I’ve been meaning to finish this blog post I started months ago about our Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). It saved us from almost certain damage to Shiny.
After our tire debacle at Letchworth, and the fact that we are going to be spending months at a time traveling, we decided to purchase a TPMS. After much research, mostly on AirForums, I went with the TST system. I called them up and talked to a service representative. I can’t remember his name but he was very helpful. I wanted to talk to them because I had questions and I wanted an extra sensor for Shiny’s spare tire.
They sent me what I needed, including a little booster that attaches to the battery on Shiny. The booster is needed so that the monitor, which is in the cab of the truck, will read the sensors that are all the way in the back of 27 foot Shiny.
I will admit there was a little bit of a learning curve programming the sensor code into the monitor. But I got-ur-done.
There is some argument that you should not use the sensors on rubber valve stems because the weight of them will cause the valve stems to fail. The representative from TST assured me that would not be a problem. Still, the valve stems are one of the things I check when I do my Shiny walk around at almost every stop. When it comes time to replace Shiny’s tires I’ll have steel valve stems installed.
Driving down the road in Virginia, after the blizzard, the low pressure alarm went off. We could see on the TST monitor that it was the tire we had had repaired back at Letchworth. I suspected immediately that the tire plug had started to leak.
Now fast forward to somewhere in Mississippi when the alarm goes off again. I pulled off into a safe area to add air to the tire again. I am convinced that right there the TPMS saved us an expensive repair to Shiny. Tires blowing out on an RV are notorious for causing expensive damage. Below are a couple examples of Airstream damage from tire blowouts I gleaned from Airforums.
We watched the air pressure on that tire and sure enough it kept loosing air, faster each time. We ended up buying a new tire in New Iberia, Louisiana. The staple that punctured the tire back at Letchworth cost us $175.
The TPMS was crucial again after Susan flew home from Austin and I drove from Texas to Ohio by myself with a grinding noise coming from one of Shiny’s wheels. The TPMS also monitors the temperature of the wheel. If the grinding noise was going to develop into a catastrophe the wheel would have gotten very hot and I could have found a place to pull over. It didn’t and I had an uneventful trip to the Mothership for the repair, which turned out to be a brake problem.
So if you own and use an RV, I’d recommend having some sort of TPMS.