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.
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
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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