AUBURN HILLS, Mich.-DaimlerChrysler A.G. will offer tire pressure monitors as optional equipment on three 2002 models-the Jeep Grand Cherokee, the Dodge Grand Caravan and the Chrysler Town & Country minivan-becoming the first auto maker to offer the pressure-based devices on these class vehicles, the company claims.
``We have been studying tire monitoring systems for quite some time, and we feel that we have the right systems for our vehicles today, well in advance of TREAD,'' said Bernard Robertson, senior vice president of engineering technologies and regulatory affairs, in a prepared statement. ``We will move forward to install tire pressure monitoring systems on all of our vehicles.''
TREAD is the Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability, and Documentation Act, legislation passed last year that mandates pressure warning systems by 2004.
``A recent survey found that two out of three cars, light trucks and SUVs have at least one significantly underinflated tire,'' Mr. Robertson said. ``There are a lot of people driving in potentially dangerous situations. By offering this technology ahead of schedule on a wide variety of our vehicles, we are helping to remind our customers of the importance of proper tire pressure for their safety.''
Unlike tire pressure monitors that are activated by anti-lock braking systems and measure the rate of a tire's rotation, pressure-based monitors determine the actual pressure of the tire, DaimlerChrysler said. Schrader-Bridgeport will supply the sending units, while Johnson Controls Inc. will supply the receiving units, according to the auto maker.
The sensor is attached to the rim of the wheel, flush against the tire. A radio frequency signal emitted from the sensor relays the tire's pressure to a central receiver. Once a tire becomes significantly underinflated, a visual and audio alert is given to the driver.
DaimlerChrysler also will equip its Chrysler 300M and Concorde Limited sedans with the pressure monitors. At this time, DaimlerChrysler has no plans to offer run-flat tires on these vehicles, a spokesman said.