Inflation pressure

Feb. 26, 2018
Tire pressure monitoring has been a requirement on passenger cars for a decade now.

Yes, the Fed is expected to continue raising rates. Yes, inflation is certainly under some pressure to increase. But, I’m not an economist and I’m not talking about inflation that makes the cost of everything go up over time (except when it is deflation in a recession, great or small). I’m talking hot air (bet you knew that)—the hot air inside tires.

Tire pressure monitoring has been a requirement on passenger cars for a decade now. To my wife and her 2006 minivan, it’s more of a nuisance than a help. Occasionally the light comes on, but without indication which tire is affected. Further, after more than a decade, the battery is potentially the problem. Short of replacing the four valves for more cost than I’m willing to pay, there’s nothing to do but drive with the light on. That experience does not bode well for other, more useful applications of the technology.

EPA was ready to require the system on all heavy trailers this year, but the courts stayed that implementation. Many fleets were ready to invest in tire inflation systems, as they kept the pressure at the right level, providing benefits in tire life and fuel economy. CARB might go ahead and require it which would likely force the industry to move toward monitoring tire pressure across the country. They were successful in getting air fairings on most trailers, as fleets were unable to find an effective way to run trailers in California only with such devices.

I just attended the National Trailer Manufacturers Association show in Ft. Worth and am headed to the Work Truck Show put on by the National Transportation Equipment Association. These are trailers from simple flatbed utility trailers to boat trailers, to small utility dump trailers, to some impressive horse trailers. I’m back to talking trailer cables with more pins, batteries, and solar power. It’s just it’s for much smaller trailers. Tire pressure is a question for these and the many recreational vehicle trailers. Would you believe 500,000 RV’s a year are being produced! Fuel economy is not so much an issue, but safety may be. Tires and wheels on these trailers are so inexpensive, I’d be inclined to call them cheap. That does not leave much room for adding content. I’ve been trying to find information on accident statistics, but I’m told by NHTSA that the reports for accidents are not standardized and it’s whatever the local jurisdiction puts into the report. So I’m not able to easily find the number of times a wheel falls off and a trailer separates from the towing vehicle. Lacking information, it’s hard to assess the extent of the problem and the opportunity.

So, I’m putting myself under pressure to figure out proper inflation. And, it’s getting me hot. Oh, yeah. I forgot to talk about measuring the temperature.

About the Author

Paul Menig | CEO

Paul Menig is the leader of Tech-I-M LLC, a consulting company focused on helping companies succeed by leveraging technology in their products and processes. After successfully introducing many high tech products in the corporate worlds of General Electric, Eaton and Daimler, he is now focused on savvy technology creating powerful results in companies of all sizes.

Paul also provides free counseling to a wide range of businesses as part of the non-profit organization SCORE that is associated with the Small Business Administration (SBA). Paul is a graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in electrical engineering and has participated in many training programs in quality, strategic planning, finance and technical areas.

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