Maintaining Safety on the Road

Through many of the RV discussion pages, I have learned that having a system to continuously monitor the tire pressure and temperature of the 5th wheel and truck is a good way to avoid a blowout on the road.  To be clear, the monitoring system doesn’t prevent anything, only gives you information to let you know if conditions are developing that will lead to catastrophic tire failure.  Also, there are other factors that can lead to tire failure including age, foreign objects, etc.  However, adverse tire conditions of under-pressure, over temperature and over-pressure conditions can be detected and addressed before the tire fails.

I elected to purchase a system manufactured by TST with ‘flow-through sensors’ on the valve stems.  I replaced the rubber valve stems with steel valve stems per the manufacturer recommendation.  The sensors weighed enough that if installed on rubber valve stems, the valve stems tend to fail.

Set-up of the system was straightforward and after traveling from Wisconsin to Kentucky to Texas, the system is reliable and seems to be providing accurate information. The use of the valve stem sensors does have some limitations – specifically that the temperature, I think, is not truly representative of the air temperature in the tire, my gut tells me it is probably reading a couple of degrees different than true tire air temperature.  However, the factory set air temperature alarm is set for 256 degrees Fahrenheit. On our first trip, we saw temps running nominally 5 to 8 degrees over ambient temperature so I was confident that the tire temperatures were fine. 

One more piece of information I noticed; I think I can see the effect of braking on the indicated tire temperature.  This was not expected, but during the trip to Texas with rather hot ambient temperatures and stop and go traffic, I saw a noticeable increase in the tire temperature and a small increase in tire pressure, tracking about 10 degrees higher than on the highway.  No action was needed, just observations from the data.

The manufacturer does offer sensors that are mounted to the inside of the tire, specifically mounted on the inside of the rim.  This should be the best sensor to collect the most accurate tire conditions.  I elected to not purchase this, mainly due to the cost – both for the installation of the sensor and the sensor cost itself.

Bottom-line, for those of you that travel a significant amount in your RV rig, investing in a tire monitoring system is a good way to head off tire problems before they leave you stranded by the side of the road.

 *This review is strictly my point of view. No compensation of any type has been received.

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