Originally Posted by sdagro
Just took delivery of my new 2015 Newmar Dutch Star 4369. trying to decide whether to get a TPMS or do it the old fashion way....trusty tire gauge? YOUR THOUGHTS???? Thanks in advance. Steve
These are not mutually exclusive. A TMPS is a current, real time way to track tire pressure that also gives you real time alarms if you exceed pressure limits and/or have a sudden loss of pressure.
No pre-flight methods will do this. It is that simple.
Beyond that you will probably never know if you had a blow out on your toad until you see the smoke out the rear view mirror or someone pulls up along side of you and gets your attention. I know of a gentleman that had a new TPMS for both the coach and toad but for some reason never got around to installing it. 3 hours after leaving his winter hang out he got waved over by a passing car. His nearly new Jeep's front left tire was on fire and by the time they got the fire out it totaled the jeep.
I'll be honest, I am truly amazed that anyone wouldn't take advantage of TPMS technology. A TPMS won't stop or predict blow outs caused by road damage and unknown tire defects. What it can do is alert you of conditions that MIGHT later cause problems ranging from a slow leak up to extremely high tire temps/pressure. BTW...there are have been several folks over the years that have posted that the TPMS showed high temps caused by brake problems before they cause a fire.
Here is how you will probably adapt/evolve with a TPMS...
1. You will double check all tire pressures with a high quality pressure gauge and compare it to your TPMS readings. This is a VERY GOOD practice as you incorporate a TMPS into your RV safety practices.
2. You will gain a working knowledge of factors that affect tire pressure. You will see the affects of rising and dropping ambient temps on tire pressure. You will see how driving on them increases PSI. You will even see how the sun affects tire temps and pressure both when sitting and driving. BTW...you will also see how a DP exhaust will raise the tire pressure on a toad wheel exposed to the hot exhaust. You will also see what happens to tire pressure when you travel from warm to cold temps and visa versa. Keep in mind that you will gain about 2 PSI for every 10* rise in temps and lose the same for every 10* drop in temps.
3. With a better understanding of all factors your TPMS will become your "go to" preflight check for tire pressure. After you get a good feel for a typical tolerance (usually +/- 2 PSI) you will later be able to use that information to quick check tires as part of your pre-flight. That doesn't mean you shouldn't visually inspect tires but IMHO, it eliminates the need to use a manual tire pressure gauge.
However, regarding sensor tolerance, when ever TPMS tells me that there is a need to change tire pressure I double check pressures with my hand held gauge. That means on a regular basis I validate that my TPMS is producing results I can trust.
Finally, I suggest that if you go with a TPMS that you set your lower limit to 5% below your target tire pressure and 20% above the tires max PSI. As an example; If your target pressure is 100 PSI with a tire that has a max of 120 PSI then the lower limit is 95 PSI and the upper is 144 PSI. The 5% below will keep you honest on running on a low PSI. The upper limit will protect you from excessive pressure and nuisance alarms. I apply the same parameters to establishing the upper and lower limits for the toad tires.
In closing I admit that it all sounds technical and it can be. As we drive our cars around with little or no thought about those tires it is easy to feel RV tires shouldn't need that much more attention. However, if you put in the effort to understand TMPSs and factors affecting tire pressure, I say that in the long run it will actually simplify your pre-flight safety checks and at the same time give you a real-time way to monitor tire pressure. Sounds like a win-win to me.