Case in point: The American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC) surveyed some 35,000 commercial vehicles and found that more than 20% of them – including trailers – had at least one tire that was underinflated by 20 PSI or more.
The underinflation problem is especially pervasive with trailers, some experts say, because drivers can’t “feel” trailer tires while driving the same way they can feel potential issues with tractor tires.
What Harm Does Low Tire Pressure Cause?
“Underinflation is the biggest issue in the industry. It is the number one cause of premature tire removal,” Sharon Cowart of Michelin told Fleet Equipment Magazine. “Underinflated tires build up excessive heat that can result in tire destruction and improper vehicle handling. In addition, it can result in irregular wear and poor fuel economy.”
At a minimum, low tire pressure can hurt your fuel budget and force you to pay for new tires more often than you would otherwise need to, not to mention that inflation violations can have a negative impact on your CSA scores. Tires are the cause of more than 53% of roadside breakdowns, per the TMC, and the second leading cause of roadside inspection violations.
Even worse, though, is the potential for serious accidents resulting from tire blowouts, putting the safety of commercial drivers and other motorists at risk.
Do Drivers Check Tire Pressure?
Drivers do check tractor and trailer tires during their pre- and post-trip inspections.
However, “monitoring tire pressure manually is inconvenient,” Michelle Reinhart, formerly of Continental Tire told Fleet Equipment, adding that checking the pressure of each tire can take upwards of 20 minutes out of a driver’s day, even more if they need to add air to underinflated tires.
“So, we find that many people use the ‘thump and go’ method, which is not reliable,” she said.
Trailer Telematics Is the Solution
Trailer telematics is most often associated with tracking trailer location. But advanced trailer telematics solutions on the market today provide much more information than just a dot on a map.
EROAD’s StealthNet trailer tracker, for example, is compatible with a variety of sensors that provide real-time data on trailer health, including tire pressure and temperature. This information lets carriers quickly identify and address underinflated tires, helping to extend tire life, improve fuel economy and avoid potentially catastrophic blowouts on the road.
Related: The ROI of Smart Trailer Tracking
Contact us today to learn more about how EROAD’s affordable, easy-to-install advanced trailer telematics solutions can help you run a safer, more efficient fleet.
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Luke is a writer, editor and journalist with more than 15 years of experience. His goal is to provide valuable content that helps people understand complex concepts, solve problems and make informed decisions.