire tips for a terrific summer
By learning a few simple tire inflation procedures and investing about 10 minutes each month, drivers can ensure
optimal tire performance, improve fuel economy, and protect the environment.
1) Measure tire pressure monthly
Find the recommended inflation pressure for your tires on the vehicle placard commonly located on the driver’s door post. If you cannot find it, check the owner’s manual for its location. Remember to only measure pressure when the tires are cold. If you have been driving more than two or three kilometres, wait three hours before measuring. Use a tire gauge when measuring pressure. 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 recheck the pressure.
2) Don’t rely on TPMS
Many tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) will not light up unless tire pressure drops below 25 per cent of what it should be. These systems provide important protection, but they do not ensure your tires are delivering optimal performance and fuel economy. Drivers with TPMS should also measure their tire pressures monthly.
3) Measure tread depth
Sufficient tread depth is what allows tires to grip rain-slicked road surfaces. When tread grooves become too worn to efficiently evacuate water away from the tire, the tire can lose traction. Keeping track of tread wear is also vital to making an informed decision on hen to replace tires. The legal tread
depth limit is 1.6 millimetres or 2/32s. Tire makers recommend drivers replace their tires before the legal limit of tread wear is reached to ensure their
tires always have excellent stopping power. Drivers who are unsure if their tires have sufficient tread depth, should consult with their local tire professionals.
4) Rotate your tires
Make it a habit to have your tires rotated by a tire professional at the spring and fall changeover and have your vehicle’s tire alignment checked annually.
5) Always inspect your tires
Before heading out on a road trip, check for tire damage such as bulges and cracks. If there is visible wear and tear, or signs of underlying damage, address it before you hit the road. A tire maintenance study in 2019 found that only 11 per cent of drivers rely on visual inspections to determine if their tires are inflated properly (a tire can be underinflated by 20 per cent or more and still look normal).
“Tire maintenance is one of the simplest and fastest car care tasks drivers can perform to keep their vehicles and families safe on the road,” said Carol Hochu, president of TRAC. “Simple monthly tire pressure and tread checks, and visual tire inspection for tire damage such as cracks and bulges can provide drivers with peace of mind knowing their tires are in good working condition. Well-maintained tires provide drivers with maximum benefits when it comes to safety, fuel efficiency and longevity. We are all looking forward to that summer road trip, so let’s enjoy it safely.”