smart pixl

 

For everyone who contacted me asking why I haven’t posted to the blog for the last month or so thank you for your concern. We just returned from a 7,200 mile coast to coast RV trip. My youngest son said I always work when we travel in the RV so I promised him I wouldn’t work on this trip. We had a wonderful time and saw lots of this beautiful country along the way. I can’t wait to start planning the next trip.

Prior to leaving on the trip I was really concerned about tires. I think most people have heard stories about an RV that had a tire blowout at one time or another. If the person experiencing the blowout is lucky it will result in little damage and no one will be hurt.

There is more educational material available now on RV tire care and maintenance than ever before. We are instructed to check and inflate our tires to the correct pressure for the load, not to overload the RV, to inspect our tires for signs of damage and/or excessive wear and to replace tires that show evidence of damage.

I am a huge advocate for consumer education on tire care and maintenance. This is all great advice and should always be adhered to, but it is impossible to know what kind of damage may have already occurred to the inside of the tire that you are unaware of and have no way of knowing when the tire might fail.

This was a major concern of mine as we prepared for a 7,000 mile RV trip. Our motorhome was approaching five years old and prior to the trip had over 25,000 miles on it. During those 25,000 plus miles the tires were subjected to pot holes and other rough road conditions that can result in internal damage to the tires.

I did not want to worry everyday about what might happen to the tires as we traveled around the country. Another tire related concern I had were the tires on the vehicle we were towing. They were fairly new, but you just never know what might happen, especially on a long trip like this. Several years ago I had a tire blowout on this same vehicle, when we were towing it, and hardly noticed there was a problem until the entire inner fender was destroyed before I could safely pull over and stop.

There may be no way of knowing if a tire has internal damage, but there is a way to monitor the tires while you are traveling. For years I have heard and read about Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS), but for whatever reason never considered getting one. Now, faced with an extended RV trip, during the hot summer weather, I decided it was time to get serious about monitoring my tires as I drove down the highway.

The big question that confronted me at this point was which TPMS do I get?

I started researching the topic on the Internet and found several reputable companies offering TPMS that would work on the number and size of tires I wanted to monitor. To help narrow my choices down I had some additional criteria I wanted the TPMS to meet.

1)      Ease of installation and use.

2)      Monitor both the motorhome and the towed vehicle tires.

3)      A good alert/alarm warning system if a problem should exist.

4)      Monitor the tires for loss of air pressure.

5)      Monitor the tires for possible overheating.

6)      A good cost effective TPMS.

After some additional research I discovered The Tire Minder TPMS by Minder Research, Inc. The Tire Minder offers several models, depending on the application. I chose the TMG 400C model that can monitor up to 22 wheels and has a pressure range of 0-145 psi. The Tire Minder TPMS is user programmable so you can set it up to match your particular needs and it was easy to install and easy to use. I liked the fact that there is a visual, as well as audible warning system if you experience a loss in pressure and there is a temperature alarm if the tire temperature rises above 167f.

Another added benefit that helped sway my decision was that you can replace the lithium batteries in all of the transmitters when the battery dies, rather than replacing the entire transmitter which can get very expensive.

I don’t think I was ever as relaxed traveling in the RV as I was on this trip. Driving 7,000 miles in the RV is much more enjoyable when you know what the tire pressure is at any given time, and the fact that you will be warned if any problem exists.

For more information on the TPMS visit The Tire Minder website

Happy Camping,

Mark Polk

RV Education 101

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Leave a Reply

18 comments

  1. Avatar

    Bill Paroli

    Mark,

    Thanks for the feedback on the TPMS. I was anxiously awaiting your report.

    Regards,

    Bill

  2. Avatar

    David Crymes

    There is a price for the system but they also sell a device to magnify the signal from the sensors. How do one know if you need it?

  3. Avatar

    George Humphrey

    Just want to mintion that a tire may blow even if your pressure and temperature are reading normal. I was due to change my tires this fall, just before our normal travels to the southwest for the winter. We seldom travel in the summer. But we decided to take a short trip of about 800 miles round trip. When we were about 200 miles from home on the return trip one of our tires blew out. There was no indication of improper pressure or temperature on my TPMS prior to the blow. Don’t press your luck. You should replace tires after 5 years from date of manufacture regardless of the number of miles on them or how good they look. Mine failed internally, probable as the result of dammage from thoes potholes we all hit. Fortunatly for me there was no additional damage.
    George

  4. Avatar

    Barry Engleman

    I lost a tire on our toad last fall in a canyon. I didn’t feel a thing and didn’t know anything was wrong until the Break Buddy alarm finally went off in the RV. By the time I got pulled over, the wheel was worn down to the hub and the whole front left side of the Jeep was on fire. The fire extinguisher helped a little. Luckily, I had a long hose and water on board and got it out before the fire department from about 15 miles away showed up. I never figured out if it was a blowout or a flat that eventually came off the wheel. The tire just disappeared. If I would have had a TPMS then, I would have at least known as soon as the tire disappeared.

    I have one now with ten sensors and I think it is the single best “peace of mind” device I have ever purchased. I like the fact I can check the pressure in all the tires before leaving for the next destination at a quick glance. And, it is interesting to watch what happens to the pressure in tires as they warm up while on the road in cold weather, mild weather and hot weather.

