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Self-inflating tire tech saves you at the pump

Graphic of tire tech
An info graphic explains how Goodyear's new self-inflating tire technology works.Goodyear

When was the last time you checked your tire pressure? If you’re scratching your head, you might want to put a set of Goodyear’s new self-inflating tires on your ride.

The company’s Air Maintenance Technology was rolled out of the lab this week for debut at a car show in Germany. Commercial truckers will be the first to put the rubber to test, but a consumer version is in the works.

As illustrated in the graphic above, a regulator in the tire senses when tire-inflation pressure drops below a pre-set point and opens to allow air flow into the pumping tube. As the tire rolls, deformation flattens the tube, pushing air through the tire to the inlet valve and then into the tire cavity.

All this technology, in Goodyear’s words, eliminates the need for “external inflation pressure intervention.”

The hassle of interventions aside, maintaining properly inflated tires is key for fuel economy and the life of tire. For every 10 psi (pounds per square inch) of pressure lost, for example, there’s a corresponding one percent loss in miles per gallon, Goodyear explained in a news release

A one percent loss in miles per gallon translates to $627 down the drain for a truck that gets 6.6 miles per gallon, drives 100,000 miles a year, and fills up with diesel that costs $4.10 per gallon, according to the company.

Properly inflated tires will also last longer and handle better on the road, Goodyear notes. 

While there’s no price listed yet for the tires, assuming the fuel savings and reduced tire replacement costs pencil out over the life of the vehicle, the technology seems like a wise investment with the added bonus of reducing carbon dioxide emissions via the fuel savings.

And, what’s more, no longer will you need to think about checking your tire pressure, which you probably haven’t done for a long time anyway. 

 – via Gizmag 

John Roach is a contributing writer for NBC News Digital. To learn more about him, check out his website. For more of our Future of Technology series, watch the featured video below.