Tires are one of the most important components of a car. After all, if there are not good tires on your vehicle, it is not going to get very far, at least not safely.
Having those tires properly inflated is crucial for your safety. However, dealing with low tire pressure can be difficult. There are simple compressors that plug into your cigarette lighter. However, getting enough length on the power cable on those can be challenging for larger vehicles.
You can also use one of the inflation stations at most gas stations around Springfield. However, that will cost you anywhere from about $1 to $3 for just a few minutes. Many times it will take two or three rounds to fully inflate your tires, especially if one or more are significantly low.
So would it not be amazing to have self inflating tires to just deal with it for you? Keep reading to see how these might benefit drivers and how close we are to seeing it as a reality.
The Dangers of Low Tire Pressure
You come are about to get into your car, and notice one of the tires looks like it might be a little low. Are you going to ignore it, or go put some air it? It can be a tough decision sometimes, especially with our overly busy lifestyles.
However, most drivers do not realize the danger of driving on underinflated tires. Here are the most common dangers:
- Significantly reduced fuel economy
- Tire failure or a blowout
- Additional suspension repairs
- Changes to handling while driving
None of these seem overly concerning until you think about the actual dangers. Most of these dangers pose a physical danger, leading to avoidable collisions and injuries.
Causes of Low Tire Pressure
There are several causes of low tire pressure, even before a tire is completely flat. The first one that most people think about is rolling over something that has punctured or damaged the tire. This may not lead to a flat right away but may cause a slow leak.
Another very common cause for motorists around Springfield is a change in season, especially as the weather cools off. Think about a balloon outside when the air temperature drops. The air inside condenses, and the balloon is no longer fully inflated. The same thing happens to tires so expect to add a little air when the air cools off.
The final common issue is a bad seal of the tire on the rim. This can be caused by damage to the tire bead due to underinflation as well as improperly mounting the tire. Even some residue from a previous tire on the rim can cause this kind of leak.
Developing Self Inflating Technology
Due to the dangers posed by underinflated tires, auto manufacturers have attempted to help motorists solve this particular problem.
One of the most significant developments was the onboard pressure sensor. This usually displays on the console with a warning light when the pressure is low. Some cars even display the actual tire pressure on the electronic display. In more advanced systems, you will get this reported to your key fob as well.
This is great for bringing awareness to the problem but does little to solve it, especially while traveling in remote or dangerous areas. This is why the technology for self inflating tires has become critical.
Early Commercial Applications
Commercial vehicle tire blowouts are a significant risk to these drivers, their cargo, and everyone on the road with them. It is no wonder these were some of the manufacturers to solve this problem with systems like the Meritor Tire Inflation System. These are not truly self inflating tires, as they rely on an air compressor to increase tire pressure.
Broader Development and Application
There are newer technologies that do not integrate a compressor to work properly. One such option is from SIT and uses the rotation of the tire to inflate the tire. When sensors indicate the tire pressure is low, it triggers a valve to use a tube in the bead to suck in air. Because this happens while the vehicle is in motion, it creates enough vacuum to bring it back up to the full pressure. Once the optimal pressure is reached, the valve closes again. This would make self inflating technology available to most vehicles without air compressors already in place.
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