By Roger Marble
No, I don’t want to start a fight. Probably everyone that already has a TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) will say that what they have is the best.
I would prefer to identify the features that I think are important and then let the customer do the shopping because there is no way to predict what the sale price will be next week or what new brand or model TPMS will hit the market next month.
Here is my list of important features for a TPMS
Key features for me would be the following. These are sort of in order. But, as they say, your mileage may vary:
1. Ability to set the low pressure alarm level and not have to change other pressure levels.
2. Lifetime warranty of the TPMS.
3. Ability to set the high pressure level and not have to change other pressure levels.
4. Ability to set the high temperature level to 158F (70C), if it is not already set to that level.
5. Include a signal “repeater” or booster.
6. Ability to add 1 to 9 more sensors to the TPMS in the future, if needed (+1 more for a spare, +2 or 4 more if you move the system to one with more tires, +4 if you want to monitor your toad). This avoids the need to buy a new system in the future when you only need additional sensors.
Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net or on RVtravel.com.
From the editor: Click here for a useful video from TechnoRV about tire pressure monitoring systems.
Rodger, I have some confusion about TPMS. Our last motorhome had one and it saved us a flat or blowout a couple of times. It also was the source of leaks quite a few times. I do not have it on our new motorhome. My tire dealer says the sensors are a source of most of the leaks they run across and does not recommend their use. Based on my last coach I could not fault their statement. The dealer says one is better checking their pressure on a regular basis.Is there a sensor that does not cause a leaking issue? I am once again looking at TPMS for our present coach. Thank you,
I have been running TPMS since 2009. I have not had a leak due to tpms. I think the problems come from a couple of sources. 1. Using a TPMS on a rubber valve stem (including the Hi-Press rubber stems) can result in flex and cracks in the stem. 2. Over or under-tightening the TPM sensor on the end of the valve stem. A quick spritz of Windex or similar spray can expose the leak. I tighten my TPM sensors till the air leak stops then add 1/2 to 3/4 turn. You can over tighten the sensor which can lead to deformed threads which will leak. 3 Damaged threads on the end of the valve stem can result in a leak. The use of old stems that have had clip-on air chucks improperly used and pulled off can wear the threads.
Also, does anyone have experience with aftermarket vehicle diagnostic monitors they can recommend (or recommend against😲)?
Again I think a smart phone app linked to an OBD port passthrough would be ideal.
I just want to monitor, not reprogram. Things like drivetrain temperatures/pressures and so on. Also fuel economy and other live data (gps etc) that might be available.
Thanks in advance. Anyone have experience with Nonda/ZUS? They have tpms & veh diagnostics. In the past I have had issues with their apps & tech support so I reluctant to spend hundreds of dollars with the, just to find out more.
In all seriousness, can folks recommend a TPMS system they have been happy with? We are ready to finally purchase one for our RV and Toad.
BadWolf, As far as I know I am the only person to run and publish the results of a direct comparison of 2 different TPM systems. https://www.rvtiresafety.net/search/label/TPMS%20comparison All other comments would be of peoples experience at different times or with different vehicles. Look at the features, support and warranty and I think you will end up with the best for what you are looking for.
Roger, thank you for the response. I had researched all of your past posts and appreciate what you do for us. I take it that nothing has changed since 2018, so I will follow your advice from then. Thanks again.
One other aspect which is the most important “How easy is it to check and add air to the tires”. Most of the cheap ones screw on the valve stem and have a jam nut that secures it to the stem so the it won’t unscrew when driving. If you have a dual tire motorhome that inner tire stem is hard to access. Better off paying more for the units that install on the inside of the rim.
I covered the topic of hose extenders in my Blog https://www.rvtiresafety.net/2013/03/dual-tire-hose-extenders-tips-to-avoid.html
This can eliminate the problems with inner duals. Note the picture was taken without my TPM sensors attached. I have not had any leakage problems with either the hoses or TPM sensors in over 40,000 miles use.
Roger: most of the current Ford vans and chassis come with a built-in TPMS. Are they good enough?
Richard, when I checked on this for our 2014 Ford E450, I was told no, they didn’t have it on the Cut-out dually RV models. Maybe someone has better or updated information though.
