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Editor's Notebook

How Could Gas Price Increases Be Good News?

The recent news of gas price increases should be music to your ears — especially if you consider the role you can play in helping your customers boost fuel economy — says Mary DellaValle, editor of Tire Review.

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The recent news of gas price increases should be music to your ears — especially if you consider the role you can play in helping your customers boost fuel economy.

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As your customers get ready for summertime travel, one of their priorities should be getting their vehicle road-ready — and that’s where you come in. Preventive vehicle inspections of key components can go a long way in keeping your customers’ vehicles safe and fuel efficient. In particular, regular tire checks can improve vehicle performance and handling, and boost fuel economy. Such inspections are also key to increasing your customers’ safety as improper tire inflation can result in uneven tread wear and, even more concerning, unsafe driving conditions. 

According to the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA), proper inflation pressure is, perhaps, the most important tire condition to monitor. Under-inflated tires generate excessive heat build-up and stress, causing irregular wear and internal damage. Over-inflated tires are more likely to be cut, punctured or damaged when hitting an obstacle, such as a pothole. 

Bonus benefit, says the USTMA: Maintaining proper inflation pressure also maximizes fuel economy.

You can improve your customers’ gas mileage by 0.6% on average — up to 3% in some cases — by advising them to keep their tires inflated to the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by about 0.2% for every 1 psi drop in the average pressure of all tires, according to Fueleconomy.gov.

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Here’s more data to support the need for tire safety awareness. Quaker State, together with OnePoll, conducted a survey of 2,000 American car owners about their summer travel plans and found that the No. 1 thing Americans do before heading out for a long drive or family road trip is to check their car’s tires, followed by making sure there is enough gas in the car, checking the oil and getting an oil change. The study also found that getting a flat tire is one of the most common road trip experiences, as noted by 43% of respondents. 

When complete vehicle inspections are not performed and necessary repairs are not made, vehicles won’t be able to operate at their peak. The underperforming components will put a strain on related components and reduce miles per gallon, especially if the tires are not in good condition and are not properly inflated.

So, there is merit to pointing out the downsides of vehicle neglect to drive home the point that car care awareness and proper vehicle maintenance pays dividends.

With the average light vehicle age at 11.8 years, these older vehicles rack up more miles, and with that comes more wear and tear. Taking a proactive approach to ensuring your customers’ vehicles are in top-running condition for upcoming summer travel is good insurance that they will continue to call you first — not only for their tire-related service needs, but for all of their general vehicle repairs, too.

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Congratulations Club 3633 Inductees!

In this issue, we feature an exclusive group of industry professionals that celebrates the next generation of innovators in the tire industry. Our 2019 Class of Club 3633 inductees include Chris Albertz (Tire Discounters); Jessica Egerton (Cooper Tires); Jonathan Ransom (Black’s Tire Service); Ryan Lopes (Alliance Tire Americas); and Sean Conley (American Tire Distributors).

Check out the rest of the July digital edition of Tire Review here.

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