While tire makers agree a direct tire pressure monitoring system is most effective, one aspect of monitoring concerns them.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's standard states that monitoring devices should warn motorists of low tire pressure when levels have fallen to 25 or 30 percent below the vehicle maker's recommended inflation pressure, depending on the system. Tire industry officials agree this can only invite disaster.
``We believe that motorists will come to rely on tire pressure monitoring systems for warnings on underinflation,'' said Donald Shea, Rubber Manufacturers Association president. ``It is absolutely foolish to believe that motorists won't be dependent on it. And that's why we want a reserve inflation standard for tires, because it's possible for motorists to drive with significant underinflation without knowing it.''
The RMA petitioned the agency on a reserve inflation pressure standard in July. Essentially, it requests that auto makers be required to recommend an inflation pressure sufficient to carry the vehicle load at pressure losses as great as 30 percent. The agency has yet to rule on the petition.
``We continue to work with NHTSA concerning the content and details surrounding that (monitoring) mandate,'' said Larry Toops, Goodyear manager of global product performance and industry standards. ``Our concern is to make sure that tires aren't overloaded.''