RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System – A Must Have For RV Life!

When we first started Rving 4 years we had no clue about TPMS systems for RVs. We did not put a TPMS system on our first RV. At the time, we didn’t even know such a thing existed. We were BRAND new to the RV Experience and learned a lot in the school of “hard knocks.”

Fast forward 4 years and we’ve been using a TPMS system for over two years now. And we will NEVER travel without it again. And why is this? Well, my parents who are also full time RVer’s could have DIED had it not been for a TPMS. (More on that later so keep reading).

Our first trip out with our current rig we still did not own or use a TPMS. We made a rookie mistake this trip out. A TPMS would have prevented this. And I am going to tell you why so keep reading.

RV Damage
Ouch!

Rookie Mistake Ends In Tire Damage

Pulling into a Wal Mart for groceries or to take a break from driving is a fairly common occurrence for a lot of RVers. And this is what happened that particular day. Our tow vehicle is a 2007 Jeep Wrangler. The key in the ignition must be turned to the accessory position in order to unlock the steering. When pulling over for a break for longer than a few minutes, we typically will pull the key out of the Jeep ignition and lock the doors. More so for security and anti-theft reasons. I’ll bet you are guessing where this headed…..

When pulling out of the Wal-Mart, we had forgotten to TURN the key to right position to unlock the steering. The causes the steering wheel being locked and unable to turn freely as corners are turned. Because our RV has such a large and powerful diesel engine, there was no feel of “drag”. However, the strange thing was the RV was now pulling to the left. We dismissed this as it was also slightly windy. We decided that maybe the wind was causing the pull. That is until we drove through an area with two large hills on either side. We closely paid attention to see if the “pull” continued as we drove through this stretch of road. And the pull did NOT change. It was then we knew there was something going on.

We got out and looked around the RV and did not seeing anything unusual. So, we checked the Jeep and we are now smelling a burning rubber smell! The two front tires were hot to the touch! Small bits of tiny rocks were also stuck to the hot rubber tread of the tires. We realized right then and there – the steering had been locked in place.

Why An RV TPMS Would Have Prevented A Problem

TPMS or Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems will monitor a couple of things. Tire pressure and tire temperature monitoring is happening at the same time. In our situation we would have KNOWN there was a problem right away. A TPMS would have alarmed for over temp tire (if we had one installed at the time).

tire pressure monitoring system

After this, we decided we needed to use a TPMS when traveling. We purchases a system and have used it ever since. We have not had any more “close calls” with our RV or our tow vehicle. There is also the peace of mind that comes with knowing if we have a problem, we will be alerted. If a tire is leaking air, getting too hot or increasing in pressure, an alarm will sound so we know to pull over and check on things before it’s too late.

My Parents Could Have Died – The RV TPMS Saved Them

My parents are retired and RV full time. On their way to Florida this year, they experienced a situation that could have resulted in not only worse damage to the trailer but even death.

What happened was unbeknownst to them, they lost an entire wheel/tire off their 5th wheel trailer. Yes, you read that right. For some reason ALL of the stud broke off the axle and the ENTIRE tire and wheel assembly came off. They did not KNOW this happened. They heard nothing, saw nothing and did not know they were now only riding on 1 wheel on the right side of the RV.

TPMS Saved The RV Lost Wheel

The TPMS alarmed that the remaining tire was over 100 PSI. They pulled over to check the tire and it was then they realized what happened. The reason the tire pressure was so high was because ALL of the weight of the RV was riding on that remaining tire on that side.

Now, let’s talk about what would have happened IF they had not been using a TPMS. First of all, they would have not known there was ANY issue at all until it was too late. That remaining tire WOULD have blown out and with the other tire and wheel completely missing, the trailer could have flipped over. IF a trailer flips over it most of the time will also flip the vehicle it’s attached to as well. Especially going down the highway at 55 MPH, this situation could have been very tragic indeed. The TPMS literally saved their lives. You can see the whole story as told by my dad in our recent video on YouTube.

What Type Of RV TPMS Do You Need?

What type of system you need depends on your set up. Are you towing an RV travel trailer or 5th wheel? Do you have a motorized RV? Are you towing a car behind your motorized RV? If you are driving a vehicle and towing, chances are you have a built in TPMS for the vehicle you are driving and you just need a TPMS for your RV that you are towing.

If you are driving a motorized RV you will want to make sure to have a TPMS for both the motorized RV AND any vehicle you are towing behind your RV. For example, we have a 10 sensor set. 6 sensors for our motorhome (it has 6 tires and wheels) and then 4 sensors for our Jeep. It’s important to know if we have a flat tire on our Jeep as we would never feel any drag in the motorhome. This is actually how most tow car fires start. A tire goes flat, overheats and starts on fire. The driver of the motorhome never realizes there is a problem until they see smoke or flames in their rear view mirror or camera. This can all be AVOIDED by using a TPMS.

RV TPMS TireMinder

Which TPMS Is Best For RVers?

There are several TPMS systems on the market. We have used the TST TPMS in the past and it does work well. The only downside we’ve experienced with the TST is when replacing batteries in the sensors (you WILL need to replace the sensor batteries at some point) it’s like performing a delicate surgery. The replacement batteries for 10 sensors run around $20.

There are two types of sensors. Flow through sensors (sensors that screw onto the valve stems and the air “flows through” them if you need to add air to a tire) and cap sensors. The cap sensors can be easier to install and similar to a small, screw on cap for valve stems, they need to be unscrewed to add air to a tire when needed.

We just switched over from the TST to the TireMinder TPMS. The TireMinder A1AS is the system we are using now. It has a full color screen as well as an app that can be used to check the status of the tires. One of the things we’ve recently learned that helped us make the switch over to Tire Minder is they provide FREE replacement batteries for the life of the system. You can email, call or find a Tire Minder booth at an RV show or rally and get a FREE pack of replacement batteries.

Save $20 On A Tire Minder TPMS For Your RV

We’ve partnered with TireMinder to be able to offer $20 off a tire minder system. You cannot get tire minder cheaper on Amazon, e-trailer or Camping World. Be sure to add the code “Glamper20” to save $20 or check out the details on our partners page.

We also have a ton of other deals we’ve been able to score too for the RV Community on our Partners page. Make sure to check it out and see the various discounts and codes we’ve secured for our readers and fans!

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5 Comments on “RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System – A Must Have For RV Life!”

  1. Very glad your parents are OK.

    The big question should be, why did this happen. All the studs don’t just break off. I hope the new studs fixed the problem. Also I don’t know why the pressure indication went up when they lost a tire (but good it did for what ever reason) as pressure does not change when you put more weight on a tire. If it did when the tech at the shop puts in the air before mounting (which they do) it would go up when the car weight is put on the tire and it doesn’t.

    Personally, I would have that drum assembly completely replaced. What if those studs breaking and tire coming off cause cracks in the drum? Is their safety worth the $200 or so to replace it? Just me, I am very keen on safety.

    1. P.S. Over torqueing the lug nuts could have cause them to break (or a few and then it cascaded). I would see what the MFg. torque rating is for those lug nuts and put a sign on or about the wheel stating “Hand Torque Only” and then the torque value.

      1. Great Tips! Thanks, you have some really good and valid points here. We are just glad they had a TPMS to alert them and hopefully this won’t happen again in the future.

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