Smart Tires . . .

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What often happens when there’s no need for something? They create a “need” for it, of course!

“Smart” tires being the latest such thing. Driven – as it were – by another thing there’s no need for. Electric vehicles. For which a “need” was created – that of keeping the “climate” from “changing.” The assumption you’re required to accept being that such “change” is unnatural, menacing – and must be prevented. The solution is to drive energy (and raw materials) hogs rather than gas hogs.

Well, the “need” for EVs has created a “need” for tires to be “smart,” apparently.

That is to say, tires that don’t just roll but also report – on such things as road friction and its real-time effect on the tires. But why is there a “need” for this? Because EVs are very heavy and because their electric motors apply massive (and instantaneous) torque to the drive wheels and so, to the tires – which as a result are subject to much greater loads and stresses than tires have heretofore (pre-EV) been obliged to endure.

These loads and stresses increase the chances of a tire failing and assure the tire will wear faster, too. Voila! You have created a “need” for tires that are smart – to let you (or the vehicle) know how they are doing.

But why not just check the tires every so often? Well, there’s no longer any need to do that – or at least, people gave been so conditioned to believe – because all cars made since about 25 years ago have come standard with tire pressure monitoring systems, so as to eliminate the need to do that. People used to be taught to check their tires – for indications of damage, excess wear and pressure – themselves, as by having a look at them.

Until a “need” was created for them not to.

It came in the form of the Ford Explorer – ’90s version – which was (when it was new) one of the first-generation SUVs. Previously, there had been 4x4s and off-roaders. These were niche vehicles bought by people who needed a vehicle that could go where the roads didn’t. Such people understood that vehicles designed to be able to do that were also not designed to be driven like cars, on road – and at high speeds.

The SUV filled a “need” created by the government’s outregulating (as opposed to outlawing) the large cars Americans used to like to drive that were largely taken out of circulation in favor of much smaller, much less roomy vehicles that were more “efficient,” per the government’s ever-upticking fuel efficiency regulations.

The SUV was created to meet the “need” for what average Americans still wanted but which was increasingly hard to find – in a car. The SUV was – technically, insofar as the fuel efficiency regs were concerned – a “light truck” and as such did not have to comply with the same fuel efficiency standard as cars did. Thus, a way around them was found – and used.

Voila! The SUV.

The problem was that it was a mass-marketed vehicle bought chiefly by people who did not need nor understand the capabilities – and limitations of – 4x4s and off-roaders. Many of whom drove their SUVs as if they were cars, without any respect for their lesser capabilities (and lower limits) on-road, especially at high speeds.

Particularly if the tires were old and worn – or under-inflated.

Which they were unaware of, not having taken the time to look – and check – them. When the tire failed, it was worse – because SUVs have a higher center of gravity. Weight shifts more abruptly – often suddenly – when a tire fails at high speed. Several spectacular rollover wrecks later, a “need” was found for tire pressure monitoring systems – and not just for SUVs. All new vehicles have come standard with them – per federal regulations – for the past 25-plus years now.

And so people no longer feel the need to keep track of their tires anymore.

Now another “need” has been created, to address the “need” created by EVs for a more sophisticated way to keep track of tires without the person who owns the vehicle needing to bother about keeping track of them.

But some of us might be bothered about being kept track of. One more mechanism for mining our “data,” as details about our private affairs is blandly styled. Will this “data” be “shared” – another anodyne term to make it sound as if we were all sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows and singing songs – with parties we’d rather not “share” it with?

What do you suppose?

Better read your EULA.

And even if not, there will of course be the cost. “Smart” tires will not be less expensive than plain old tires. Hopefully, we’ll have the option to say no, thanks. Of course, that rarely happens when a “need” is created – and it’s necessary to make sure we agree with it.

. . .

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  1. Ooh, “smart” tires! Will they automatically repair/retread themselves after hitting a nail or start balding? Do they align, balance, and rotate themselves? Do they adjust the air pressure according to the ambient temperature?

    No? Then I don’t want them!

  2. American schools are shit…Americans eat shit…Americans watch shit on their TVs…
    Americans are basically mentally retarded shitheads.

    There is no longer any need to try to “save” civil America…It is permanently gone. I hope the trains run on time and don’t derail in the 15 minute cities. Cars and smart tires are for Our Owners.

  3. It seems awfully wasteful to bury these electronics into the tires. TPMS sensors that mount to the rim are now ubiquitous and cheap and last multiple sets of tires, so I suppose there must be some new way to bleed money from customers.

