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RV Gadget: TST tire pressure monitor. Yep, worth it

Today’s RV gadget review is of the TST tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) that came with my new Rockwood Mini Lite 2205s. How is this relevant to you? Stick with me, fellow camper. 

I have been well aware of tire pressure monitoring systems for years, of course. These have been coming with several RV brands for a while, and I have friends in my own Rockwood Facebook Group that have these installed on their rigs. 

But I also thought that there was no reason to really want this gadget only because I’m pretty good about checking the air pressure in my tires before I head out. Further, my previous trailer had MayPop tires and I replaced those with Goodyear Endurance. This new trailer already came with Endurance tires. 

So why do I need this kind of gadget? I was surprised by the number of reasons. 

There are a number of things that can be displayed on the TST tire pressure monitor display including direction and speed

Not just tire pressure

The most obvious thing the TST tire pressure monitor does is relay the tire pressure to a small screen that came with the device. This screen is intended to be in the cab of your tow vehicle, of course. 

But in using this, since it came with the rig, I found that it also relays temperature of the tires. 

Hot stuff

All tires heat up as you roll down the road. The maximum tire inflation pressure is there because tire manufacturers calculate what the tires can hold weight-wise with the understanding that tire inflation pressure increases with heat. 

That heat comes from the friction of your tires going down the road, essentially. 

With the tire pressure monitor relaying how hot a tire is, it’s a point of interest. But, more than that, if you see one tire that is notably different in heat or inflation pressure, then you know something’s not right. 

This could be a wheel bearing or a bad tire or any other cause. And knowing that there’s an issue before that issue becomes a roadside hazard is a good thing. A very good thing. 

More display options on the TST tire pressure monitor system

Safety check

As we’re driving down the road I occasionally check the tires and make sure that they’re all about the same pressure and temperature. This is easily done by simply looking at the screen. That screen indicates each tire in green when things are within a range you have specified. 

You also get an audible sound if a tire gets out of range—so you don’t have to keep an eagle eye on the display.

The lazy way

I had mentioned also that I was in the habit of checking all the trailer tires before I headed out, but I didn’t mention the truck’s tires. The reason I didn’t get my tire pressure gauge and check the truck’s tires is that there’s a display on the instrument cluster that shows me the tire inflation pressures. 

I check this before we head out. 

Now I can also simply check the tire pressure monitor display for the trailer as well without busting out my tire pressure gauge. This is pretty nifty. 

I’ve often written that if you want to know the laziest way to accomplish anything, ask someone who looks like me. I’ve mastered the art of getting things done with the least amount of effort, but that way I can write more stories for all of you. It’s all about efficiency. 

Setup

Setting this up isn’t that complicated, but it is a bit nerdy. You take the screen and bring it close to the tire you want it to read. Through a series of menus it “finds” the tire pressure monitor and you assign it a position on the display. 

The reason it’s done this way is so you can accommodate all sorts of rigs. You could use this on an 18 wheeler, a passenger car, or even several vehicles. 

Once the system is set up, you just flip the switch on. After a few moments, it has found all the tire pressure monitors in your rig and starts showing what they’re reading. Turning this thing on has become standard operating procedure now before any trip. 



Options

There are several types of tire pressure readers that TST makes. Mine happened to come with the trailer so they were inside the tires mounted to the wheel, much like inside the tires of my truck. 

But you can also get readers that simply screw onto the ends of the Schrader valve, which is the valve stem of the tires on your vehicle. 

These might really be helpful if you have a motorized rig that has duals where the inner tire is difficult to read. Having a system like this installed simply takes a glance at a screen to keep tabs on things. 

Speaking of tires

A few questions I see asked in various places about tires include whether or not it’s a good idea to fill them with nitrogen. 

It doesn’t hurt and, according to Continental, nitrogen-filled tires are advantageous because nitrogen gas doesn’t support moisture or combustion. Compared with ambient air – which contains roughly 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, plus miscellaneous gases – pure nitrogen is an inert, non-flammable gas. Essentially, it’s dry air with the oxygen wholly removed.

If you have nitrogen-filled tires, you can certainly add just plain air. But if you want to fill with nitrogen, you can do so at many warehouse clubs when you’re a member. Some tire dealers, too, will top off the nitrogen in your tires. 

It’s always best to measure your tires in the morning before the sun has a chance to really affect the inflation pressure. 

Further, check with the manufacturer of your vehicle for the proper inflation pressure. This is true of all vehicles, including towables, as well as anything with an engine or motor. Typically they calculate what load the suspension and vehicle are designed to carry and then what inflation pressure results in the best balance between ride comfort, fuel efficiency and safe handling. 

Just because the tire has a maximum inflation pressure on the sidewall doesn’t mean that that’s the best choice for the tires on your vehicle. 

