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TPMS: keep up the pressure

Today’s tire pressure monitoring systems manage air pressure and much, much more.


ressure Monitoring System (TPMS) from Bendix CVS now offers trailer wheel-end monitoring and integration with the company’s SafetyDirect system. The recently released SmarTire Trailer-Link TPMS wirelessly transmits alerts, pressure and temperature information for trailers directly to the tractor. SafetyDirect allows fleets and drivers to view real-time tire alerts, and pressure or temperature data, via an in-vehicle display or integrated OEM dashboard, and remotely by using the SafetyDirect portal.

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The latest version of SmarTire for tractors automatically detects the Trailer-Link so no driver intervention is necessary. If the tractor is not equipped with a SmarTire system, a lamp mounted to the nose of the trailer, where it can be seen in a sideview mirror, will blink to notify the driver of a tire problem. SmarTire for trailers is available through trailer manufacturers and as a retrofit kit.

Continental Tire the Americas
Following a year of testing in fleets across the U.S., Continental Tire the Americas has rolled out its ContiPressureCheck system. Jointly developed by the company’s Commercial Vehicle Tire, Body and Security and Commercial Vehicles & Aftermarket business units, the system utilizes sensors mounted inside tires to provide temperature and pressure readings.

Compatible with all makes of commercial tires, ContiPressureCheck includes sensors, a communications system and processing in a single module that is contained inside a rubber container and glued to the inner surface of the tire. Alerts and warnings are displayed inside the cab for tractor and trailer tires.

The right balance for optimum fuel efficiency

 Counteract Balancing Beads notes that its technology allows this product to respond and  react to wheel imbalances “on the fly,” keeping the entire wheel assembly balanced for the life of the tire. According to the company, because of a unique, high-tech balancing process, much less friction is created within the moving tire—drastically lowering the operating temperature of the rubber, in turn increasing tire life.


Counteract offers a “bag-in-bag” drop-in system for ease of application, however, this product can also be installed through the valve stem and is compatible with TPMS and inner tube tires.
According to the company, shop owners and managers see a better end result on their tire sales when balanced with Counteract—less returns, less complaints, better overall reputation and better customer retention. On the same token, more and more fleets are finding increased fuel economy and incredible tire longevity and are beginning to demand this product, the maker said.

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With the AirBAT Tractor Interface Module from Stemco, tire pressures are monitored every two seconds and wirelessly transmitted to the cab, alerting drivers as soon as a low tire pressure is detected. At the same time, SMS text and email alerts are sent to maintenance personnel. The Tractor Interface Module connects with a single cable while AirBAT sensors monitor pressure in all tires on the tractor and/or trailer. Alert levels with the system are adjustable.

Also available are a Gate Reader, which automatically collects sensor data at selected locations such as entry or exit points, maintenance facilities or fuel islands, and downloads to the WebBAT information manager for real-time monitoring and analysis. Tire information can be captured manually, as well, by using the company’s HandBAT device, a manual reader used to capture sensor and fuel usage information. Data from the device can be downloaded to WebBAT and stored in the handheld unit.





Tire Stamp
TireVigil TPMS and TireVigil TPMS Trailer from Tire Stamp incorporate wireless technologies that provide remote diagnostics so fleet maintenance personnel, as well as drivers, are aware of developing tire problems. Every alert for underinflation, overinflation, overheating, and differences in dual tire pressures from the systems also include the vehicle’s last known location. Alerts and reports can be sent over smartphones, tables or any Internet connected device to anyone the fleet chooses, including tire service providers.

TireVigil TPMS Trailer automatically connects to TireVigil TPMS on the tractor when the trailer is hooked, so trailer tires are recognized and monitored automatically. TireVigil TPMS Trailer monitors an unlimited number of tires, in standard dual or wide base sizes, and accommodates a wide range of trailer configurations including dry vans, reefers, tankers, flatbeds, livestock, auto carriers, dry bulk and dump models.




The Ride-On LED Smart Cap Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) from Inovex Industries consists of a valve cap that automatically calibrates itself to a tire’s pressure, and provides visual alerts using a blinking red LED if a tire is low on air. Installation requires only setting a tire’s desired inflation pressure.

The LED Smart Cap alerts drivers and maintenance personnel if a tire’s pressure drops by more than four or eight PSI, depending on the model. The LED Smart Cap, available in two versions for tires with pressures ranging from 30 to 170 PSI, can compensate for ambient temperature changes. The cap, which flashes yellow when its batteries are low and need to be replaced, cannot be removed without a key or special tool.


Advantage PressurePro

Underinflation: Enemy #1
The tire experts at GT Radial refer to an article in a magazine that stated that 80% of all tire failures were related to underinflation. The article appeared in 1928. So 85 years later, not much has changed! With the summer season approaching in many areas of the country, this is a good time to remember that maintaining proper tire air pressure has never been more important.

GT Radial states that having the proper pressure to carry the load is important all year long, but with underinflated tires, scorching temperatures can create a tire failure surprisingly fast.

Under-inflated tires can lead to:
• Increased sidewall flex
• Increased heat buildup
• Reduced wet performance
• Faster wear
• Irregular wear
• Increased fuel consumption (10 PSI = 1% MPG in TBR tires)

Over-inflation causes:
• Reduced shock absorption
• Suspension wear
• Irregular wear
• Loss of traction in turns
• Vulnerability to cutting/impacts
• Lower level of comfort

Why is it important to check cold inflation pressure as frequently as possible? Because truck tires lose up to 2 PSI/month, and because truck tires change 1 PSI for every 10 degrees F temperature change and every 2,000 ft. altitude change.


What you need to correctly check truck tire air pressure:

• Tire size, load rating
• Actual maximum load per axle
• Number of tires per axle

• Maximum speed during operation
• Tire manufacturer’s data book on tire or Industry Standards (TRA, ETRTO)
• Service conditions (on-highway vs. off-highway)

The PressurePro line of tire pressure monitoring solutions is comprised of sensors, which replace valve caps, and an in-cab monitor, which provides tire pressure information and alerts to low and high pressure situations. Low pressure warnings include an alert at a 12.5% drop in pressure and again at a 25% drop, although fleets can customize alert levels from 10% to 45% in 5% increments. Additionally, an alert is provided when a tire reaches the temperature at which rubber components start to break down. Standard data logging capabilities of PressurePro products allow users to download time stamped pressure and temperature information. The solution also has the ability to utilize remote monitoring options through partnerships with providers of in-cab communications systems.

Mobile Awareness
Still in development with an expected release late this year, a new TPMS offering from Mobile Awareness will offer temperature (within 1º C) and pressure (within 1% PSI) sampling every 10 seconds and real-time reporting when an out of range reading is recorded. Otherwise, the system’s report module, which combines collected data with CAN bus information, will report every 90 seconds. Also under development are a color touch screen and the ability to download other apps.


Money well spent
TPMS provides a means of keeping tires properly inflated. By some estimates, underinflation of as little as 10% results in a 1.5% drop in fuel economy. Industry wide, underinflation and resulting excessive heat are responsible for 90% of tire failures, and almost half of all road calls are tire-related. In some cases, by eliminating a single road service call, TPMS can pay for itself. Initially, the price of a Tire Pressure Monitoring System may cause some fleets to hesitate, but as manufacturers are quick to point out, it can be money well spent.  


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