Why RVing is Safer with a Tire Pressure Monitoring System
There is just one good reason for having an RV tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). The safety of you and your family. Keeping on top of tire pressure will also save you from damage to your RV if you have a blowout.
Tire blowouts can be expensive and, of course, a major inconvenience, but they can also be dangerous to you and others on the road. Weather, heat or cold, and other factors can change tire pressure quickly, and a TPMS can tell you when those changes occur.
By warning you of a problem before it happens, TPMS can not only save your life, it can save you a considerable amount of money. The NHTSA estimates that TPMS saves 660 lives per year, as well as prevents 33,000 injuries and saves $511 million worth of gas.
The primary reason for tire failure is under-inflated tires. This can lead to thermal and mechanical overload, which can cause breakdowns, ply separation, sidewall damage, or tire disintegration. Under-inflated tires can also waste fuel, so maintaining tire pressure can improve gas mileage. Of course, a TPMS will decrease downtime hours and money spent on repairing or replacing tires.
How does a TPMS work?
A TPMS system uses sensors that are installed on each tire. Those sensors relay information to a device on or near your dash, or to an app on your smartphone.
The sensor can also monitor the temperature of the air inside of your tire, and will send alerts for low pressure, high pressure, and fast leakage. Some models allow the user to set their own air pressure levels, others are pre-programmed. Systems are usually accurate to within 1 psi.
An RV tire pressure monitoring system comes in two different types:
Direct RV TPMS
This type of monitoring system gathers data directly from the tire valves to keep track of pressure levels and other data, which is transmitted to the control module. A warning is sent to the module or smartphone if the computer senses something isn’t right. It sends those signals wirelessly and allows for quick alerts. There is a sensor for each tire so the driver knows where the problem is.
This is probably the best and most accurate option, but requires some installation. For some, this system might be worth the extra time and money.
Indirect RV TPMS
Instead of a special sensor on each tire, these systems use tire rotational speeds, measured by a sensor, to estimate tire pressure.
Factors to consider when shopping for a TPMS
You want a good, readable display that will alert you if there is a problem. A display with night mode is also a plus.
Check reviews to learn about the durability of systems that are available. You may be taking your RV on rougher than normal roads, so durability is a necessity.
Ease of install
This is important if you plan to install the system on your own. Check reviews and manufacturer directions before you purchase.
The batteries for your TPMS should be very durable, able to endure many different weather conditions, and should have a long life. Of course, once you have your system installed, checking your batteries should become a regular part of your maintenance routine.
A failed battery will compromise the effectiveness of a sensor, and the most common early sign of a low battery is an unreliable signal coming from a particular sensor. Most systems will alert you when it’s time to replace the battery in a sensor. Many TPMS systems require replacement of the whole sensor when the battery fails.
The life of the battery, of course, depends on the manufacturer. Some use expensive lithium-ion batteries which will last 5-10 years. Most use batteries that are replaceable or rechargeable.
You can add range to your system by installing a range extender. This is only possible with a wireless system, but will help get more reliable information from the tires of a long RV or fifth wheel.
The sensors on these systems are designed to provide accurate readings whether your tires are filled with air or nitrogen. Sensors are also designed to withstand the effects of nitrogen and will not corrode or be negatively impacted by nitrogen.
The price range of a TPMS can run anywhere from $100 and up. Be sure and do your homework because there are many different types that provide different information.
What are the best RV tire pressure monitoring systems?
EEZTire-TPMS6 Tire Pressure Monitoring System
This TPMS accurately monitors tire pressure and temperature for up to 26 tires, and handles tire pressure up to 210 psi. With a 4.5 X 3 display screen, this product has real-time monitoring, visual and audio alarms, and a rechargeable lithium battery that boasts 60 hours on a charge.
It comes with a USB charging cord that can be connected to a vehicle’s USB port or cigarette lighter. The monitor has separate controls for RV and trailer sensors, which allows the owner to turn off trailer control when driving the RV only (motorcoach). A booster can be added for distance.
Bellacorp Tire Pressure Monitoring System
This direct TPMS for RVs features anti-corrosion sensor caps, tool-free installation, and backlighting. It has real-time tire pressure and temperature monitoring for up to 34 tires.
High and low pressure alarms from 15 psi to 175 psi and temperature to 186 degrees are also advantages to this system. This is a commercial-grade system useful for small trailers all the way up to 18 wheelers. The system comes with a free repeater which is recommended.
$196 on Amazon (with four sensors)
TireMinder A1A Tire Pressure Monitoring System For RV
The TireMinder monitors up to 22 tires (0-232 psi) and displays psi and temperature for each tire. It also has visual and audible high/low pressure alarms and blowout alarms.
$458 from Amazon (with 4 monitors)
“I appreciate Tire Minder and their company’s customer support and backing of their product.
In less than a year of installation of their product it has saved my truck and trailer on two separate occasions from what assuredly would have been catastrophic damage.
The first time within weeks of installing the Tire Minder unit, coming back from a camping weekend, the unit alerted me to a tire on the trailer that was losing pressure. I was able to pull over on the freeway just as the tire let go of all remaining pressure. Had I not been warned, that tire would have created hundreds of dollars in damage.
