There has been a system available for a couple years now that could potentially remove all the hours of worry and waking up in cold sweats over low tire pressure. MAXAIR has accurate pressure sensors that go farther than just monitoring your tires, but when the time comes, actually triggers an on-board compressor to re-inflate the leaky trouble-maker. This is something that can easily be remedied now by reading your manual, splurging on a $5 pressure gauge, and stopping at a gas station and pumping up. Actually, many air compressors now have a pressure gauge built in, so... yeah....
Anyway, MAXAIR actually does sound like a nice option for SUVs or luxury cars, however their estimated cost per vehicle for the manufacturer of $200 seems a little steep. I'm sure they have underestimated it for hype purposes, and the manufacturer has other expenses unaccounted for, plus mark-up... the whole idea seems to unravel and not be worth it. Then again, this is the one thing the Lexus LS 600hL doesn't have....
[Source: MAXAIR ATMI, Inc. (Automatic Tire & Monitoring Inflation)]
Auto Safety System Saves Lives, Fuel, & Greenhouse Gases
A system by MAXAIR that detects and automatically fills under-inflated tires with air is ready to roll but has not yet been made available by car manufacturers.
ORLANDO, Fla., June 7 /PRNewswire/ -- A new auto safety feature could prevent the 30,000 accidents and 660 deaths that are blamed on under-inflated tires every year in the U.S. It can also save drivers a total of $5 billion in gas and reduce CO2 emissions by 250lbs per car annually.
"This feature is ready and available and could be on all new automobiles," says Clyde Stech, President, MAXAIR ATMI, Inc., which created the safety system. "It's a matter of consumers demanding it and auto manufacturers making it available."
MAXAIR not only detects when tires on cars, light trucks and SUVs are under-inflated, but it also automatically fills tires to the right pressure using air from an onboard compressor. But so far, auto manufacturers seem to be in the slow lane when it comes to offering this system on cars, SUVs and light trucks.
"Existing statistics show that MAXAIR will save lives, fuel, and greenhouse gases," says Stech, "it's as simple as that."
Additionally, similar systems have been in existence in the heavy duty trucking industry for over a decade. That industry has been experiencing the benefits of ATMI systems for years and now it is time for the automobile industry.
Monitoring systems currently on the market could be off by 20-30-percent and they only activate dashboard-warning lights to alert drivers that tire needs air. Drivers then need to find air to fill the tires. With MAXAIR, it's all done automatically and is accurate within 1-2-percent.
The cost: A lot less than most might think. An automobile parts manufacturer could supply the device to automakers for about $200 a vehicle.