A tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is one of the best investments you can make for tire life and safety
One of the greatest fears every RVer has is a breakdown on the road. Quite apart from it dampening the enthusiasm of your trip and ruining your schedule, a breakdown can be downright scary if it happens in the wrong place, at night, or during bad weather.
Though there are a multitude of things that can go wrong on any vehicle at any time, one of the most common failures on an RV is a tire. Motorhome owners have a lot of them to contend with, between the coach itself and the towed vehicle, and it only takes something as small as a wayward nail to cause a flat, or worse yet, a blowout.
For decades, RVers simply had to remain vigilant about inflation pressure – checking it before travel and during fuel stops. While this is still a good habit to be in, it won’t help if you start to lose pressure in one or more tires as you travel down the road. That’s why a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is such a worthwhile addition. By constantly keeping tabs on all the tires as you travel, a TPMS can let an RV owner know the instant a tire starts to lose pressure and address the problem before it gets catastrophic. At the very least, a good TPMS can save owners a lot of money, especially if the tire can be fixed rather than replaced. At more than $400 a piece for some motorhome tires, you can easily see how a TPMS system can pay for itself in just one instance.
The benefits of a TPMS in an RV environment have not been lost on the aftermarket, which now offers dozens of systems that can save your tires – and your sanity. To help you find the right one for your needs and budget, we’ve compiled this handy guide. Keep in mind that we don’t have the room to list every solution (or accessory) from every manufacturer, so be sure to visit each company’s website to get the full scope of their offerings. Here’s to long tire life and safe travels!
One of the pioneers of TPMS, PressurePro was established in 1991 and today offers two high-tech solutions for RV owners: Pulse and the brand-new Pulse FX. Pulse, while used in a variety of markets including commercial, emergency and specialty fields, can also be used in RV applications and can monitor up to 80 tires with a single unit. Pulse provides users with an optional OLED color screen that packs a host of advanced features in an easy-to-use, attractive package. Fully adjustable vehicle layouts allow three viewing modes, five customizable alerts and a quick-glance alarm notification. In addition, Pulse offers automated data logging software with microSD storage. MSRP: $580 (four-tire system; additional sensors $50 each).
Pulse FX was designed specifically with the motorhome and towable markets in mind, and is PressurePro’s first Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) system, offering owners the freedom to use an existing smart device (phone or tablet) to display real-time readings and alerts directly through the free PressurePro app. FX allows users to monitor up to 40 tires, and offers vehicle naming and storage for easy monitoring of multiple trailers (handy if you tow a car or a boat behind the motorhome, for example). Five unique alerts, push notifications, a warning light and other features keep the driver apprised of tire condition. MSRP: $325 (four-tire system; additional sensors $50 each).
Both systems offer a choice of standard and large-bore external sensors that are sealed, submersible and easy to install, according to the company. Capable of reading pressures from 8-215 psi, PressurePro sensors can also provide readings in units of BAR or kPa, and temperature in either Celsius or Fahrenheit.
Advantage PressurePro LLC | 800-959-3505 | www.pressurepro.us
BLU Technology Products
The BLU Bluetooth TPMS will monitor the pressure and temperature of a motorhome’s tires with either user-installed external sensors or professionally installed internal units that relay information to an iOS or Android device via a free app (no dedicated display required). Information is in near real time, and includes push notifications when tire pressure and/or temperature deviate from their predetermined settings. The systems are available for both four- and six-tire applications up to 150 psi and can monitor up to 32 tires at a time. Sensor batteries are good for 2-3 years (depending on usage and environment, according to the company), and are only active above 12 mph to prevent discharging while parked or stored. Both a Bluetooth range extender and USB Audio Alert Module are available accessories. MSRP: $147.56 (four sensor); $214.55 (six sensor).
