Vehicles will soon be able to detect loose lug nuts

The maker of Falken tires has developed technology to detect loose lug nuts, and the company plans to debut it on a production vehicle later this year.

Sumitomo Rubber Industries has announced the new feature Sensing Core, which the company says can detect lug nuts that are loose by as little as one millimeter, without the use of dedicated sensors. Instead, Sensing Core relies on data from a vehicle’s controlled area network (CAN), analyzing wheel speed and other factors.

This feature will debut as standard equipment on a car from an unnamed automaker this year, Sumitomo said, adding that the company is in discussions with additional automakers. The market where the loose-nut detection feature will debut was not discussed, so it’s unclear if it will be available in the U.S.

Accidents caused by loose lug nuts have become an increasing concern in Sumitomo’s home market of Japan, the company said, particularly ahead of the colder months when drivers switch over to winter tires. While commercial vehicles often have clips to provide visual confirmation that nuts are properly tightened, this isn’t a foolproof method, Sumitomo claims. And passenger cars generally don’t have them at all.

Sumitomo claims the Sensing Core tech is independent of the tire make, model, and size, allowing it to be used with a variety of vehicle and tire combinations. The same basic technology can also be used for other applications. Sumitomo has also used the same basic technology for an indirect tire pressure monitoring system the company claims is employed by 15 vehicle manufacturers in the European, Japanese, Chinese, and Indian markets.

Another possible application is tire-wear monitoring. This would involve sending vehicle data to a cloud to predict tire wear based on the amount of usage. At the 2024 CES, Sumitomo announced an investment in vehicle-analytics software company Viaduct, with the aim of integrating the latter’s software with Sensing Core for this purpose.