    • My old, ’07 WRX does not have any “smart” anything, thank God. My new, ’22 does, and what saaaaafeety stuff I can turn off, I do. However, one thing I cannot seem to turn off is the tire nanny. This stupid thing likes to turn on after work (at times), and the car has been sitting outside for a lengthy period of time at -20 below temperatures (or colder), and I get the (hee hee), “square tire” thing going on. So, of course the tire pressures are going to be off. Which adjusts after being in the warm garage for awhile. I sure as hell do not need it to tell me if the tire is low. If I see them looking a bit odd, I measure them, then fill ‘er up with the air compressor. After reading the above article, I have to wonder if the movie “Idiocracy” was a preview of the future?

      • You cannot tell by visual examination whether a radial tire is dangerously under inflated. Until it’s nearly flat. Unless your visual acuity is accurate to under .005 inches. This especially applies to trucks. My son fell victim to that when we went to pick up something in my 97 Tacoma. “the front tires look low”. That’s because the rear tires have no load on them. Once we put the 700 pound product in the bed, no such thing was evident. He insisted on checking them. We stopped at a convenience store with a tire inflation station. They were all up to spec.

      • Hi Shadow,

        I have a late 1990s truck, and it doesn’t have any “smart” anything either, let alone any “Nanny State” stuff. Considering that most if not all vehicles made since around the mid 2000s have “Nanny state” stuff, and many vehicles made within (probably) the last 10 years or so have “smart” stuff, I’d avoid buying any vehicle made since around 2008 if I can help it, especially if they have alarms that go off if you have anything on the passenger seat and it’s not “buckled up for saaaaaaaaaaaaafety”.

        • This morning it is -20 below and yep the tire nanny turned on, ugh. What I really find annoying on my ’22 car (that I don’t have on my ’07 WRX) is the incessant seat belt alarm. I was driving just around the corner to my neighbors house one day. Without the seat belt on. The alarm started quietly, but grew increasingly louder and faster. What a pain in the a** that was. I wish there was a right to be left the hell alone, but the crooks in government would tax us to death for the privilege.

  4. Smart schmart tires are tires that don’t go flat, ever.

    If the tread is worn to replacement stage, you buy all four tires. New tires are an insurance policy.

    I was driving down a state highway on my way to a destination for a meeting. Drove past a few trucks and farm machinery, picked up a 3/8″ bolt probably 2 inches in length. Driver’s side rear tire punctured, the TPMS light goes on, a hole too large to fix, new tire required.

    15 miles from anywhere, the tire goes flat, ripped apart. You’re stopped, not going anywhere until you have the spare on the hub.

    Then you make a trip to the tire store for a new tire, just gets maddening at times. You buy the road hazard warranty, makes sense.

    You’ll lose some tire pressure in colder weather, have to check tires from time to time. Just hammer your fist on the sidewall, you can tell if you need some more nitrogen and oxygen inside the tire.

    A tractor tire is 797 dollars.

  5. The Explorer tire problem was not the tires. It was a bad rear suspension design that put too much side loads on the rear tires and when under-inflated they heated up and with the extra side wall pressures created by the suspension, wammo.
    Firestone was it? got most of the blame, and ford quietly re-engineered the rear suspension.
    When I found the engineering document describing the real problem, I was shocked what the ‘story’ was. Then the article (white paper) was gone and I knew we were in a growing bad place of censorship.

  6. ‘tires that don’t just roll but also report – on such things as road friction and its real-time effect on the tires’ — eric

    The link in this sentence seems to be misdirected. Here is an alternate source, Rubber News, featuring the same graphic:

    Smart tire sensors sound like awfully complex technology for a very limited potential benefit.

    They’re like a covid vaccination for your wheels! … AH HA HA HA

  7. I hate TPMS with a burning passion. My Escalade will light up with a 2PSI difference. In the winter, this is a major annoyance since, well, cold air and all that. I can just look at the damn tire and tell if there’s a problem and if it’s bad enough, I can feel it. Hard for me to believe that some knucklehead would drive a car with 10PSI in a tire but then again, any more they will put 100 in just so it lasts longer. LOL.

    • I share your hatred of TPMS, had one go bad on my car so just had my local mechanic replace it with a regular rubber stem. Of course now I have the alarm showing up all the time on the dash, luckily the audible alarm stops after 30 seconds or so and I was able to cover the dashboard light with some carefully trimmed black tape.

  8. I’m sick and tired of every new piece of tech being called “smart”. It isn’t. Like all things computer, its only as “smart” as whoever programmed it, or wrote the software. Which often is not very. Or has ulterior and not so nice motives. So now we have “smart” tires to account for the extraordinary load put upon them by “smart” EVs? What’s next, on board air compressors to keep the tires properly inflated? Until they fail to do so? And you wonder why your vehicle is pulling so hard to the right, just before the tire blows out, and pulls REALLY hard to the right? Because your too stupid to operate a tire gauge? When does Ouroboros get its jaws on its tail and end this circle of madness? Machines are only as smart as the people who built them, which once again is often not very.

