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Continental to roll out monitors embedded in tires to track pressure and wear

Tire maker says system adds high-tech capabilities

Published: May 20, 2014 04:30 PM

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Your next set of tires may be able to tell you when they’re ready for retirement, by sending an audible and visual warning to the dashboard or your phone once one or more of them has reached the minimum tread depth required for safety.

Developed by Continental tire, another benefit of the Electronic Tire Information System, or eTIS, is the potential for reducing complexity compared to current versions of the Tire Pressure Monitoring System required in all new cars since 2008.

In place of the valve stem based tire pressure sensor used in other TPMS systems, eTIS uses a sensor embedded inside the tire, under the tread, that monitors tire wear by detecting subtle changes in rolling characteristics over the course of time. Also in the works is a means to detect tire overloading.

By eliminating the need for a separate TPMS sensor mounted to the wheel, the Continental system eliminates the danger of damage to the sensor that can happen when removing or installing a new tire on the wheel. It also means that drivers who prefer to switch to winter tires for the snowy months will be less likely to have to pay for a new set of the easily damaged sensors each time they change their tires. They will, however, need to buy winter tires with the embedded sensors.

Continental says that by pairing the imbedded sensors with a vehicle telematics system, drivers could even opt to transmit information about the condition of their tires to the retailer of their choice when it’s time to schedule an appointment for new tires.

The tire maker says the new tires will be available starting with 2017 models, but it has not announced pricing or which automakers will offer eTIS.

—Jim Travers     

Need a new set of tires? Read Consumer Reports' tire buying guide and test-based tire ratings.

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