Another addition to your car you may or may not have heard about are specialized RFID tags that have been created to be embedded into the rubber sidewalls of your tires. RFID technology has been around for decades and tires have been around even longer than that, but the addition of RFID tags into tires is a pretty recent development.
In 2004, after the big Firestone/Ford Explorer problem the United States Congress passed an act named TREAD (that stands for Transportation, Recall, Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation) which mandated that all car makers closely track all tires they put on their vehicles so that they can easily be recalled if there is any problem.
In response to the act, car manufacturers have begun to include RFID tags in each tire they sell. The microchip stores each tire’s unique ID which can be associated with the vehicle’s identification number (VIN), information about when and where the tire was made, the tire’s maximum inflation pressure, size and more. These tags can easily be updated using a handheld RFID reader or from the vehicle’s internal display systems.
The good for consumers: Proper tire pressure increases fuel efficiency and lowers emissions, reduces the chances of a blow-out which can save lives, and it reduces tread wear which will make the tires last longer. In newer vehicles the RFID tags are being routed to the car’s internal display to tell the owner if the tires need to be serviced.
The good for manufacturers and dealerships: Tired equipped with RFID tags can be easily tracked and recalled, they can better control their quality processes, and service centers can track inventory more efficiently.
On another level, these tags can be used as security devices. For example, some government installations use specialized RFID readers to track vehicles that drive on and off of their property.
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