By Mark Polk
RV Education 101
At one time or another, most RV owners have heard stories about a motorhome that had a tire blowout. Some of these tire blowout stories are worse than others. If you ever experience a tire blowout, I hope it will result in little damage and no one will be hurt.
There is more educational material available now on RV tire care and maintenance than ever before. We are instructed to check and inflate our tires to the correct pressure for the load; not to overload the motorhome; to inspect our tires for signs of damage and/or excessive wear; and to replace tires that show evidence of damage, or replace them at regular intervals.
I am a big advocate for consumer education on tire care and maintenance. This is all great advice that always should be adhered to, but it is impossible to know what kind of damage already may have occurred to the inside of a tire. And, you have no way of knowing when the tire might fail.
Another consideration is what might be happening to the tires on your towed vehicle as you travel around the country. Several years ago I had a tire blowout on our towed vehicle and hardly noticed it until the entire inner fender was destroyed by the time I could safely pull over and stop.
This brings me to the topic of today’s article, a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). For many years I traveled in our motorhome without a TPMS. Looking back now, I honestly can’t tell you why I didn’t get and use one sooner.
During that time when I didn’t use a TPMS, I had one rear tire blowout and was fortunate to be traveling at a lower speed when it happened. Even at a lower speed it caused some damage to the motorhome. It wasn’t until recently, when we were planning a long RV trip, that I decided it was time to look into a TPMS.
I would like to give you my top 7 reasons for using a TPMS on your motorhome and towed vehicle tires.
1. Most Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems I researched were easy to install and easy to use.
2. It’s a quick and easy way to check the tire pressure in every tire before traveling each day. The TPMS I use is accurate to within 2.7 percent. That’s as accurate as many tire gauges.
3. You can monitor both the motorhome and the towed vehicle tires as you travel. That’s what I call piece of mind!
4. A TPMS has some type of alarm/warning system to notify you of a potential problem. Knowing when there is a potential problem with a tire can limit damage to the motorhome and quite possibly save lives.
5. My TPMS monitors tires for a loss in air pressure and for possible overheating.
6. A TPMS can be cost-effective. The cost of a decent TPMS can be about the same as the price of a new tire, not to mention the damage a blowout can cause to the motorhome and/or the towed vehicle.
7. I don’t think I was ever as relaxed traveling in the motorhome as I was with the TPMS onboard. Driving is much more enjoyable when you know what the tire pressure is at any given time, and the fact that you will be warned if a problem with the tires exists.
As I researched the topic, I discovered many reputable companies offering a TPMS that will work on larger motorhome tires. Based on my particular needs and on what I wanted in a TPMS, I got the Tire Minder, Model TMG 400C by Minder Research.
|RV expert Mark Polk owns RV Education 101, a North Carolina-based company that produces and sells educational videos, DVDs and E-books on how to use RVs. Mark has more than 30 years of experience in RV maintenance. He retired from the U.S. Army in 1996 as a Chief Warrant Officer Three, specializing in wheeled and track vehicle fleet maintenance operations. He and his wife, Dawn, started RV Education 101 in 1999. They travel with their two boys in a 35-foot Type A motorhome.