In summary

Now that I have the tire pressure monitoring system I see the value in it. I was being cheap, which is another of my traits. But I don’t think I’d have an RV without a tire pressure monitor again, quite frankly. 

I like that you can monitor the tires as you’re shuttling down the road. You can also keep an eye on things that could become problems before they take you off the road. 

Most of all, this is a much lazier way to do a much better job at keeping an eye on your tires. As I’ve often said, anything that puts a feather in your cap from a safety standpoint is absolutely worth considering. 

##RVT1057

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dwallinger
16 days ago

I purchased a Tymate Tire Pressure Monitoring System – M7-3 TPMS Tire Pressure Monitor System with Solar Charger from Amazon two years ago for about $40 (currently $62) that shows pressure and temp (plus hi/lo alarms). It comes with 4 sensors (you can purchase additional sensors for abot $30 a piece but I have tire pressure equalization systems on both rear duallies so I use one sensor for both tires). It’s warned me twice for punctured tires (both beyond repair) in 46k miles. I’ve always wondered why pay $200-$300 for a TPMS when this one seems adequate.

Rolland
17 days ago

I became a loyal customer of TST a number of years ago when well after my warranty was expired they sent me two replacement external sensors at no cost and paid for their shipping

MevetS
17 days ago

The TST is not the only TPMS that measures Tire Temp. For example, the Tire Minder does this as well. You didn’t mention that exposure to ambient conditions can significantly effect the tire temp and therefore the tire pressure. For example, ambient temp and effect of Solar Radiation that can vary with your direction of travel. Other factors such as proximity of the exhaust system and different tire pressures for front vs. rear tires (4), based on actual measured weight will intentionally change the measured tire pressure. In my experience it is rare to have all 4 tires reading the same temp.

Ideal Gas Law Calculator PV = nRT (calculatorsoup.com)

HappyCamper7424
17 days ago

I have a TST monitor and it works well. However I initially bought the flow through sensors and after adding metal valve stems the sensors stuck out beyond the tire. I was concerned that if I scraped a curb the sensor would break off. So I decided to change back to standard sensors.

Vanessa
17 days ago

Love my TST unit. Bought it 4 years ago. Put brand new tires on the RV and headed across country through LA, TX, NM…on a hot Sunday afternoon in nowhere NM my alarm went off. Pulled over and called roadside service. Two hours later the truck pulled up and guy asked where the flat was. I pointed to the tire and he asked how I knew to stop since it wasn’t destroyed. I pointed to the TST unit. He removed the tire, found a screw in it, removed and repaired. Put the tire back on and I continued down the road. Finally replaced that tire two years and about 15,000 miles later.

Mike Waller
17 days ago

Pretty happy with our TST unit. Have used it across different MH’s we have had and it works well. Pricier than others, but well worth it and they also have excellent customer service. Only other point I would make is that the screw on sensors seem to be better than the “flow thru” type as a lot of comments have been made with problems of putting air in when mounted on the stems.

frank
17 days ago

A point of interest for the stem mounted TPMS is that the temperature measurement is the area around the sensor, not in the tire. It is still useful for identifying dragging brakes, failing bearing or anything that heats the area near the sensor. RVTireSafety.net did a few test drives to compare both types of TPMS and found that the temperature reading was closer to ambient temperature than that inside the tire.

Barry
17 days ago

I see the biggest benefit from my TST system as it’s ability to notify me of a tire issue while rolling down the road. Never once have I experienced a low pressure issue while parked. I have had 2 issues with screws and even a knife blade that caused a leak while on the road. My TST alerted me to the issue before my expensive MH tires were damaged.

Bob S
17 days ago

My TST TPMS is the first thing I bought for my RV. I consider it the most important safety equipment we have. I’ve had it for 10 years. The display and one sensor has been replaced in that time. Other than that, the only maintenance required is to clean the sensors and replace the batteries once per year. In that time, it has saved me from ruining tires on my toad twice.

Last edited 17 days ago by Bob S
Alex
18 days ago

Never EVER “simply screw onto the ends of the Schrader valve” unless you have metal valve stems! Rubber valve stems will flex at speed from centrifugal force of the sensors weight. The stem will crack at the base, pressure will drop and the crack may not be easily seen. Not all vendors of these devices advertise the need for metal valve stems for reliable and safe operation.

Last edited 16 days ago by RV Staff
frank
17 days ago
Reply to  Alex

And beware of some metal stems that are held onto the tire with a rubber grommet versus washers and threaded nuts – these will fail faster than all rubber stems. I made it about 1400 miles but had 2 failures; replaced with all metal stems.

Ron
18 days ago

Never leave home without tire monitoring system.

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