    • John K,

      These “smart” tires sound almost as ominous as most, if not all, of the other “smart” devices out there…..SMART METERS, SMART THERMOSTATS, SMART TVs, SMART DISHWASHERS, etc. Such devices have been advertised as “convenient” or “able to be controlled via your SMART PHONE or ONLINE”. However, I’ve read many a story about some government or company that used such devices to CONTROL usage or even SPY on those who use such devices. There was a study about 10 years ago or so showing that smart meters could be used to determine what kinds of TV shows people were watching if they lived in a home that had a smart meter.

      Last year, there was even some power company in Colorado that hacked into customers’ SMART THERMOSTATS to lock the temperature setting at a certain number of degrees. When customers tried to change the temperature back to where THEY had it, they got a message on their smart thermostat saying (paraphrasing) “Energy Emergency” and thus COULDN’T change it back. Here’s story about that…..

      These “smart tires” that are being proposed will no doubt also be used to CONTROL the EVs that these globalist technocrats and their puppets in government are trying to FORCE on the masses.

    • Welllllll, not to get too controversial or anything, John, but these days, we have a US Supreme Court Justice that cannot definite what a woman is. Any wonder, then, that the populace has grown so stupid, we need lessons in things that used to be common sense?

      • Hi Shadow,

        The “justice” knows, of course, what a “woman” is. The “justice” – like all Leftists – lied when she needed to in order to get what she wanted; i.e., the gig as a “justice.” Now that she is a “justice,” she can let her true feelings be known. Until one understands that Leftists are the most despicable creatures wandering this earth, who have no core values other than power, one is powerless to deal with them.

        • This new Supreme Court Justice clicked all the right, politically correct boxes. Which is all one needs to get a job these days. Especially high position ones.
          That, and having enough dirt on the person always helps. As for her having any feelings, well, that is debatable. Most of them are in bed with the devil, forgetting that he does not play fair, or by the rules, and has been playing far longer, too.

      • Shadow,
        When you put it like that, perhaps the new tech IS smart, compared to some of the so called people in charge.

  9. So, my ’14 VW synthesizes the tire pressure by wheel rpm’s: Tire low = smaller radius = more rpm’s on the wheel. No internal sensors. Pretty slick. Doesn’t tell me which of the four though. At first, I thought it was just another high tech annoyance, but the tire light goes off when it’s about 10% off. (40psi tires, and light goes off about 35psi). So, quite uncharacteristically, I am quite satisfied with how that works. Dunno why anything would need to be place inside the tires, when the rpm thing, like on my VW works very well concerning tire pressure.

    • Tom,
      The point being, you are too stupid to operate a tire pressure gauge. You have to have your hand held if you happen to drive. My experience is that TPMS is wildly inaccurate. Even by your reference, a five psi drop in tire pressure is DANGEROUS. It induces undue operating temperatures, and significant change in handling characteristics. Having driven Miatas for most of the last twenty plus years, I could tell by the way it drove if it was two or three pounds light. Much less an SUV which doesn’t drive that well in the first place. Had one car that didn’t trip until it was ten psi light. Unacceptable, and once again, dangerous. A device intended to make driving “safer” is only as good as its accuracy, and serviceability. In my experience, TPMS is neither. Neither accurate, nor usefully serviceable.

      • Tire pressure gauges nowadays suck. When was the last time they were good? Probably before they got mass produced in Chyyyna.

        • They don’t suck as bad as TPMS does. I had one vehicle that was five psi off. Did not trip until I was ten psi light. That’s when I quit depending upon them and checked my tires myself. Easy to check the accuracy of any gauge. Check it against other gauges. If you have three or four, some of them will duplicate, or nearly so, and those are the ones that work. I use a certain brand of digital tire pressure gauges that appear to be very accurate. Don’t know the brand, since I don’t have one in my hand at the moment.

            • Didn’t say that. Said the ones I have are. And yes, I did test them as I said above. I got the first one because it measured in half pound increments, for lawn mower tires. Checked it against other known good gauges, and it was right on. So I got another, and it checked out too. Now have one in both vehicles, and one in the shop.

      • Wow! Savage… Not knowing which of the four, then yes, tire gauge all around. Wide, low profile tires, such as all that are on cars these days, are hard to visually see being off by 10% or so on psi. Old school P235/75 R15’s like on my old truck, yes can see those. P225/55 R16’s like on my VW, not so much.

      • John K,

        I’ve never understood this belief from some that modern electronics or “smart devices” are somehow INFALLIBLE. I’ve had electronic devices that only lasted a few years before they quit and I had to throw it away. I’ve even had some that froze in the middle of use and I had to unplug the thing or turn off the surge protector if they’re plugged into a surge protector.


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