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Fighting cold weather tire PSI loss

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“Fuel savings from properly inflated tires are well documented,” says Josh Carter, chief executive officer and co-founder of Aperia Technologies, the provider of a self-powered, bolt on tire inflation technology. “Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration research indicates that maintaining proper tire pressure can produce a 1.4% fuel efficiency increase for a five-axle tractor-trailer combination.

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“This time of year, however, colder road surfaces and ambient temperatures impact tire operating pressures,” Carter continued. “These seasonal factors can compound natural air leaks of a few PSI per month. Add a 20-degree drop in temperature to regular air loss and tire pressures will drop significantly.

“We’ve seen a truck operating in the Great Lakes region where a 63-degree temperature change in three days caused a 15-PSI drop in pressure,” Carter added. “While that’s an extreme case, a two to three PSI decrease for every drop in temperature of ten degrees is a factor to contend with during winter months.”

Underinflation causes more than a loss of fuel efficiency, Carter noted. “Inflation pressure impacts rolling resistance regardless of tire position,” he related. “Increased flexing in underinflated tires generates more heat, accelerating tire wear and damage, which reduces tire life and increases annual tire costs. Underinflation is also responsible for tire failures, which can add significant costs for road calls and downtime.

“You can’t just shorten preventive maintenance intervals to check tire pressures more frequently in winter, and drivers simply can’t be expected to keep up with that need,” Carter stated. “Even highly motivated drivers and technicians will find tire pressure management in colder weather demanding and more difficult.”

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Carter concluded that tire pressure monitoring and inflation systems can overcome cold weather variables. Aperia’s Halo Tire Inflator, available for drive and trailer axles on medium- and heavy-duty trucks, has completed over three years of fleet evaluations, accumulating 10 million miles of on-road testing, including winters in Canada. The system, which can be installed in five to 10 minutes per wheel end, operates on a similar principle to a hubodometer using a wheel’s rotational motion to pump and maintain optimal tire pressure. For more information, visit www.aperiatech.com.

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