As Spring begins to arrive, many of us are ready to break out of our winter hibernation and start traveling again. The wintery landscapes and holiday décor I was so enchanted by just few weeks ago is definitely in my rear view. My thoughts keep wandering. Things like whether I need a new zero gravity lawn chair, whether I want a new set of tiki lights, or how much would a new mattress cost? Gadgets and equipment to make my rig easier and comfier seem to be all I think about!
Getting everything ready helps me stay patient. I am starting to un-winterize, stock up on supplies, plan destinations, make reservations and get my rig ready to hit the road. This makes me also focus on doing important equipment inspections and making sure everything is safe. Gas systems, brakes, electrical systems, water systems… wait, what about the one thing that keeps me moving – or not. Tires. That’s right. Flat tires won’t get me anywhere. Damaged or old tires are dangerous, costly and can really take the fun out of my Spring travel plans.
So that brings me to one item on my list for this Spring: a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). While most cars and trucks that are newer have a very basic, factory installed TPMS, most motorhomes, travel trailers and tow-behinds don’t. With all those extra tires? No Tire monitoring at all. Go figure! In truth, I’m not too jealous, because I’m really not impressed with the factory installed requirements. All they are required to do is install a tiny dashboard light (which, I contend, most people don’t even recognize) and for the light to go on when one of your tires is 25% or more low. Way too low, IMHO.
TPMS kits, especially those favored by travelers, offer so much more! Here are the main benefits to me:
WATCHING ALL MY TIRES
To begin with, they can monitor a lot of tires. They can monitor not only all the tires on a motorhome, they can watch trailers or tows at the same time. The systems I suggest below, offer TPMS kits for 4, 6, 8, 10 or 12 tires and expansion parts for up to 22 tires. And expansion is easy, because it is just a matter of buying additional transmitters to place on the tires.
These TPMS monitor each tire individually giving real-time data on the tire’s pressure and temperature. That means, if I want to adjust pressure by a single pound, I can. OK, I’m not really that picky, but I don’t want to wait until a tire is down 25%. They are too valuable and it is just too dangerous for my taste. The temperature is also important as overheating can reduce the integrity of a tire that goes unnoticed until it has degraded substantially or keeps going low. What does this have to do with safety? All of the above can result in tire damage, flat tires and blow outs. We all know what that means. Stuck on the side of the road, or worse.
Convenience is another really big plus! These systems will relay the tire information to a monitor or display that I can place on my dash or wherever I find convenient. That means the info I want is available to me at any time without having to go outside and measure each tire with a gauge. They even have a system that sends the tire status to a smartphone app!
The info from the tires is relayed by a transmitter attached to the tire on the valve stem. Transmitters are available in brass, aluminum and flow through. The new flow through transmitters have just become available and look awesome. They screw onto the tire’s valve stem and allow adding air to the tire without removing them. Another great convenience. All the transmitters are battery operated and batteries can be replaced as needed.
EASE OF USE
I am not an RV mechanic and I have to admit I’m a little intimidated by some products. Fortunately, TPMS installation is easy and straight forward. Once done, I have the peace of mind knowing I have the information I need. It’s convenient and one less thing to worry about.
This Spring, I will only depend on luck with fishing holes and weather. And, I can go back to daydreaming about that inflatable kayak I’ve had my eye on.
Written by Connie Coates