Could the Self-Inflating Tire Become a Reality?

Tire checkKeeping your tires properly inflated is vital to maintaining the right performance, safety and fuel economy targets for your car. It’s ironic, then, that something so important is often left to the driver’s discretion — remember, too much or too little tire pressure can lead to problems. The new mandatory tire pressure monitoring systems help, but wouldn’t it be easier if tire pressure were perfectly regulated on its own?

Goodyear has been working on just such a solution, and it came up with a tire design that can keep tires properly inflated at all times.

Self-regulating tires are not new — most large semi-trucks have them, the New York Times reports. The difference here is rather than using an external air pump and pressure valve — something that would look odd on a passenger car — the mechanism lies within the tire itself.

The miniature pump and other components would automatically regulate the air pressure, maintaining the proper specifications for the given vehicle.

Right now Goodyear doesn’t know when (or if) the technology would be marketable, but if it can be sold to the public, it could make a big impact on the nation’s gasoline use. And the first applications would likely be in semi-trucks, not passenger cars. 

One out of three cars has severely underinflated tires, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Underinflated tires can reduce fuel economy between 2.5% and 3.3% in passenger cars and commercial trucks. At today’s prices, that equates to 12 cents wasted per gallon of gas, Goodyear says.

Improperly inflated tires also increase a vehicle’s stopping distance and affect the ride and handling and long-term life of the tires.

Related
Cars.com’s Guide to Tire Maintenance

By Colin Bird | August 30, 2011 | Comments (4)

Comments 

skinner

If it can be affordable, I am all for it. Properly inflated tires make a big difference in fuel economy. I am sure a modestly priced device would easily pay for itself.

It would be nice to see further information published on overinflation. A quick survey of friends, and experience with a few tire shops, suggests that one out of three cars has underinflated tires, and the other two have overinflated tires.

Chris

Great. Increase wheel cost and unsprung weight. I think annoying TPMS systems are sufficient, especially since it's illegal for repair shops to disable them.*

*But you can do it. or you can mount non-TPMS rims

alekaneleno

Goodyear is hardly first with this http://www.selfinflatingtire.com/
and is liable to have problems with its patent

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