Tire pressure systems are a win, win, win, win

Oct. 3, 2014

There are multiple reasons to make sure tires are properly inflated. First, the cost per mile for tires is 4.1 cents, according to the American Transportation Research Institute. According to a Trucking Efficiency study (http://truckingefficiency.org/tires-rolling-resistance), when all the tires on a truck are underinflated by 10 psi, there is a 0.5% to 1% increase in fuel consumption not to mention a degradation in tire wear of 5% to12% with just one tire underinflated by 10 psi. And downtime due to tire blowouts on the highway can cost as much as $500 per tractor trailer per year and finally, tire pressure is one of the areas inspected under CSA regulations.

Historically it’s been the driver’s responsibility to check tire inflation pressure during pre-trip inspections, yet studies repeatedly show that underinflated tires are an ongoing issue. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration reported that one out of every five trucks is operating with one or more tires underinflated by at least 20 psi. The problem is especially severe on the inside tire in a dual tire configuration. It’s harder for drivers to check inflation pressure in those tires.

Solutions have emerged to help better manage tire inflation pressure. Some fleets are turning to tire inflation systems for their trailers. These systems sense when tire pressure falls below pre-set levels and automatically adds air to return the tire to its proper inflation pressure. Fleets have reported 1.5% improvements in miles per gallon when using ATIS. For more details on ATIS go to http://truckingefficiency.org/tires/tire-pressure-inflation-trailer.  And technologies are emerging that will provide tire inflation for tractors as well.

For fleets that prefer to have their drivers more involved in tire care, there are tire pressure monitoring systems for both tractors and trailers. These systems monitor tire pressure and alert drivers when pressure falls below a pre-set level. Drivers then know they need to add air to the tire(s) to get it back to the proper inflation level. For more details about tire pressure monitoring for tractors and trailers go to: http://truckingefficiency.org/tires/tire-pressure-monitoring-tractors and http://truckingefficiency.org/tires/tire-pressure-monitoring-trailer

Keeping tires properly inflated gives you big wins: reduced tire wear, increased fuel economy, fewer roadside breakdowns and fewer CSA violations. If you haven’t looked at tire pressure systems, now is a good time to do so. And it’s easy because we’ve done the initial research for you including developing a payback calculator. Go to http://truckingefficiency.org/ to get unbiased information to help you make the right decision for your fleet.

About the Author

Michael Roeth | Executive Director

Michael Roeth has worked in the commercial vehicle industry for nearly 30 years, most recently as executive director of the North American Council for Freight Efficiency (NACFE). He serves on the second National Academy of Sciences Committee on Technologies and Approaches for Reducing the Fuel Consumption of Medium and Heavy-Duty Vehicles and has held various positions in engineering, quality, sales, and plant management with Navistar and Behr/Cummins.

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