We are in the same position of waiting to find the correct TPMS. Any advice is greatly appreciated.
Not sure what you mean by “correct”. Aftermarket TPMS are stand alone systems that will work on any vehicle. If a car or truck comes with TPMS as original equipment then you are good to go but most OE systems do not give all the information and do not allow the user to set the warning levels. Also OE systems do not allow additional sensors to be added as far as I know.
Ya, I struggled with what word to use there. Maybe I should have used “Best” TPMS? Ford told me that our 2014 E450 “cut-away” that they used to build our 23ft Class C, is not equipped with an OE system. So, we were looking forward to the conversation and suggestions.
I have Tire Minder. It does allow you to program each tire separately and also allows you to disconnect the towed vehicle so there is no alarm when you leave it behind. My problem with the system is I can’t rely on the monitors. They randomly fail give false alarms. If I pulled over every time one went offline I would not get anywhere. I do have an extender installed. I will find a new system that installs sensors inside the tire.
SInce you have an “extender” or “repeater” are you sure the problem isn’t the batteries in the sender? Depending on how much you drive or use the TPMS the batteries only last 9 to 15 months in most screw-on sensors.
This is Mike from TireMinder. I’m sorry to hear you’re having an issue with your TireMinder. We would like to fix that. I couldn’t find you in our system, so if you could contact us, we can get you up and running without receiving any of the false alerts you’re describing. We’re available Monday through Friday, 9AM to 5PM EST at (772) 463-6522.
I look forward to hearing from you!
Hi, Mike. Thank you for responding to the comment from Thomas about his TireMinder. In case he doesn’t notice it in the comments, I’ve just copied your message and emailed it to him. Have a good evening. 😀 —Diane at RVtravel.com
I’ve been shopping for some time and have yet to pull the trigger, but I start here: it has to use a phone screen as the monitor. I’ll be danged if I’ll add a proprietary screen to the dash clutter.
There are a few systems that offer Bluetooth connection to your phone.
Don’t let simplicity make the problem worse. Poor quality or design could cause a flat or failure.
I have tried several systems that screw on the valve stem. They either leak, or break, or make it difficult to impossible to put air in the tires.
Problem is much much worse with dualies.
I have not found a quality valve stem tpms that solves all these problems so I have decided to wait for the next tire change to go with inside the rim tpms monitors.
In any case, I need to monitor 10 wheels and I need to be able to select those 10 from a pool of 15 sensors (3 spares and front tires of toad). This is for when tires are rotated etc. I don’t see the need to monitor spares or wheels not in use.
I would add to your list of features, that I really only want alerting or reporting of changes or trends.
I would want to easily name (and change the name) each wheel so it could easily display which tire has changed status. IE:
ALERT: INSIDE LEFT REAR IS HOT 🔥!
All your other top features are very good also.
Interesting ideas. Not sure if any system allows you to select which sensors would display. All systems I know of simply display all the tires that are monitored. RE: changing the alert. I think it would end up getting pretty complicated. Some systems provide a warning when a tire loses a few psi within a couple minutes but still has not gone low enough to hit the “Low Pressure level”. This feature is usually called something like “Rapid Leak” or similar. Bottom Line, You may need a person to just watch the TPM monitor and be your verbal reminder as I think expecting the TPM system to be that complex would require a full blown computer just to keep track of all the possible variations of monitoring and changes.
Thanks Roger. I appreciate your answer and the pointers to your two tested systems and valve stem articles. I am going there next!
Yes it would take a computer to monitor everything. I think a smart phone app could do it.
I have a TST system with flow through sensors. I was getting frustrated with how difficult it was to air up a tire through them. I soon discovered that all air chucks are not alike. I had one that won’t work with the sensors at all and another that works great.
I agree an inside the tire sensor is the most elegant solution.
As part of my on-going, long term evaluation of two TPM systems I do see some advantages with the internal system. You do need to remember that will be an initial cost of about $100 or more to install the internal sensors. You would also need to think about the need to match up the time to buy new internal sensors and your need to get new tires to save the extra install costs.