The Complete Buying Guide to RV Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Posted: September 16, 2022
Categories: Buying Guides & Reviews
The Complete Buying Guide to Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems
Every RV owner knows that when it comes to RV travel, safety is top priority. One of the best ways to boost protection and performance is with an RV Tire Pressure Monitoring system (TPMS). A TPMS is a safety feature that once installed, not only protects you from hazardous tire blowouts, but also extends tire life and boosts the fuel efficiency of your rig.
With so many RV TPMS options out there, finding the right one can be overwhelming. Here, we breakdown the nitty gritty on why tire pressure monitoring systems are essential to RV safety, how they work and how to pick the best one for your RV.
What is an RV TPMS?
TPMS stands for Tire Pressure Monitoring System. An essential safety feature, a properly installed TPMS electronically tracks the air pressure in your tires — making sure proper tire pressure is maintained and alerting you when it’s not. In fact, tire pressure monitoring systems are so critical to vehicle safety and efficiency, that the United States deemed them mandatory for the automotive industry in 2007.
Why is an RV TPMS so Important?
Above all, safety is the most important reason to install an RV TPMS. Poorly inflated tires can lead to hazardous blowouts that put your life, and the life of everyone on the road, in danger. A loss in tire pressure can happen to even the most prepared RV owner. One rogue nail on the road, a drop in ambient temperature and routine wear and tear can all cause your RV tires to lose air. An RV TPMS reports real-time tire pressure information to the driver via a gauge, display or warning light. With double the tires of the average vehicle on the road, an RV TPMS is an excellent tool to prevent costly repairs to your rig and injury to those in its vicinity.
RV tire pressure monitoring systems extend tire life. It’s not just a fast leak or underinflation that you need to worry about. Overinflated tires raise cause for concern as well. Whether your tires have too much air or not enough, improperly inflated tires result in premature tread wear. Installing a TPMS ensures you get every last mile out of your RV’s (very expensive!) tires.
Protecting the longevity of your tires is just one way RV tire pressure monitoring systems reduce your carbon footprint. Going the distance on underinflated tires has a damaging effect on your rig’s fuel economy. Even a subtle dip in tire pressure is enough to increase drag, causing your RV’s engine to burn more fuel. Maintaining perfect PSIs with an RV TPMS will maximize your fuel efficiency mile after mile.
How Does an RV TPMS Work?
In its most basic form, an RV TPMS uses external sensors installed on each tire’s valve stem to provide constant monitoring of tire pressure. As soon as a drop in tire pressure is detected, the information is relayed to a device installed on your dashboard or in some cases, to an app on your smartphone. However, not all TPMSes are created equal. Some systems also monitor the temperature of your tire — a key indicator of tire performance — along with a host of other features which vary by manufacturer.
RV tire pressure monitoring systems come in two types:
Direct RV TPMS
A direct RV tire pressure monitoring system uses pressure monitoring sensors mounted within tires that wirelessly transmit data to a centralized control module for interpretation. If high or low pressure is detected, it transmits a warning directly to a dashboard mounted device or smartphone app.
Direct TPMSes provide the fastest, most accurate tire pressure readings of the two options. However, they also come with a higher price tag and a more involved installation process.
Indirect RV TPMS
Indirect RV tire pressure monitoring systems work in an entirely different way. This model estimates tire pressure through already installed sensors that monitor tire rotational speeds. When a wheel starts spinning faster than expected, the computer signals that the tire is underinflated and alerts the driver.
While much less accurate and complete, indirect RV TPMSes are more helpful than no monitoring device at all. If you’re wanting something easy and inexpensive, an indirect system might be for you.
What to Look for in a Complete Tire Pressure Monitoring System
There’s a huge variety of TPMSes on the market. From the most basic monochromatic monitors to smartphone app integrations, here’s a breakdown of the features you’ll want to look for when shopping for your own RV tire pressure monitoring system.
Consider monochromatic vs. full color. While black and white displays have a lower power draw, colored LCD display monitors are easier to read with a quick glance. Whatever you decide, a display with clear, readable alerts is crucial.
The best TPMS can measure both high and low air pressure, monitor temperature, report on slow leak detection and faulty sensors and indicate when your battery is getting low.
You should purchase a TPMS that can support the number of tires on your vehicle. Some systems like Tire Linc® can monitor up to 20 tires at a time.
A 12V repeater signal is key to boosting the signal sent by the sensors. This provides the most up-to-date information regardless of where you are.
Smartphone App Integration
Tire pressure monitoring systems that feature iOS and Android compatible app integrations take your RV safety to the next level. Apps like OneControl® by Lippert allow you to manage your sensors, set tire pressure ranges, get notifications and view alerts, all from your smart device.
This is especially important if you plan to install the system on your own. Manufacturer instructions and tech support provide great resources when DIYing your TPMS install. If your RV is newer, it may be prepped for the Tire Linc system. For these models, simply place the repeater in the preinstalled docking station and you’re ready to go.
What Tire Pressure Monitoring System do we Recommend?
Always on and easy to install, Tire Linc RV tire pressure monitoring system is engineered to deliver real-time tire status updates for travel trailers, 5th wheels, towed vehicles and larger motor homes. With Tire Linc, you’ll have the tire pressure and temperature information you need to help you achieve better fuel efficiency, longer-lasting tires and most importantly, help prevent costly and dangerous tire blowouts before they occur.
Tire Linc Features
- CONSTANT PRESSURE/TEMPERATURE MONITORING — External sensors update pressure and temperature several times each minute while your RV is moving and check every 15 minutes while parked. Plus, sensors notify you any time the tires inflate, deflate or in the case of high temperatures.
- REPEATER TECH BOOSTS SIGNAL — Repeater technology “repeats” the signal your sensors send, but stronger, so that your smartphone always has the most up-to-date information.
- INTEGRATION WITH ONECONTROL APP — Manage your sensors, set tire pressure ranges, get notifications, and view alerts all from your smartphone with the OneControl app from Lippert™.
- MONITOR MORE TIRES — Tire Linc Tire Sensors allow you to monitor up to 20 tires at a time with your Tire Linc system. Our additional sensor packs (sold separately) are a perfect way to monitor all tires on larger RVs, motorhomes and even tow vehicles
- SIMPLE INSTALLATION — TPMS sensors easily screw on to existing tire valves, and the repeater plugs into a pre-installed dock (on specific 2020 and beyond models only). Use your OneControl app to configure sensors and set acceptable tire pressure ranges
These photographs, recommendations, and approximations are intended for demonstration purposes only and do not reflect the specifications of any particular tow vehicle, recreational vehicle, trailer, or tire. Always consult the manufacturer’s Owner’s Manual.
All company and product names, logos, brands, and other trademarks shown are the property of their respective trademark holders, and use of them does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by them.