Nissan has rolled out a new feature that makes it easier to keep your tires properly inflated. Just grab an air hose and start adding air as you normally would, and the Easy Fill Tire Alert system will toot the horn once you've reached the proper pressure.
Working in conjunction with the tire-pressure monitoring system, a feature required on all new cars since 2008, the Nissan Easy Fill system includes a dashboard display that alerts the driver when one or more tires is low, along with the current pressure reading.
While the tire is inflating, four-way flashers are activated to announce that air is going in and everything is working properly. If the driver goofs by overinflating the tire, the flashers blink faster and the horn beeps three times. Bleed a little air out, and one more toot indicates the proper pressure has been reached.
Standard on all 2013 Nissan models, Easy Fill Tire Alert actually made a quiet first appearance a couple of years back. Our 2011 Quest minivan is equipped with the system, and we've found it to be easy to use and accurate. On some models, such as the new Altima, the flashers may not be readily apparent when crouched, inflating the tire.
Consumer Reports has long advocated monthly tire pressure checks both for safety and as a money saver. Underinflated tires can adversely effect handling, increase wear, and lead to tire failure and risk a crash. In addition, our tests have shown underinflated tires can cost you one mpg or more in normal driving.
A recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) study found that cars with tires underinflated by 25 percent or more were three times more likely to be involved in a tire-related crash than those with properly inflated tires. (See our tire-pressure gauge buying advice and Ratings.)
We're pleased to see any new device or system that can make it easier for drivers to increase safety on the roadways, and applaud Nissan for making this feature standard across their vehicle line. We hope drivers have the good sense to use it, and that other manufacturers jump on the bandwagon soon.