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Jun 3

Road Trips to Surge in Pandemic’s Wake

Tire makers advise drivers to check tire inflation and measure tread depth prior to summer driving getaways

Cambridge, June 3, 2021 – Canadian drivers are set to hit the road in droves once COVID-related travel restrictions are lifted, according to a new Leger survey for the Tire and Rubber Association of Canada (TRAC).

The survey finds that 61 per cent of drivers are planning a summer road trip or a drive to a vacation destination. Among younger drivers aged 18 to 34 and 35 to 44, that number climbs to 70 per cent and 72 per cent respectively.

Not surprisingly, COVID-19 has had a major impact on summer driving intentions:

  • 60 per cent of drivers say the restrictions imposed by the pandemic had a big influence on their decision to take a vacation involving driving this summer.
  • 44 per cent of those not planning a road trip cite COVID fears as the reason, while 24 per cent say their summer vacation plans do not involve driving and 17 per cent say they cannot afford a vacation because of pandemic-related financial hardship.

The findings also suggest a significant number of motorists neglected their tires during the pandemic. Almost two-in-ten drivers (18 per cent) say their tire pressures have not been checked at all in the past year. This percentage rises to 25 per cent for drivers aged 18 to 34 and 27 per cent among those 35 to 44.

Yet, despite these lapses in tire care, 95 per cent of drivers agree proper tire inflation is essential to vehicle safety. There is also high awareness that correct tire pressures save fuel (91 per cent) and protect the environment by lowering emissions (71 per cent).

TRAC research reveals a clear disconnect between understanding the importance of proper tire inflation and knowing how to ensure pressures are right. A tire maintenance study in 2019 found:

  • Only 21 per cent of drivers check their tires’ inflation pressures monthly, the frequency of measurements recommended by tire makers.
  • 63 per cent are unaware inflation pressures should only be measured when tires are cold. (A vehicle should be stationary for at least three hours or not have been driven more than two kilometres prior to checking tire inflation. Measuring pressures when tires are warm gives an inaccurate reading.)
  • 34 per cent refer to the air pressure stamped on the tire’s sidewall when identifying the correct pressure for their tires. (The imprinted sidewall pressure is the maximum pressure a tire can contain under maximum load, not the recommended inflation level. Prolonged driving at this inflation pressure may result in uneven tread wear and reduced traction. The correct inflation pressure for your tires is on the vehicle placard, which is commonly located on the driver’s door jamb. If the placard is not there, check the owner’s manual for its location.)
  • 11 per cent rely on visual inspections to determine if their tires are inflated properly. (A tire can be underinflated by 20 per cent or more and look normal.) 

“Tire maintenance is one of the simplest and fastest car care tasks drivers can perform to keep their vehicles and families safe on the road”, says Carol Hochu, president of TRAC. “Simple monthly tire pressure and tread checks, and visual tire inspection for tire damage such as cracks and bulges can provide drivers with peace of mind knowing their tires are in good working condition. Well-maintained tires provide drivers with maximum benefits when it comes to safety, fuel efficiency and longevity. We are all looking forward to that summer road trip, so let’s enjoy it safely.”

Canadians can learn more about maximizing the value and performance of their tires by visiting tracanada.ca.

Survey Methodology

A survey of 1,054 Canadian drivers was completed between May 21-23, 2021, using Leger’s online panel. A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of +/-3.0%, 19 times out of 20.

Tire and Rubber Association of Canada

A19–260 Holiday Inn Drive
Cambridge, ON N3C 4E8