WASHINGTON, D.C. — Tire companies and dealers alike are out front with promotions this week in support of National Tire Safety Week, an initative from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA) that runs through Sept. 6.
Using the "Know Your Roll" theme, the week — originally slated to take place just before Memorial Day but pushed back by the the COVID-19 pandemic — is the industry's annual initiative to help educate motorists about tire care, safety and maintenance.
The USTMA decided to move forward with National Tire Safety Week since more and more people are returning to the roads.
"As we continue to navigate a new world impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, tire manufacturers continue to create the smartest and most sustainable technologies that put the safest tires on the road," CEO Anne Forristall Luke at USTMA said.
"National Tire Safety Week is an initiative that educates drivers about the critical role they play in maintaining tire safety and ensures they have the information they need to successfully prioritize safety on the road."
The trade group presenting tire manufacturers in the U.S. recommends checking tire pressure each month as well as regularly checking tire tread depth. Tire rotation and proper alignment also are important considerations.
"Proper maintenance and periodic inspections by a tire professional are essential for optimum performance and service life of tires," the USTMA said.
Tire companies stepping in with promotional efforts include Bridgestone Americas Inc., Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Giti Tire USA and Yokohama Tire Corp. They are joined by wholesaler/retailer/franchisor TBC Corp.
"As the only part of a vehicle that directly connects to the road, tires play a critical role in ensuring a safe journey," Chris Lasko, chief quality officer for Bridgestone Americas said.
"Checking tire health is especially important for drivers who may have delayed routine vehicle maintenance in recent months due to COVID-19. We urge all Americans to inspect their tires today and keep their family and others safe on the road."
Bridgestone boiled down tire safety to three words: inflate, rotate and evaluate.
Cooper Tire is working with professional race car driver Loni Unser — the latest member of the Unser auto racing dynasty to take up the sport — who will conduct a series of radio and television interviews from Indianapolis Motor Speedway during the week.
"As a professional race car driver, I know that the tires on my vehicle are what's connecting me to the road, so tire safety is top of mind," she said, "but tire safety isn't just for the racetrack. It's important for everyday drivers to know how to properly maintain their tires and perform those checks often."
Drivers often overlook tires, Anne Roman, vice president of communications and public affairs at Cooper Tire, said. "But with more people taking road trips, it's more important than ever to raise awareness of tire safety," she said.
Giti Tire USA, the Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.-based subsidiary of Singapore-headquaartered Giti Tire Group, is supporting the tire safety effort with social media messaging during the week.
"Today's tires are marvels of engineering that deliver many attributes, such as dependable traction and long tread life," Thomas Okihisa, director of marketing for Giti Tire USA, said, "but they only work to their fullest potential if they are properly maintained.
"National Tire Safety Week is designed to inform drivers about critical safety tips such as proper air inflation pressure and how to determine when your tires need replacing."
Yokohama is releasing seven "consumer-focused" educational videos throughout the week hosted by an array of racers and automotive personalities, such as Travis Pastrana and Justin Lofton, who are part of "Team Yokohama."
TBC Corp. also is observing Tire Safety Week by offering free tire and 28-point vehicle checks at its NTB Tire & Service Centers and Tire Kingdom Service Centers around the country.