Ever since the advent of tire pressure monitoring systems, I’ve thought tires should have the capability of self-inflating. If the car can know when the pressure is low and then alert the driver, it should be able to activate a system to re-inflate while driving, too.
That bothers me every time the TPMS light illuminates on my dash, because it means I have to find my pressure checker, check all four tires, and scour my car’s crevices for lost quarters while hoping I can find a gas station with an air compressor or an open tire repair shop. That dang light has ruined more than one day.
I am grateful for the system, though, because it alerts me to possible screws stuck between the treads long before I’d think to check my air pressure. I’d rather spend an afternoon at a tire shop than stranded on a lonesome highway with a flat, that’s for sure. I just wish the tires would take care of the problem on their own.
Thanks to Goodyear, they just might.
Goodyear’s new Air Maintenance Technology system solves the problem of low air pressure by using an internal pressure regulator to determine when a tire is low. When pressure falls below a certain level, the regulator opens to allow air into a pumping tube. That tube runs around the circumference of the tire, and as the tire rolls, it squeezes the tube and forces air into the tire through an inlet.
When the tire reaches the proper pressure level, the regulator closes and the vehicle continues on its way without the driver ever having to fumble through his or her glovebox for a pressure checker and extra quarters.
For now, this technology is limited to commercial vehicles. Goodyear says implementing Air Maintenance Technology on big trucks was particularly difficult due to the higher-than-normal pressures found in large truck tires. Which must mean the technology is easier for passenger vehicles…
Which should mean we’ll start seeing self-inflating tires on our cars, we hope within the next couple of years. I can hardly wait.
Would you be willing to spend extra money for tires that always stayed properly inflated?