The second time was on a recent trip from Virginia to Texas. We had arrived at a campground just outside of Dallas and the next day was in town for a day of sightseeing. While stopped for a bit of lunch I received a warning the right rear tire on the truck was only slightly low on air. When I was able to find an air machine, I discovered the valve stem was cracked and leaking. Had I not been warned of this the possibility of a blowout while pulling the trailer…. I hate to think of the possibilities.
I have pulled trailers for all my adult life and have counted myself lucky to have not had any great mishaps. But since installing the Tire Minder, less than a year ago, has saved me twice.
Thank you for a great product…. Rest assured, they are saving lives out in the towing world.” Garry Newman, via Amazon product reviews
Tymate 6 Tire Pressure Monitoring System
The Tymate has automatic solar charging of solar lithium battery panels, which can extend the use time. Cigarette lighter or USB can also be used when there is no sunlight. It has five types of alarms, including high pressure, low pressure, high temperature, rapid air leakage, and low battery alarm, promptly reporting abnormal tire conditions.
The auto-adjustable backlight can clearly display the data in low light or strong light environments. Real-time monitoring and display is a driving advantage. It enters sleep mode after the vehicle stops running for 10 minutes and will automatically wake up when the car is turned on.
The Tymate has six advanced external sensors with a long working life. It boasts a small, lightweight size, high accuracy of sensing tire pressure, and easy installation. It can also withstand harsh environments. The repeater could extend the sensing range beyond 45 feet.
B-Qtech Wireless Solar Power RV TPMS With 6 Sensors
With two ways to charge, the B-Qtech will work continuously with a rechargeable lithium battery as well as solar and USB charging. It has real-time monitoring of temperature and pressure with a high degree of accuracy for 4-6 tires. The LCD display mode ensures high resolution ratio.
This TPMS has a free scale chip design for better and more stable and accurate signal transmission. It is lightweight for easy installation. A waterproof sensor stands up to harsh environments. An optional repeater is suitable for strengthening the signal when distance exceeds 6 meters.
The system supports fuel saving, sensors air leakage, and reduces worn tires with balanced tire pressure, which will ensure safe driving.
RVers looking for valuable how-to information have learned to go to the experts. Forums such as iRV2.com and blog sites like RV LIFE, Do It Yourself RV, and Camper Report provide all the information you need to enjoy your RV. You’ll also find brand-specific information on additional forums like Air Forums, Forest River Forums, and Jayco Owners Forum.
Terri and her husband, Todd, are full time RVers and work campers. They have been living full time in their RV for nearly three years with their Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Newton, and their Mini Aussie puppy Remi. They are currently wintering in Arizona with plans to continue their travels next summer. Writing is Terri’s passion but she also loves hiking, kayaking and anything she can do outside.
Rob Watson says
I replaced the inconsistent TireMinder product with EEZTire and could not be happier!
Robert Adams says
Please explain what inconsistences you had with TireMinder?
Mike Hamm says
Interesting article. Too bad Terri didn’t review the TST TPMS system. Glad there is a link to Changing Lane’s video of the TST. We have TST and couldn’t be happier with it. It did save us once already when we picked up a screw in a trailer tire. Got the low pressure alarm for that tire. Ours is the non-flow through model and I find the sensors easy to remove and install with the special tool.
Isn’t it smarter to first replace your poor quality tires with best quality tires available, rather than have the TPMS confirm that you have had a blow out. TPMS maybe a good idea but only AFTER all tires have been replaced. I had a blow out. Apparently the tire had hit a pot hole and ruptured the inner linings so that air was inside the belts. The TPMS gave me no warning of that at all.
Jim G says
TST has the number 1 TPMS system. I am astonished you did not include them in your report! They have a large share of the tire monitoring systems and are known for their accuracy and dependability. They should have been part of your post!
Dalton Bourne says
I went on Rte 301 in Virginia about two miles from the Nice Bridge. My tire lost 20lbs of pressure and kept failing. Thankfully, the Tymate tire pressure monitoring system alerted me to a loss of pressure in the rear right tire on my dual-axle fifth-wheel camper. I like the ability of this device to monitor three tire parameters in real-time, including tire pressure (current, low, and high), temperature, and air leaks quickly. The last person I love. There’s also a low battery indicator for the sensor, allowing RV owners to determine when the part needs replacing.
Cyrus Juliet says
You can keep track of the air pressure in your RV’s tires by using a tire gauge. You’ll be able to tell if you need to let some air out of your tires or take your RV to the local gas station to have your tires inflated. You should at least strive to find the greatest one you can afford because this small item is far more significant than you believe.
Brennen Thomas says
Is the Vondior 100PSI-HO high-performance tire pressure gauge worth using? I’m a beginner and I find it quite easy to use as I can operate it from almost any angle. All you had to do was slowly press the button while holding the pressure release valve to deflate the over-inflated tires. This particular process does not require much time and effort. There is still an error of +/- 1%. But one flaw I noticed in the product design is the incompatibility with the inner wheel.
Brennen Thomas says
Thanks for the article, I hope to see more good articles like this in the future.
Samantha Nichols says
I demanded a TPMS for my auto to import from Canada to the US. The Kai dealer and utmost stores told me it could not be added after the request. You were wrong! As a result, my auto was imported without any problems. I paid for a shop to install it to produce a paper train, but indeed I could have done it myself! I’ll also be buying another one to import my son’s auto!
Samantha Nichols says
Thanks for the article, I hope to see more good articles like this in the future.