No matter how little or how much you paid for your RV — travel trailers, fifthwheels, or motorhomes — and regardless of the size, the chance is they don’t come with a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS). Unlike passenger cars and light trucks being sold today, RVs aren’t required to have TPMS as one of safety features.
[UPDATE on June 18, 2018: We are considering purchasing repeater/signal booster for our TPMS. Occasionally, the system lost one or two tires of our toad in the middle of the trip. Also, we found that the button cell battery doesn’t last very long and we had to replace with a new battery every few months. So, it’s a good idea to have lots of spare batteries handy.
Read about the TPMS repeater that we bought here.]
Proper tire inflation is particularly critical for large and heavy vehicles to be safely operated. Everyone has seen pieces of tires from tread separation on the road. Ever wonder what happened to the trucks that lost those tires? I hope it never happens to us.
In addition to the safety concern, fuel economy and the life of tires will also decrease for vehicles with improperly inflated tires. The use of both TPMS and a pre-trip routine tire check, which includes visual tire inspection and tire-pressure checking, can help minimize problems that could occur from improperly inflated tires and help with early identification of problems from the loss of tire pressure during the trip.
There are many brands of TPMS on the market. We use EezTire T515 System, model number TM-515T22/SP. It’s a wireless tire pressure and temperature monitoring system. We put the tire sensors on both our motorhome and the towed vehicle, Stimpy and Ren. On Stimpy, we use flow-through sensors that allow us to air up the tires without removing the sensors first. On Ren, we use anti-theft sensors which come with a special wrench for installation and removal of the sensors. However, the sensors must be removed every time we want to air up or to check the tire pressure.
The manufacturer of our TPMS indicates that we shouldn’t need a repeater/signal booster for a monitoring distance of 53 feet or less, so we didn’t purchase one. The system works fine without a repeater for our 41-foot coach and the Chevy Colorado truck as a toad.
So far we have been satisfied with our TPMS. On our trip from Oregon to Bishop, California through the Eastern Sierra Nevada, we had been noticing that one of the inside rear tires of Stimpy had been very slowly losing pressure. We had to add some air every week or so. Having the TPMS to know the tire pressure and temperature while driving made us feel comfortable to get ourselves to the place where we could get someone to investigate. As it turned out, the value stem on the tire was not tightened.
Did you install a tire-pressure monitoring system on your RV? What has been your experience?