Since having auto-inflators on my trailer for a couple years now, I have seen all sorts of things get lodged in my tires to cause a leak. I have pulled plenty of nails that haven’t got through to cause a leak, but have had four incidents where debris has made its way through to damage my trailer tires. Of the four times, one was a 1” x 1” x 4” piece of pallet that impaled a rear tire ("Auto-Inflators Save The Day"), as where the other three were all fairly large screws and bolts. Each time something has got stuck in my tire though, the auto-inflation system has been there to get me to the repair facility safely, saving me the costly price of a road service call in a remote location.
Today just so happened to mark the day I picked up the largest of the three screws I have been unfortunate enough to get in a trailer tire while having this particular trailer. While getting out at my receiver and walking towards the back of the trailer to the guard shack, I heard a hissing sound getting louder as I neared the trailer tandems. Without even having to search, there it was staring right at me hissing away, a large hex head bolt being held in by its course threads. Thanks to my tire inflation system though, it had not steadily drained in pressure while driving, which would have caused me to run flat or even had a true blowout. Since the tire was constantly having pressure replaced by the truck’s air system, the course threads were held in the tire and it was able to maintain safe operating pressure going down the road.
Not wanting to take any chances and having a little bit of time in between offloading and picking up the next load, I was able to limp it to the nearest truck tire store after unloading to get the bolt removed and the tire properly patched. Knowing how much road service calls cost, the four times I have made it to a tire shop myself makes it as though the system has virtually paid for itself. I am a big believer now through first-hand experience that these systems are something that should definitely be spec’d on new trailers and purchased aftermarket for trailers not already equipped. Not only could being stranded with a flat have cost me the escalated price of a road service call, but I might also have had to give up a load if the road service call took too long, making me late for a pickup or delivery. An investment into an inflation system is a relatively small price to pay in helping to defend oneself from being “screwed”…or bolted, or nailed!