We finally did something that I have been thinking and talking about since before we ever hit the road. We bought a TPMS (Tire-pressure-monitoring systems).
It’s one of those things that is not necessarily that cheap that you take it lightly yet not really that expensive in the big scheme of things considering the safety issues and damage a blowout can cause with these big tires.
Flat tires and blowouts are among the most common breakdown problems RVers have, and a pressure-monitoring system can often make the difference between simply pulling over to add some air or fix a slow leak — or having a Oh-Shit moment.
Even though most of us relate flat tires and blowouts too things we run over on the road they often occur because tires are underinflated. If the tires run underinflated for some distance, they can become so hot they disintegrate. Even if a blowout doesn’t result in a loss of control and/or crash, it can cause extensive damage, ruining the wheel, and often the flapping tire does hundreds or even thousands of dollars damage in bodywork.
And it’s not just the tires on our motorhome that we worry about. If the Jeep had a flat tire while being pulled I would probably never know it until it was too late. The extra resistance wouldn’t even be noticeable to me driving the coach. Knowing all this, a tire pressure monitoring system starts to seem like must have and bargain.
TPMSs have sensors at each wheel that have tiny radio transmitters that send an encoded digital signal to a receiver in the cab. All systems monitor tire pressure, and some also monitor tire temperature. The majority of aftermarket sensors mount on the tire valve stem, while others mount inside of the wheel.
TPMSs became mandatory equipment on all 2008 cars and light trucks and are found on some earlier models, but RV’s don’t seem to be under the same rules because most of them DO NOT come with a TPMS.
Most systems will alert drivers to a rapid leak, an overheating temperature, or a high or low pressure reading. They continually check pressure and tire temperature, even while stationary, and the system we bought can monitor up to 22 tires.
After a lot of research I narrowed our choices down to 2 systems that seemed to do everything I wanted and had the best track record as far as reliability and customer service goes. Then I almost had to flip a coin to decide between those two LOL!!
We decided on the TST (Truck System Specialties) model 507. And I opted for the non-flow through sensors. It seems most people like the flow through sensors that allow you to add or take out air from the tires without removing the sensor. And I see the convenience however I find that I hardly ever have to do either and because the non-flow through sensor is just a little bit smaller I feel more comfortable having a little less weight being suspended at the end of our valve stems while going down the highway. But that’s just my opinion and I’m sure the flow through would also be a great way to go.
The install was pretty painless after reading through the instruction a couple times before starting and having them handy during. Mainly just pushing buttons and replacing the valve caps with the new sensors.
The sensors, if you ever needed to buy one individually, cost $50 so the designed them to be installed using a special wrench. Supposedly you can’t remove them without the wrench either to detour theft. But it really just makes it harder to remove but not impossible without the wrench.
With a little effort you can make it so you don’t need the wrench at all, and I considered that, but I left the anti-theft option intact for now anyway.
In the pictures it shows the tire’s being monitored on the motorhome only. I have not programmed the Jeep tires yet but will before our drive to Portland. After our drive north we will be able to report on how the system actually works.
Most RVers will agree that it important to check tire pressure before each day of travel. But I know I tend to skip it now and again even though it is such a simple thing to do. Don’t ask me why. Then I find myself thinking about it the entire time I’m driving. Now with the new system I can simply turn the system on and know what our tires are doing.