One tire dealer in California plans to redirect all his week's radio advertising from selling tires to taking care of them.
Another in New Jersey will throw his dealership a party along with dispensing tire care tips.
And still another dealer in North Carolina is tying in the event with her hometown's annual Strawberry Festival.
They're just three of the 8,000-plus dealers across the U.S. who have signed up to participate in the third annual National Tire Safety Week, April 25-May 1, sponsored by the Rubber Manufacturers Association (RMA).
The number of participating dealers has more than doubled from last year, according to the RMA. An offshoot of the association's ongoing ``Be Tire Smart-Play Your PART'' consumer education program, National Tire Safety Week is designed to underline for U.S. motorists the importance of proper tire maintenance in ensuring both highway safety and tire life.
Among other things, the RMA is issuing more than 3.5 million copies of its ``Be Tire Smart'' brochure for participating dealers to distribute; the Tire Industry Association and several state dealer associations are working with the RMA on this effort. Also, the RMA has developed a CD-ROM on National Tire Safety Week with tips and materials for dealers.
Association officials will travel the U.S. during the week on a radio media tour, discussing the importance of tire maintenance. They also will release the results of a 2004 consumer survey comparing public knowledge of tire care and maintenance with surveys from the past three years.
Some prominent dealership chains and company-owned store networks in the U.S. are aiding the RMA's National Tire Safety Week efforts. They include: Belle Tire Distributors Inc., Best One Tire & Service, Big 10 Tires Inc., Big O Tires Inc., Costco Wholesale Corp., Discount Tire Co., Firestone Tire & Service Centers, Goodyear Auto Service Centers, Kauffman Tire Inc., Les Schwab Tire Centers Inc., Merchant's Tire & Auto Centers, National Tire & Battery, Northwest Tire Factory L.L.C., Peerless Tyre Co., Pep Boys-Manny, Moe & Jack; Sears, Roebuck and Co., STS Tire & Auto Centers, Sullivan Tire Co. Inc., Tire Centers L.L.C., Tire Kingdom Inc., Town Fair Tire Centers Inc. and VIP Discount Auto Centers Inc.
Thousands of smaller dealerships, however, also are contributing their efforts toward making the week a success.
Steve Murray, vice president of Bob's Tire and Alignment Center in Victorville, Calif., said reading the different articles about previous National Tire Safety Weeks made him decide to participate in 2004. ``I've always wanted people to take care of their tires better,'' he said.
Bob's Tire & Alignment is a first-year participant, as are Dillin Tire Co. Inc. in Bayonne, N.J., and Carolina Tire & Service in Garner, N.C. Bob's Tire will have free tire inspections and other promotions during the week, culminating May 1 in a live radio hookup during which a set of tires will be raffled off.
``I won't be selling tires that day,'' Mr. Murray said. ``I just want to get people in the store to talk to them about their tires.''
Bob's Tire does a lot of radio advertising, he added, but the week of April 25 its ads will concentrate on tire care and maintenance. At the dealership, ``we'll be displaying tires with real bad wear, so people can see what happens to tires when you don't take care of them.''
At Dillin Tire, National Tire Safety Week will be ``a festive holiday,'' according to President Bruce Dillin. Along with handing out Safety Week packets-including tire pressure and tread gauges as well as brochures-the dealership will keep a tire inspection lane open all week. It also will host a block party May 1 featuring raffles, a disc jockey, a moonwalk for children and an appearance by former heavyweight boxer Chuck Wepner, the dealership's commercial spokesman.
``We've been in business 47 years, and a bar at the other end of the block has been in business 53 years,'' Mr. Dillin said. ``So we're going to say we're celebrating 100 years in business!''
This year the Strawberry Festival in Garner falls the same week as National Tire Safety Week, ``so it was a perfect tie-in,'' said Carolina Tire Operations Manager Maria Johnson. ``As a tire service center, we like to give our customers as much information as possible on how to take care of their tires.''
Besides free tire inspections, Carolina Tire will offer free tire and auto care clinics slanted toward women. ``The first clinic will be basic education-fluids, tire pressure and how to change a tire,'' she said. ``The second clinic will be more of a maintenance seminar.''
Rubber Association of Canada President Glenn Maidment said more than 1,000 Canadian dealers have signed on for his country's Be Tire Smart Week activities, and he hoped participation would total 1,500 dealers by April 25.
The program has a Web site, www.betiresmart.ca, offering Canadian motorists quick and comprehensive information on tire inflation and maintenance. Meanwhile, the campaign's official brochure, ``Riding on Air,'' will be issued to tire dealers across Canada during Be Tire Smart Week for distribution to their customers.
National Tire Safety Week is funded by the RMA's tire manufacturing members, including Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., Continental Tire North America Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Goodyear, Michelin North America Inc., Pirelli Tire North America Inc. and Yokohama Tire Corp.
Although National Tire Safety Week has no U.S. government participation, it has been endorsed by several state governments. The governors of Connecticut, Maryland, Nebraska, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin have issued proclamations in support of the program.
Also, state highway safety agencies in Arizona, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and Texas have volunteered to include tire safety messages in their overall safety advocacy efforts, according to the RMA.