BLU Premium Technology Products, a division of Advanced Accessory Concepts;
951-339-1460 | http://techbyblu.com
Dill Air Controls
Dill opened its doors in 1909, producing valve caps and stems for the Ford Model T and other vehicles. So, it’s a fair assumption that this company, while not a household name, knows a bit about tires and accessories. Dill Air Controls Products was formed in 2005, and today offers its TPMS systems in four-, six-, eight- or 10-tire applications for use on motorhomes, dinghy vehicles and trailers. The user can easily set up individual baseline pressures (for example, 90 psi front axle, 110 psi rear axle, 40 psi towed vehicle), according to the company, with a maximum pressure of 144 psi. The backlit LED display shows one tire at a time every 5 seconds in rotation, and offers tire pressure, temperature and location information simultaneously. In addition, warnings include low pressure (20 percent), fast leak, high pressure (30 percent) and high temperature (176 degrees Fahrenheit). A 12-volt DC adapter and an inline, fused hard-wire kit are included, as are a long and short antenna. A hardwired sensor signal booster for the towed vehicle/trailer is offered as a low-cost option. The sensors are manufactured on OE sensor assembly lines with OE components, according to the company, and are mounted to the internal-side of the wheel’s valve stem (four valve stem options for 0.390-, 0.453-, and 0.625-inch valve holes) making installation a nonissue at any competent tire shop. MSRP: $399 (four-tire system); $499 (six-tire system).
Dill Air Controls | 919-692-2300 | http://dillaircontrols.com
Doran’s 360RV TPMS incorporates a small-footprint monitor with a large, backlit digital LCD screen that comes prewired with a 12-volt DC adapter for easy installation and offers multiple mounting options. A Green Means Good indicator light provides at-a-glance confirmation that all tires are at their proper pressures. A patent-pending FastLeak Alert is triggered when the system detects a 4.5-psi pressure drop in less than 16 seconds, letting the driver know there is a significant leak. Standard low-pressure warnings are activated at 12.5 percent and 25 percent below the programmed baseline tire pressure. Alternately, an optional High Pressure setting can also be set to provide a warning when any tire goes 25 percent above baseline pressure. The system also monitors tire temperature, triggering a high-temperature alarm if one of the wheel positions reaches 175 degrees Fahrenheit. Externally mounted sensors incorporate potting material to protect internal components and each sensor is laser-etched with a serial number to make programming a snap. MSRP: $299 (four tire)-$799 (14 tire).
Doran Manufacturing | 866-816-7233 | www.doranmfg.com
EEZ RV Products
Established in 2005, EEZ RV Products is a relative newcomer to the RV aftermarket, but its comprehensive EEZTIRE T515 TPMS offers some interesting features. First, the company claims it has one of the largest monitors available at 3.5 inches, and it can be powered by an internal lithium-ion battery (60-hour life), a hardwire kit or a 12-volt DC charger (included). Multiple mounting solutions are offered, and a built-in motion sensor will put the display in energy-saver mode if no movement/vibration is detected for 15 minutes. The system can monitor up to 22 tires (one every 6 seconds) with alerts that include low pressure, high pressure, high temperature and catastrophic failure. Both flow-through and antitheft external sensors are offered, and use readily available, replaceable batteries. For longer coaches where signal detection could be problematic, EEZ also offers a signal booster. MSRP: $249 (four-tire antitheft); $839 (18-tire antitheft or flow-through).
EEZ RV Products | 928-317-8888 | www.eezrvproducts.com
One of the most respected names in RV TPMS, and MotorHome readers’ #1 pick for 2017, Minder Research recently introduced its Smart TPMS system, which leverages iPhone, iPad or Android smart devices in lieu of a dedicated monitor. The system includes lightweight external transmitters using the 433 Mhz frequency, which transmits tire info to a phone (one position every 6 seconds) via Bluetooth. The Tire Minder app allows you to choose between monitoring pressure and temperature simultaneously or separately, and the guided set-up provides step-by-step instructions. It can even automatically configure baseline pressures. A new alert system for six different parameters includes tire-specific voice alerts, allowing drivers to keep their eyes on the road – and, if the phone or device isn’t on, the included Bluetooth adapter provides back-up notification. Up to eight different vehicles can be monitored by switching them on/off in the app (two at a time). If you prefer a dedicated monitor, TireMinder offers its TM-77 TPMS, featuring a 3.25-inch display. In addition, every TireMinder customer who registers their system with TireMinder is eligible for the company’s battery replacement plan, which includes free annual replacement of the CR1632 transmitters and O-rings. MSRP: $369 (Smart TPMS with four sensors); $379 (TM-77 system with four sensors).
