Tuesday, November 28, 2023


RV Tire Safety: What valve stem to use with a TPMS – Part 2

with RV tire expert Roger Marble

As a follow-up to last week’s post of why I recommend people NOT use rubber valve stems with their external TPMS sensors, I decided to show some of the “guts” of valve stems.

Standard “rubber snap-in” stems like the TR413. If you look down the hole you can see the end of the brass part of the stem. More on this later.

These have been used for decades on hundreds of millions of tires. These can be installed by hand using a “puller” that stretches the rubber which makes the diameter of the stem small enough to “snap” into place in the wheel hole.

Once installed, the wheel “pinches” the rubber part of the stem to seal the air in. The arrows show the location of the wheel relative to the metal part of the stem. Note the part of the valve stem that goes into the air chamber was cut off before I took this picture.

You can see that the brass stops before it gets past the edge of the wheel. This makes installation easier.

Next, we have the “High Pressure” stems such as the HP-500.

Here you can see the brass part extends almost to the bottom of the valve and into the air chamber.

When the rubber is buffed off you can see that the brass part extends through the wheel hole (location shown with the arrows.)

Now when we look at a “bolt-in” stem, like this TR416s, we see the location of the wheel hole at the arrows.

We can also see the much larger brass body (nickel-plated in this piece) that goes inside the air chamber and expands to a broad base.

This type of stem needs to be installed through the wheel hole with the rubber grommet sealing the air. An external washer is used and the nut is to be tightened to specification to prevent air loss.

I am also including pages from the U.S. Tire & Rim Association (TRA) yearbook which publishes the “interchange and fitment” specs so all tire companies and valve manufacturers know what dimensions are required.

This is the book where all the load and inflation tables come from and might be considered the Tire Engineer’s “Bible.” It is used by tire engineers around the world when they are making tires that are intended to be used in the U.S.

Here we find the details of valve stem designs as specified by TRA.

Finally, to show the attention to detail, here is the spec for the little pin that sticks out of the valve stem. Not meeting this specification could be the reason your TPMS does not register your tire pressure. (Yes, I have run into that problem.)

I just wanted to try and give you a little understanding of the attention to detail tire engineers go to when designing tires and when trying to understand the “why” for a tire to lose air.


Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net or on RVtravel.com.



Roger Marble
Roger Marblehttp://www.RVTireSafety.net
Retired Tire Design and Forensic Engineer w/50+ years of experience. Currently has Class-C RV. Previous Truck Camper, Winny Brave, Class-C & 23'TT. Also towed race car w/ 23' open trailer and in 26' Closed trailer. While racing he set lap records at 6 different tracks racing from Lime Rock CT to Riverside CA and Daytona to Mosport Canada. Gives RV and Genealogy Seminars for FMCA across the USA. Taught vehicle handling to local Police Depts



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Bob (@guest_86320)
3 years ago

Thank you for this article! I learned this lesson the hard way. After I installed TPMS sensors on our Jeep Liberty, the stems would fail right at two years. So, I had to replace the stems on a regular schedule to avoid a flat.

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