Which TPMS do you think is the best and why? I currently have a Tire Minder TPMS and it is very inconsistent. On my last trip all 4m tires on my road did not register at all. Other tires on my motorhome register at times and at other times show no reading. Thanks. —Ian
Your question stated, ” … all 4m tires on my road did not register at all.” I assume you mean “all 4 tires on my toad”—which would be the car being towed behind your RV. If that is the case, I would refer you to the section below on frequency/interference and combining automobile TPMS with aftermarket systems. Also, do you have tire minder sensors on your toad. If so, did you get a signal before your last trip, since you stated, “On my last trip….”?
I recommend TST Systems as I have personally tested these on cars, trailers and motorhomes for the past six years. While conducting seminars at the RVIA California show I was introduced to the TST Systems sales representative who helped answer questions in our Driving Seminar and then provided a few sets of sensors for testing with the RV Repair Club.
According to the RV Safety & Education Foundation (RVSEF), tire failure is generally due to a sudden loss of pressure, not always a blowout. A tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) can help warn the driver of an issue, hopefully before an unsafe driving condition.
Research conducted with TPMS
I put the first set on my granddaughter’s car that was old enough to not have factory original sensors as she NEVER checks tire pressure… or usually anything else.
The next set was installed on a 2003 Winnebago Brave, and after that a 2020 15,000-lb. “hauler” trailer pulled by a Renegade Ikon. The Ikon had a factory set of monitors but not the trailer. And finally, two sets were installed on 8,000-lb. trailers with tandem axles.
The car performed well with one instance of a low pressure tire. The warning allowed her to pull over and get the tire fixed. The car was traded in less than one year, so the test was marginal in my opinion.
Here is the Ikon with hauler at the campground in Death Valley shooting footage for Rubber Foot Buffalo.
The “hauler” trailer took a trip from Iowa to California in the summer and sent a warning one tire was losing air. It got down to 50 psi before the driver pulled into a fuel station and had it fixed. It was the same tire that was low when he bought the trailer and the dealer claimed to have fixed it. Turned out to be an intermittent leaky valve stem saved him about $400 for a new tire. He called and was very pleased. The system has been on that unit for about three years now.
But the test on the trailers is what turned me into a believer. I ran a company from 2011 – 2021 that manufactures a commercial pressure washer that is installed in fast food restaurants. We had three trucks and trailers that ran all over the country putting over 125,000 miles on each trailer every year. Those sensors now have more than 250,000 miles each and are still providing critical pressure and temperature information. And these trailers were driven through some very heavy construction areas as new restaurants were being built.
Other observations regarding a TPMS
When installing the system on the trailer, the sales representative recommended installing a signal repeater due to the length of the trailer plus the 40+ foot Ikon. He indicated the system would work without the signal repeater; however, when driving in city traffic and places with speed or traffic cameras, there could be heavy frequency issues that could cause interference. This may be what is happening with your system.
The frequency is proprietary to aftermarket TPMS and will not “sync” with an existing TPMS of a tow vehicle such as a truck. Instead of having to watch two monitors, we got an extra four sensors to put on the truck so all tires had one monitoring system.
And finally, the tire pressure monitoring system was not 100 percent accurate. Every morning my drivers checked the pressure of all tires according to DOT protocol using a digital pressure gauge that was certified calibrated. They recorded the psi and temperature using an infrared thermometer. The TPMS was typically within 1-2 psi, which is consistent with the specifications in the installation manual that states +/- 1.5 psi. That is why it is important to check tire pressure cold, before hitting the road, with a good digital pressure gauge.
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.
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