How PSI Impacts Fuel Consumption & Safe Vehicle Operation



Bendix Offers Reminders and Insights to Mark National Tire Safety Week

ELYRIA, Ohio – (Trailer Technician) – Antilock brakes, full-stability systems, today’s collision mitigation technologies, and even tomorrow’s advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) are all engineered to enhance vehicle and roadway safety – but they perform at their best on properly maintained tires. To mark National Tire Safety Week 2020, Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC offers reminders and technical insights on the impact just a few psi can make on fuel consumption, uptime, and safe vehicle operation.

National Tire Safety Week is an initiative aimed at providing information on the essentials of proper tire care and maintenance, sponsored annually by the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association (USTMA). This year it occurs May 18-24.

“It’s vital that truck tires – on both tractors and trailers – are running on the right pressure, since their performance has significant impacts on several levels,” said Jon Intagliata, Bendix product manager for tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and trailer ABS. “And as safety systems become more integrated and complex, they still depend upon controlled interaction between driver, vehicle, and the road – where the tires are still the only point of contact.”

Tires, Technology, and the Right Tools

Maximizing the performance of today’s integrated vehicles means equipping them with the best set of safety tools: Whether a driver is pushing the brake pedal or a full-stability system is activating brakes at individual wheel-ends to help prevent a rollover, the tires need to be ready to deliver – and that requires proper pressure.

By keeping an eye on tire inflation and temperature, a tire pressure monitoring system helps keep the wheel-ends ready to deliver optimal performance when brakes and higher-level safety technologies demand it. The SmarTire® Tire Pressure Monitoring System by Bendix CVS and the SmarTire® Trailer-Link TPMS by Bendix CVS for trailers use wheel-mounted sensors inside the tires as opposed to exterior-mounted sensors on the valve stem. This enables SmarTire to continuously monitor both temperature and pressure, meaning the system can provide a deviation value showing the amount of overinflation or underinflation from the tire’s cold inflation pressure (CIP), automatically taking into account any increase in pressure due to temperature, and providing early alerts of tire pressure issues.

“Reading temperature may also help mitigate potential tire fires, since it helps alert the driver to potential wheel-end issues such as dragging brakes,” Intagliata noted. “Additionally, fleets can use TPMS system data to more effectively address issues such as frequent tire replacements and tire failures on the road to help shape their tire strategy and maintenance plans.” SafetyDirect® by Bendix CVS is one example: It’s a web portal that enables analysis of real-time information from TPMS and other connected safety technologies to help improve uptime and lower total cost of operation (TCO).

Running the Numbers

In trucking, small numbers turn big quickly when multiplied by thousands of wheel-ends and millions of miles, which is why fleets and drivers take notice of the American Trucking Associations’ Technology & Maintenance Council data which shows that running on a tire that’s underinflated by as little as 10% can reduce fuel economy by 1.5%. Take that underinflation to 20%, and you’re looking at about a 30% reduction in tire life. And industry studies show that the increased stress and higher running temperatures of underinflated tires raise the risk of tire blowouts – about 90% of which are the result of underinflation.

Dual-tire wheel-ends are also susceptible to another complication from improper inflation: uneven pressures. If the pressure between both tires is not equal, one tire will wind up carrying a greater share of the load and do more work than the other. In addition, their sizes will be slightly different, and as the tire assembly rotates, the smaller tire will drag, causing premature wear. This means that running imbalanced duals – even by just a difference of 5 psi – increases the odds of a blowout on the overloaded tire and significantly shortens tire life on the underinflated tire.

“It’s easy to think you’re covered just by keeping a close eye on your tires when you stop for breaks or spot checks, but it doesn’t take much to start negatively impacting the tire,” Intagliata said. “It’s tough to tell at a glance the difference between a tire running at 95 psi or one that’s properly inflated at 105 psi, especially on a dual-tire wheel-end or in a case of slow, gradual leakage.”

Intagliata continued, “During National Tire Safety Week and all other days of the year, Bendix emphasizes the importance of proper tire inflation – and how much every psi counts – on every tractor and trailer on the road. With our partners throughout the industry, it’s another way we’re shaping tomorrow’s transportation, together.”

Bendix stresses that like any safety system, a TPMS is meant to complement safe driving practices and is not intended to enable or encourage aggressive driving. Safe operation of any vehicle remains with the driver at all times, and no technology on the road today is a replacement for a skilled, alert driver exercising safe habits and supported by proactive, comprehensive driver training.

Bendix® SmarTire® and SafetyDirect® are part of Bendix’s ever-growing portfolio of technologies that deliver safety, vehicle performance, and efficiency, all backed by unparalleled post-sales support. By enhancing areas critical to the success of fleets and owner-operators, and strengthening return on investment in advanced equipment that puts drivers behind the wheels of safer trucks, Bendix lowers total cost of ownership and helps enhance highway safety across North America.

To learn more about Bendix TPMS, call 1-800-AIR-BRAKE or visit For deeper insight on Bendix technology and the commercial vehicle landscape through podcasts, blogs, videos, and more, visit the Knowledge Dock® at

About Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems LLC

Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, a member of Knorr-Bremse, develops and supplies leading-edge active safety technologies, energy management solutions, and air brake charging and control systems and components under the Bendix® brand name for medium- and heavy-duty trucks, tractors, trailers, buses, and other commercial vehicles throughout North America. An industry pioneer, employing more than 3,400 people, Bendix is driven to deliver solutions for improved vehicle safety, performance, and overall operating cost. Contact us at 1-800-AIR-BRAKE (1-800-247-2725) or visit Stay connected and informed through Bendix expert podcasts, blog posts, videos, and other resources at Follow Bendix on Twitter at Log on and learn from the Bendix experts at And to learn more about career opportunities at Bendix, visit