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Hankook Survey: Driving Increases, Tire Maintenance Does Not

Twice as many Americans are driving regularly compared to the beginning of the pandemic but neglecting tire maintenance.

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As COVID-19 cases decline in many areas and the national vaccination effort gains momentum, twice as many Americans are driving regularly compared to the beginning of the pandemic, according to the latest Hankook Tire Gauge Index. While 66% of Americans are now driving at least a few times per week, compared with just 31% in April 2020, the Gauge Index found that most of us have not been looking after our vehicles. With more mild temperatures on the horizon, proper vehicle maintenance ensures a smooth ride as more drivers get back on the road.

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According to the Gauge, 70% of drivers across the U.S. had not checked their tire pressure in the 30 days prior, despite the industry recommendation to do so at least once a month. In addition, 73% had not topped off their vehicle fluids, and two-in-three had not cleaned their vehicle, inside or out.

Further, only one-in-three Americans (32%) surveyed have taken their vehicles out for regular drives, which is useful to keep fluids circulated, the battery charged, and to help spot any mechanical issues that may need professional attention. Overall, one-in-five Americans (22%) admitted that they had done no maintenance on their vehicle in the prior 30 days.

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“As many of us are getting back behind the wheel more regularly, we need our vehicles to run smoothly and safely so we can focus on the road ahead,” said Daniel Brown, senior technical services specialist, Hankook Tire America Corp. “That’s why Hankook Tire encourages drivers to add routine maintenance to their spring-cleaning rituals. A well-running vehicle will help many of us recapture a sense of freedom and adventure.”

March Maintenance Vehicle Tips
With the prospect of better days on the road ahead, Hankook offers some helpful tips, both on the driveway and on the road, for safe and reliable driving:

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  • Check the tires: Because tire pressure can change significantly as the outside temperature fluctuates, it’s important to check the tire pressure at least once a month to ensure it meets your vehicle’s recommended PSI. Low tire pressure can lead to poor performance, premature and irregular wear, and higher rolling resistance which can impact fuel efficiency. And a simple penny test can check the tread. Poor tread depth can also impact the vehicle’s handling and lead to hydroplaning, a flat or blow out. If the tires show any signs of damage, excessive wear or aging, it’s important to have your tires checked by a reputable service facility to ensure their safety and best performance.
  • Spring cleaning: Take advantage of more mild temperatures to give your vehicle a thorough clean, inside and out. A clean car does more than just shine: in colder climates, it’s important to wash off damaging chemicals like road salt that can corrode the critical components underneath your vehicle and dull the vehicle’s paint coat if not cleaned off Interior cleaning can also keep debris from getting into certain components such as seat adjustment mechanisms, floor vents and window switches, which can reduce functionality if not kept clean.
  • Under the hood: Check that all of your vehicle’s fluids are at the proper levels, such as oil, washer fluid and coolant, and that all your lights are in working order. If unsure about checking or adding fluid, or how to change any lights, your local shop can usually administer these services at little expense.
  • Weekly shake-outs: Take your vehicle out for a weekly drive to keep the battery charged, fluids circulated, and to prevent tires from flat-spotting on the driveway. This is also a good opportunity to spot any mechanical issues that may need further professional attention.
  • Prepare for potholes: After a long winter of steady snow, ice and rain, springtime thawing of the roads can create substantial potholes. The correct driving technique can help prevent damage when encountering potholes: keep plenty of distance between you and the car ahead so as to easily spot potholes. If a pothole impact is inevitable, don’t swerve, but instead safely decrease your speed, take it head-on and slowly roll over the pothole. It is always advisable to check your tires after any measurable pothole impact as it may damage the tire structure and could require replacement.

The Hankook Tire Gauge Index is a survey of Americans’ attitudes and opinions about driving. The latest survey, conducted February 22-24, 2021, polled 2,732 randomly selected Americans age 18+ who have a valid U.S. driver’s license.

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The latest data from the Hankook Tire Gauge Index can be found at TechAndTread.com.

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