After clocking in a 2000 mile trip from southern California to the top of the state, through rough roads, sometimes unpaved and back on highways at high speed, it makes you appreciate how far tires have come… and my wife would add brakes too! We marveled at how well her Subaru Imprezza WRX handled off road situations, up and down steep hills and mountains, and had no problems going a little bit over the speed limit on highways. We do use good tires on all our cars.
Self Inflating Tires. Bad fuel economy can be summed up in a few words, stop and go gunning it at traffic lights and under-inflated tires. Sure, air filters and other parameters play an important role but those two above mentioned are the biggest culprits. Any trip down most of our roads will show you. People go months without checking tire pressure and wonder why their fuel economy has gotten worse, when a simple routine could save them thousands of dollars at the pump.
Goodyear Puts Pressure Back. Goodyear has been working on an intelligent system that keeps your tire at optimal pressure. It was simple and by using the company’s Air Maintenance Technology, AMT, the system keeps tires at the optimum pressure without an external pump. In fact, everything is contained inside the tire where an internal regulator detects when the air pressure drops below the tire’s pre-specified psi. If it does, it opens up a valve allowing air in and then pushes it through a tube to the valve into the tire.
The system is ingenious in the following way. As the tire roles, its deformation flattens the tube within and pushes air into the tire, as you can see form the above picture. This does away with any electronic, pump and other energy intensive energy robbing systems.
AMT Availability. Goodyear will initially make its AMT system available for commercial vehicle fleet owners. The press releases states a 2008 report from the American Trucking Association that shows most truck and trailer breakdowns involve a tire malfunction. This is the single largest maintenance cost item for fleet owners. By keeping tires properly inflated, Goodyear hopes to help fleet owner cut costs by improving fuel economy and prolonging tread life.
According to Goodyear, every 10psi loss of tire inflation equals a 1% loss in miles per gallon, which is not negligible for fleet operators. To complicate further the matter, tires that are 10% underinflated decrease their tread life by 9 to 16%, making Goodyear’s AMT system a winner in its category.