Nissan’s announcement couldn’t have come at a better time. With a new federal study showing underinflated tires triple your risk of an accident the Japanese maker plans to introduce a new “Easy Fill Tire Alert” system on its 2013 Altima sedan that takes the guesswork out of keeping tires properly inflated.
The new technology starts with a more advanced version of the tire-pressure monitoring system, or TPMS, required by federal law since 2000. But it adds even more technology that can help a motorist properly inflate their tires without even using a tire gauge.
Nissan is putting heavy emphasis on the introduction of the completely redesigned 2013 Altima, according to marketing manager Scott Shirley, who calls it “the biggest launch we’ve ever had.”
The new sedan features decidedly more distinctive styling than the old Altima, and offers markedly improved fuel economy – the highway rating for the 2.5-liter I-4 version climbing to 38 mpg, which Nissan officials anticipate will be best-in-segment. They’re also adding a number of new safety features. The headlights, for example, will automatically come on when the windshield wipers make four passes, complying with new standards in about half the States.
Nissan’s TPMS system exceeds the basic requirements of current federal law. The old Altima simply alerted the driver that one of its tires was underinflated. It was then the motorist’s job to figure out which tire was low and then re-inflate it.
The 2013 Altima adopts a more advanced monitoring system typically found in much more expensive vehicles – the base Nissan sedan starting at just $21,500 plus destination charges. The pressure in each individual tire is displayed on the 4-inch LCD monitor between the car’s tachometer and speedometer.
That in itself should be motivation for motorists to keep tires properly inflated, a safety step often ignored despite significant consequences. As TheDetroitBureau.com reports today, a new study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveals that the risk of an accident triples with under-severely inflated tires. (Click Here for the full story.)
But the Easy Fill Tire Alert system adds another feature that should further encourage motorists to maintain their tires.
It eliminates the need for a tire gauge. Instead, the blinkers flash while the tire is being filled. When the proper pressure is reached they stop blinking and the horn chirps. If the motorist accidentally overfills the tires the flashers blink even faster. The horn chirps again after enough air is then let out to reach proper inflation.
The Easy Fill system also accounts for tire rotation so a motorist doesn’t fill the wrong tire.
The new Altima will also offer a suite of camera-based technologies on high-end models, including Blind Spot monitoring, Land Departure Warning and Moving Object Detection. The latter system uses the tail-mounted micro-camera to watch for oncoming traffic – as well as pedestrians – when the vehicle is being backed out of a parking spot.
The 2013 Nissan Altima officially goes on sale in the U.S. on June 26th