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Ask Dave: Does trailer length matter when choosing a TPMS?

Dave Solberg is a leading expert in the RV industry and author of the “RV Handbook” as well as the Managing Editor of the RV Repair Club. Today he discusses a TPMS.

Dear Dave,
I am a widow, with no children to help advise. The TireMinder TPMS-TRL-4 says it is for 25 ft. or less, but I have a 26-ft. Jayco Eagle (1997). I would like to know if I could use this monitor system. If not, I have been unable to find one that says it’s for a longer trailer. Would one foot make a dangerous difference? Thank you. —Shirley

Dear Shirley,
Thanks for the question and opportunity to provide more information on tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS). I am a firm believer in a good TPMS for every truck, trailer, fifth wheel, motorhome, and towed vehicle. My recommendation would be the TPMS provided by TST (Truck System Technologies), as we have tested them on motorhomes and trailers for more than 4 years.

I was introduced to TST a few years ago at the RVIA CA show while doing seminars. One of the dealerships displaying had a parts store in the vendor tent. TST had a representative there that helped provide information during my driving seminar. At the end of the show, he gave me a kit to sample.

When I got home, I installed the sensors on a cargo trailer as I was also running a company that put in pressure washers in fast-food restaurants and we had three trucks with trailers that drove all over the country. I installed the kit on one of the trailers that puts over 125,000 miles on it per year. Four years later it still performs perfectly. It not only reads pressure but temperature as well. I know we have had several instances of a low-pressure alert and had the chance to pull over and inspect the situation, only to find a slow leak. It’s much easier and cheaper to change a low tire off on a safe part of the road or rest stop than attempting to change a tire that has blown out.

They are easy to install by simply removing the existing cap on the valve stem and screwing on the sensor. There are two types. The less expensive one is merely a cap, and you need to remove the sensor to add air to the tire. The other is a flow-thru model. Both have set screws that can be tightened to prevent theft.

In addition to the longer range, it also comes with a repeater or “booster” that will double the transmission distance. It also makes the signal stronger in areas where there may be interference from radar cameras and other frequency issues.

One of the best tests was putting this unit on the larger gooseneck to see how it performed being bounced around at construction sites and heavy city driving. After three years it is still performing as designed.

One thing we did find out is the frequency cannot be set to the same as your tow vehicle setting, such as a tow truck or towed car. The auto industry has a proprietary frequency that they will not share, so no aftermarket brand will match.

However, most owners purchase an extra set of sensors to add the truck or towed vehicle to the TST system, then all vehicles are on the same LED screen. Typically your tow vehicle will not have an LED screen, rather a scroll setting for each tire and not something behind.

To answer your question, I would go with a system that can boost past the 25 feet, even though it may work in most situations as the extra boost will be beneficial when you get into a high-frequency traffic situation. The TST Tire Pressure Monitoring System has been tested to the max, in my opinion.

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Wolfe
1 month ago

I’ve used a *$17* 4-tire TPMS on my former 36′ Jayco with perfect success. That was after two EXPLOSIVE and expensive tire failures. So, if expense is stopping you, don’t let it another day. I got religion.

That said, my new 36′ trailer was getting warnings of losing signal for a minute or two at a time, so I replaced it with a $60 6-channel WITH a repeater. Now its bulletproof even reading two spares WAY on the back of the trailer. The system doesn’t rely on the repeater (still gets readings with repeater turned off), but never fails to read when on. One amusing thing – the sensors are uniquely ID’d (never confused position or other’s) but the repeater seems to repeat EVERY sensor it hears – in busy campgrounds, the transmit light goes nuts, so I guess on the road I’d be helping everyone around me?

MikeMinder
1 month ago

Mike from TireMinder here. Our TireMinder Solar-Powered Trailer TPMS is designed to work with a 25FT trailer and a 22.5FT truck. The total length of your setup should not exceed 50FT. This model is specifically designed to be economical while providing the tire safety benefits we believe are essential for all RVers.

For those needing additional length, our traditional TireMinder RV systems are designed to provide a wireless range of up to 100FT with the included booster installed. These systems include our TireMinder i10 and A1AS systems.

Please feel free to reach out to me or our award winning support team for any questions on TireMinder products.

