Saving cash on fuel is but one benefit of properly inflated tires. Think of properly inflated tires as an automotive butterfly effect, in which one small action now can trigger many larger positive reactions down the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), those folks who crash-test our cars, four out of five cars on the road are running on improperly inflated tires. When was the last time you checked the air pressure in your tires? You are not alone.
Four years ago, Nissan began offering its industry-first Easy-Fill Tire Alert System on selected models. To date, it has put roughly 5.3 million vehicles equipped with the safety system on the road. At its core, Easy-Fill takes the guesswork out of inflating tires to their optimum pressure by flashing the vehicle’s exterior lights as the inflating process begins and then sounding the vehicle’s horn when the appropriate air pressure is reached. Easy peasy.
Nissan concluded that many drivers don’t even own a tire-pressure gauge for measuring tire pressure. As long as none of the tires are flat or blatantly low, most of us don’t give it a second thought. The cold, hard fact is even a brand-new tire properly mounted will lose air pressure over time. Since 2008, tire-pressure monitors have been required on new cars. They help call attention to underinflated tires, but on many cars they only alert us when a tire is measurably low, and often don’t pinpoint the affected tire. Easy-Fill simplifies the exercise of maintaining proper tire pressure.
Here’s an attention-grabbing NHTSA stat: In 2016, 733 traffic fatalities resulted from accidents in which tire malfunction was a contributing factor. That’s not 733 crashes (there are about 11,000 crashes related to tires each year), but 733 deaths. It’s only human nature that our reaction to that stat is: "It would never happen to me." Maybe. The odds are with us, but there are other reasons to maintain optimum tire pressure.
Saving Cash on Fuel
Have you ever groaned when pulling up to the pump, as you realize prices per gallon are up by six or seven cents? According to NHTSA, those four out of five vehicle owners rolling around on underinflated tires are wasting money on fuel. Inflating tires to their optimum pressure can save as much as 11 cents per gallon.
If you fill your 15-gallon tank once a week, 52 weeks a year, then that can be as much as $85 a year wasted simply because of underinflated tires. That’s a night at the movies for a family of four with all the popcorn and soda you can consume.
Saving Cash on Tires
If that potential $85 per year in fuel-cost savings isn’t sufficient motivation, NHTSA goes on to advise that proper inflation can extend the life of the average tire by 4,700 miles. For the average vehicle owner, that translates into an extra four months of tire life for every set of tires. More savings.
What it means to you: Tires are all that are between you and the road. If saving cash on fuel is important to you, so should be maintaining recommended tire pressure. Improperly inflated tires not only cost you money, but they also waste fuel (even in electric vehicles) and put you and your family in jeopardy. Although Nissan has a solution for inflating tires to their optimum pressure, it’s still up to the driver to check the pressure. NHTSA recommends checking pressure at least once a month when the tires are cold.