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Pressure Systems International tells us what’s important about truck tires, previews new technologies

Jason Morgan is the content director of Fleet Equipment. He has more than 15 years of B2B journalism experience covering the likes of trucking and construction equipment, real estate, movies and craft beer industries.

PSI-Meritor-Automatic-Tire-inflation-1400

Pressure System International (PSI) knows a ton about tires. At an event held in San Antonio, the automatic tire inflation system progenitor (with 1.8 million systems in use worldwide) talked about the top tire management issues and made the case for why fleets need to continue to increase their focus on tires. Spoiler alert: advanced tire data analytics is making it easier.

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Before we dive into the new tire data details that PSI previewed, let’s take stock of the tire basics. Here were the top takeaways.

Tires continue to be the No. 1 maintenance cost for commercial fleets

PSI hammered home that tires plague fleet maintenance bottom lines. One of the biggest reasons has been the increase in tire prices. According to a PSI survey of tire prices, they’ve found that costs for 18 new tires on a truck are up more than 34%. Here’s the chart:

PSI-2021-truck-tire-costs-600

Improper tire inflation continues to be a driving cause of unplanned tire service issues

PSI names it the No. 1 issue that fleets face today. The reasons it happens are numerous. In working with fleets, PSI has found a multitude of common reasons for improper truck tire inflation, including:

  • It takes too long to check;
  • Inflation gauges are inaccurate;
  • You get dirty checking them;
  • You lose valve caps after a pressure check;
  • It’s difficult to reach the inside dual; and
  • Valve cores stick in the cold and lose air.

Even more tire inflation trivia

Al Cohn
Al Cohn

With 18 tires on the trucks, the most neglected tire in terms of maintenance checks, the right rear inside tire (the furthest tire from the driver) is the infamous winner. Bonus question: What percentage of road gators on the highway are due to underinflation?

The answer: Approximately 90%.

A quick side note: Al Cohn who worked for PSI and was a columnist for Fleet Equipment always made tire inflation exciting and relevant. Sadly, Al passed away in April, but he lives in our archives. It’s worth diving back into his excellent tire insight. Click here to peruse his work, or click below to read more about important tire inflation practices:

How truck tire inflation technology can help

PSI, of course, touted its automatic tire inflation system for trailers and TireView tire pressure monitoring system. Also worth attention was ThermALERT, which displays a visual and sounds audible alert when a wheel end’s temperature climbs to dangerous levels, immediately alerting drivers to overheating wheel-ends so that they can take preventive action to avoid damage. While a roadside service event will still happen, PSI says that it protects the axle, suspension, trailer and cargo from a catastrophic wheel end fire. ThermALERT is standard on the Meritor Tire Inflation System (MTIS).

The latest news was a preview of PSI’s increasingly technology-driven solutions. The aforementioned ThermALERT is getting a digital ThermALERT version that will track temperature data that can alert fleets about temperature issues within PSI’s telematics portal and allow users to schedule alerts to inform shop managers and technicians. More news on that should come next year.

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Speaking of telematics, PSI showed off TireView Live–a data analytics platform that allows users to use data to drill down on tire service issue root causes and inform maintenance decisions. The tire management platform debuted in 2019, but has advanced rapidly. Jonathan Gravell, vice president of business development, PSI, provided a fresh look of the platform:

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