RFID Talk Blog

Michelin rolls out RFID-enabled tires for commercial fleets; U.S. may pass tire mandate

Should there ever be another tire recall incident similar to 2001 when 13 million Firestone tires on Ford Explorers were recalled, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the U.S. government act swiftly to pass legislation mandating the use of RFID to track and trace tires.

In fact, some industry insiders expect that the government may issue a mandate requiring RFID tags on the tires of all passenger vehicles regardless. After all, why wait for another massive recall? When the Ford/Firestone incident occurred, Congress seriously considered track and trace programs for tires. However, the attention of lawmakers was diverted from the topic following the 9/11 attacks and the war in Iraq.

“We were very close to [legislation] after the Ford incident but then Congress went to war,” Dr. Pat King, Michelin’s leader for electronic strategies, said at this week’s AIM Expo in Chicago. “If it weren’t for the Iraq [conflict] we’d probably have tags in tires on passenger cars today.”

King estimates that at today’s costs, RFID tags in production for tires would cost about 30 to 40 cents apiece, meaning that consumers would pay about $1 extra for each RFID-enabled tire. RFID tags in tires would allow consumers to track mileage and maintenance records, and also provide beneficial safety information on tread wear, tire pressure and warranties.

Currently, Michelin is moving quickly into RFID-enabled truck tires, especially in China and other foreign countries. RFID can help to manage the re-tread process, for example, and assure that fleet owners get the re-treads from their own fleet, not from other tires that that may not have been maintained.

“We don’t know that passenger tires will ever have RFID in them” short of a government mandate, says King. “B2B is where it’s at.”

Would you be willing to pay an extra buck a tire to gain the above benefits? Leave a comment and let us know.

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