Retired Firefighter Tom
1 month ago

USed to use a TST eight years ago. Twice someone pulled alongside me to motion that I had a flat on the RV. One tire was even starting to smoke. My monitor on the dash showed the tire had 60 PSI in it – even though it was flat! This happened twice, Not sure I’d trust any after-market system.

Firefly
1 month ago

The TST comes with a booster that you can mount on the trailer (and connect to the trailer battery), if needed. I found that I needed it on a 28-foot trailer.

Betty Danet
1 month ago

We have the TireTraker with a booster which has been great. Our 5er is 39 ft with 3 axles so having the truck and trailer tires with monitored psi and temp has been great for our peace of mind.

Jim K
1 month ago

I believe the Jayco is a travel trailer and I am sure the 25′ distance is between the display and the tires, which I am sure is more than 25′. I purchased the Guta system a year ago, converted all my valve stems to metal and I had to use a few extensions on my Class C, but I am very, very happy. The system I bought has a listed 80′ range, but will actually read my toad at a little over 100′ away! It also came with a repeater which is still packed away in the box. The Guta 10 sensor system was slightly less than the TST, but after reading review after review I came to the conclusion the Guta was the better buy. Make sure you read ALL the reviews of what you are going to buy and that it will work well for you.

Eric Devolin
1 month ago

I have read Dave’s reply to a simple question and am a little mystified by the response as it was a simple answer that was exploded, not really answered. The statements by other readers gave a better answer to the poster’s question than the so called expert. There are many suppliers of tpt’s in our market place and the majority NEED a booster to get clear signals past 20 feet.

travelingjw
1 month ago

I purchased the TST 3 years ago and it saved us from extensive damage when we had a blowout. I also purchased their booster, both have worked well. We often read about “high costs,” on products which is a legitimate concern. But when it comes to safety, and a product that I need to trust, cost is not even close to the most important priority. Though we had to add an extra screen, I chose that over the competitor that used a cell phone; I just don’t trust that cell phones will work on a consistent basis through tunnels, inclement weather, etc.

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago
Reply to  travelingjw

The connection to the cell phone is via bluetooth from a receiver unit that sits in the cab and reads the sensor signals. It has nothing to do with cellular coverage.

Paul
1 month ago

TST was a disastrous 10 month experience for me (their customer service was great!). After some research I replaced it with a Tire Traker system (Tire Minder is very similar). With the booster, Tire Traker has worked great on my 40′ class a & toad for 11 years now. The current Tire Traker even has a lifetime warranty!

The Lazy Q
1 month ago

Does it really matter which type valve stem to use? Rubber or metal.

Wayne C
1 month ago
Reply to  The Lazy Q

I tried the TST system on rubber valve stems and the constant flexing caused one valve stem to fail after a few thousand miles. I replaced all the rubber stems with metal and have had no more valve stem problems. The flexing rubber stem also allowed the sensor to hit the wheel which marked the finish and I doubt the impact did the sensor any good.

The Lazy Q
1 month ago
Reply to  Wayne C

Thanks

Ken
1 month ago

I’ve been using a TireMinder TPMS on our 35’ fiver for the last six years and it’s been great. Ours came with a signal booster that was simple to install. Undoubtedly TST also makes a good product but when I checked they were considerably more expensive. Change the batteries annually and check the O rings and the TireMinder will work just fine.

Gary
1 month ago

Be sure to have metal stems installed. I’ve had two rubber stems break from the weight and wobble caused by the screw on monitors.

Ed K
1 month ago

I have had my TST system since 2010, it replaced my Pressure Pro which was problematic reading my Toad. I have had very few issues with it and if it ever fails, I will again replace it with a new TST system.

Scott R. Ellis
1 month ago

After a bunch of “paper” research, I decided that the TST system was not worth the substantial extra cost, especially given that it requires yet another screen on the dash. The Tireminder I bought instead has worked well on a long initial trip, monitored through my phone. And no, one additional foot will not make any noticeable difference in a world with so many other variables.

Stephen Malochleb
1 month ago

Dave I agree with you. TST. Bought the kit 3 1/2 years ago when I bought my class A. They told me that the batteries may need to be changed after 2 years. Well there still going strong and with the repeater I have never had a lost signal. Thanks for all the info you provide.