There are a number of reasons why it is difficult to keep tires properly inflated.
Photo credit: Photo courtesy of Goodyear
When not properly inflated, tires flex more under load. This produces heat and stress, which increases rolling resistance, and that wastes fuel.
Truck tires inflated 10 psi below recommended air pressure levels can reduce truck fuel economy between 0.5 percent and 1 percent.
Heat and stress from improper inflation soften and deflect tire components, causing faster and more uneven wear, which shorten the life of the tire.
What’s more, underinflated tires have more frequent punctures, increasing the risk of tire failures that could lead to costly road service and loss of revenue.
The importance of proper tire inflation pressure is well understood. The problem is: how to accomplish it.
Tire pressure maintenance is very challenging because of the many factors working against maintaining tire inflation pressure.
During a press event at the recent 2014 Technology & Maintenance Council Annual Meeting & Transportation Technology Exhibition, Josh Carter, CEO and co-founder of Aperia Technologies, listed a number of these factors.
See how many of them you are aware of:
- Natural leakage. Air molecules are small enough to escape through the rubber in a tire via diffusion, decreasing tire pressure.
- Extreme temperature. Tire pressure can drop up to 15 psi in less than one week during an extreme winter cold spell.
- Direct sunlight. Exposure to direct sunlight causes tire pressure to increase and is difficult to account for during maintenance.
- Driving between climates. Temperatures can vary widely as vehicles drive back and forth between regions with hot and cold climates.
- Hot tires. Tires coming in for maintenance while still hot from driving on the road require five hours to cool.
- Heated shops. Temperature differences between the inside and outside of maintenance shops in the winter cause swings in tire pressure.
- Leaky valve stems. Valve stems can corrode or collect debris which block the value open and cause tires to slowly lose pressure.
- Inaccurate equipment. Air pressure measurement equipment needs regular calibration and can lose accuracy with rough handling.
- Human error. Improperly inflated tires are sometimes missed or improperly adjusted during maintenance.
Aperia Technologies s a company solely focused on combating the problem of tire underinflation in commercial vehicles.