    Thanks
    Barry

  5. Avatar

    jerry Thompson

    where do you get air if you need it

  6. Avatar

    2009 Admiral

    I use a small Craftsman compressor, 7 gallons, 125psi, that fits in my basement compartment and runs on my generator.

  7. Avatar

    Many tires on the larger RV’s run close to the same size tire that the large trucks run. The air pressuer in those range from 90 to 110 psi. When those things let go, damage will occur. There are times with constant checking, thumping and close inspection a tire will giveout due to the wear and tare. I have many blowouts in the years I’ve been driving, and have seen the pieces on the road of whats left on a blowout.
    Stopping for fuel, food or just to stretch your legs, look at the tires if you notice something that dosen’t look right, you can check closer, and get it fixed or replaced.
    This is for all tires, fishing boat trailers up to 5th wheels, cars and p/u’s, never know when you’ll find a nail in the tread.

  8. Avatar

    Art John

    The TPMS is worth the money. I have had a TPMS for the past two years, both for the motor home and the toad. My system is HAWKSHEAD which I purchased off Ebay. When I first purchased the TPMS, I did not obtain the amplifier. Periodically I would receive false signals saying either no signal or low pressure. After purchase of the amplifier, for the most part, those indications ceased. I still receive a false signal once in a while and I chalk that up to interference of some kind (wireless signals are not 100% reliable). The peace of mind while traveling is of great comfort ,as I have lost three tires on the road, two on the motor home and one on the toad, before I purchased the TPMS. As with Barry, the tire loss on the toad was not noticed by me but passing cars that alerted me to the problem. I now worry less about my tires and keep my mind on my driving and the traffic.

  9. Avatar

    Grampa Jim

    I bought a TPMS after my wife and I experienced a tire separation on our TT a couple years ago in Ft Worth. The tire didn’t deflate,,,,,just separated and causing $5153 in damage to the trailer. The tires were just over 4 years old from the factory, so we were dumbfounded trying to figure out why. I suspected unbalanced tires….so,,,among other things, we had the new tires balanced,,,,,we keep them on waterproofed plywood, use the TPMS, use our tire covers to protect them from the sun, keep them balanced and inflated properly.

  10. Avatar

    Geoffrey Pruett

    Now a question for the people who sell “previously owned” and new RV’s, why are TPMS systems not sold with the vehicle? Is it the same fear of noticing that the product could be dangerous, as the long lag in selling seat belts, or is the very tiny added dollar amout a deal breaker? Most of us decide on how or what to do on a trip at the last minute and a stop to purchase or have installed another item plus learning the use is just not in the cards.
    Have lost tires on the road more than one time, the most heart stopping one was a total blow out on the curb side rear single on a mountain road. Had driven enough well used trucks to know not to go near the brakes until we stopped so kicked the transmission into neutral and got a death grip on the wheel. Because we were going slightly uphill at the time it was a rough but uneventful stop leaving me to figure out how to get a jack underneath and change tires. When we got home the “Thundering Turtle” got a new set of tires!

  11. Avatar

    Gail

    I don’t know what TPMS stands for or is it easy to install by a non mechanic, but I want to congratulate you on NOT writing on your trip. Your son must be proud of his dad and your family had a great trip just enjoying each others company. Thats what RVing is all about!

  12. Avatar

    Jeff

    In your experience, how does the “Tire Minder” compare to the one offered by CoreTronics? The reason I ask is I see another of your articles regarding CoreTronics. TripTek computer and then reading on their website that their TPMS can be linked to their TripTek unit. Having everything in one display seems beneficial.

    In any case I think a TPMS is a worthwhile piece of equipment.

  13. Avatar

    Jeff,

    You must have me mixed up with someone else. I did not write an article about Trip Tek and I am not very familiar with the product so can’t really comment.

  14. Avatar

    Jeff

    I saw the article on on-board fuel computers and mistakenly associated it with you. I see it was written by “lug_nut”.

    I apologize for any mix-up.

  15. Avatar

    Diesel Pusher

    What other tire pressure monitoring systems did you review?

    What criterion was used as a benchmark?

    I’d love to see a side by side comparison of the better systems available so that I could make an “informed” decision. This single item review seems like nothing more than a paid endorsement like so many others found in RV magazines & newsletters.

  16. Avatar

    Diesel Pusher,

    In the article I mentioned that I found several reputable companies offering TPMS that would work on the number and size of tires I wanted to monitor. I also listed the criteria that was important to me, which may very well be different than what you are looking for in a TPMS.

    The article was not about the brand of TPMS, a review/comparison of other brands, or a paid endorsement. It was simply about the benefits of using a TPMS for piece of mind.

    Like many other products I have used on our RV and liked, I pass the information on to other RVers. Do some research, compare some products and as you put it make an “informed” decision on what works best for you.

  17. Avatar

    Diesel Pusher

    Thank you for your comments, I now have a better understanding of the purpose of your article.

  18. Avatar

    Tiogachevy

    Did you look at the NVision TPMS? Any pluses or minuses??