Minder Research | 772-463-6522 | www.minderresearch.com
RV Innovations (RVi)
From the makers of one of the most popular dinghy braking systems on the market comes Tire Patrol, which is a unique TPMS that incorporates the company’s Command Center Tablet and Hub with a 7-inch color touch screen that uses a magnetic mount. Described as the “epicenter” of the system, the Command Center utilizes RVi’s proprietary, encrypted Wi-Fi connection to allow the user to not only view TPMS info, but other “Works with Command Center” products in RVi’s line. Sealed external sensors transmit real-time info on tire pressure/temperature, and the sensors are labeled for each tire to expedite the pairing/reconnecting process. A battery-save mode helps the batteries last up to 3 years, and the company also offers an inexpensive battery replacement program. MSRP: $665 (six-tire motorhome with four-tire towed vehicle).
RV Innovations | 800-815-2159 | https://rvibrake.com
The new TireTraker TT500 TPMS now features a larger, easier-to-read LCD display with an updated interface that is easier to program and simpler to use – and the company claims that it is the first and only system to offer a limited lifetime warranty on its TPMS. The system will monitor pressures up to 232 psi and includes temperature monitoring as well, and the external sensors will transmit an alert to the monitor if pressure drops or increases from the user’s set point or if temperatures reach critical levels. The system includes the programmable monitor, 12-volt DC micro USB power cord, tire pressure sensors with replaceable batteries, sensor locks, pedestal mounting bracket, anti-seize compound and instruction/operation manual. A signal booster is an available option. MSRP: $289 (four-tire system)-$499 (10-tire system).
TireTraker | 866-200-9773 | www.tiretraker.com
Truck System Technologies
Truck System Technologies’ 507 Series TPMS features a 3.5-inch color display that offers real-time tire pressure (up to 218 psi) and temperature information for up to 110 tires. High- and low-pressure alarm levels are user adjustable, and the display can monitor up to four different towed vehicles/trailers with audible and visual alerts. TST offers some nice benefits as well, such as a standard repeater (booster) and a choice of cap or flow-through external sensors with replaceable batteries. According to the company, the flow-through sensors are the most popular for use on motorhomes and should be used with metal valve stems; cap sensors are more common on towed vehicles. Both sensor types are interchangeable and compatible with the single monitor. The TST 507 Series TPMS comes with the display, sensors, two installation wrenches, rubber display mount, USB and 12-volt DC charge cords, repeater and a 3-year warranty. MSRP: $349 (four-tire cap/flow-through sensor system)-$429 (six-tire cap/flow-through system).
Truck System Technologies | 770-889-9102 | https://tsttruck.com
Valor’s robust TPMS systems use sensors that are all internally mounted, requiring the tires on the motorhome and towed vehicle (if applicable) to be removed to install the sensors on the inside of each wheel. The benefit of an internally mounted sensor, according to the company, is that it can more accurately report changes in tire pressure and temperature (within 4 psi and .3 degrees Fahrenheit), because it is inside the tire and is not affected by ambient air temperature. Each sensor is also protected from moisture, salt, chemicals, and other conditions and has a claimed battery life of 5-7 years. The sensors monitor every 4 seconds and transmit to the display every 30 seconds, sending alerts for 20 percent below baseline, 30 percent above baseline, 4.6 psi drop in 16 seconds, and temperature above 175 Fahrenheit. The system can monitor pressures from 20 to 175 psi and any size tire up to 24.5 inches. Included are the monitor, mounting solution, sensors and two antennas – one for each axle (four-six tire motorhome). It’s worth mentioning that Valor’s parent company, SpartanLync Technologies, provides the Valor system as original equipment to Spartan Chassis and Freightliner Custom Chassis, and is standard equipment on the Newmar King Aire/Essex and the 2019 Entegra Cornerstone and Anthem. MSRP: $625 (six-tire system).
Valor systems for the consumer aftermarket are available exclusively through New Hudson Distribution LLC,
734-634-3278 | www.valortpms.com
For more information on RV tires, see Time to Re-Tire?