do we need an rv tpms

Is A Tire Pressure Monitoring System Necessary for an RV?

Many drivers often underestimate or overlook the importance of keeping vehicle’s tires properly inflated. But in facts, proper tire pressure plays an important part in not only keeping vehicles running smoothly on the road but also guaranteeing the safety and longer tire lifespan. 

As a result, ensuring your tires have the right level of air pressure before going on any trip should be a top priority. This task is becoming even more important when you usually travel off the grid on an RV. 

Then, an RV tire pressure monitoring system could be a wise investment as it will help to keep your tires in good conditions so that you can travel safely with peace of mind. In this article, we’ll discuss about the benefits of this useful RV accessory to explain why we should equip one for our campers. Before that, let’s dive into some basic information about this device.

What Is An RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System?

An RV tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) is an electronic device used on RVs or motorhomes to provide drivers real-time information about RV tires including air pressure primarily and temperature or air leak speed in some advanced models.

Generally, this system utilizes either the sensors attached to the valve stems or ABS system to monitor/calculate the air pressure inside the pneumatic tires. This data will be shown to drivers via a display screen inside RVs, a gauge or just a warning light on the motorhome dashboard. 

There are two main types of tire pressure monitoring systems: direct and indirect TPMS. Direct TPMS collects the accurate data about tire pressure via dedicated pressure sensors that are attached to the tire valve, then issues the real-time report about tire pressure or temperature to drivers. On the other hand, indirect TPMS makes use of the ABS system to estimate the approximate tire pressure. With an indirect TPMS, the vehicle must move a substantial distance before the data will be generated.

With an TPMS installed in your RV, you’ll be aware of your tire pressure actively without having to check one by one before going on a trip. If something wrong happens with any of your tires such as low tire pressure, there will be an alert by a warning sound and light. 

By receiving timely warnings on sudden changes in tire pressure, you will detect unsafe conditions of your tires soon and can quickly pull over to resolve the problem at a safe place. This will help you to enjoy safe driving and peace of mind while traveling on your RV.

rv tpms benefits
Photo: ©Joseppi / Stock Adobe

The Structure of The RV TPMS System

With the advantage of compact and convenient design, the tire pressure monitors consist of three main parts: sensor valve, central processing unit, and main display screen:

Sensor valve

The unit is made of stainless steel and has pressure, temperature, circuitry, and battery sensors.

The tire pressure sensor is responsible for measuring the tension of the membrane inside the tire, thereby transmitting the amplified electronic circuits, and generating an electrical signal to give the tire pressure readings. In the design of cars, this indicator will show a warning light on the dashboard screen under the PSI symbol.

Central processing unit

As the name suggests, this is an important part that receives and decodes the electrical signals from the tire pressure sensor valve, transmits the information to the ECU, and displays it on the screen. The central processing unit is usually located on the display board.

Main display

For models with a production history of a few years or more, TPMS typically comes with a battery-powered display for monitoring. However, with the current development of technology, the tire pressure sensor is often connected directly to the car’s screen, capable of integrating with a phone or smartwatch. This helps to monitor the pressure when pumping more optimally, and more conveniently.

How Does An RV Tire Pressure Monitoring System Work?

do we need an rv tpms
A tire pressure monitoring system will help prevent tire blowouts with early warnings. Photo: Les Schwab

TPMS work is typical once they see a 25% reduction in the tire pressure, they’re going to illuminate a light on your dash. It will set an alarm that should notify you to start pulling off the road into a safe place where you can diagnose the problem.

There are two types of TPMS systems for RV: direct and indirect TPMS. Different types of TPMS will have different tire pressure sensing principles:

Direct RV TPMS

A direct tire pressure monitoring system measures tire pressure with a physical method mounted on the top of the tire valve by transmitting signals between the sensor head to the central control unit in real time. A direct TPMS when needing to reset just hold the button on the controller or in the settings of the phone application.

Most RV tire pressure sensing systems are direct systems. So you will need to equip a sensor to the valve stem of the tire and receive a warning from the internal display.

Indirect RV TPMS

Unlike the direct tire pressure measurement system. The indirect TPMS system is based on the rotational speed of the wheel instead of measuring pressure using conventional physical methods. In this way, the under-inflated tire will have a smaller diameter than the standard, creating a difference in rotational speed compared to the inflated tire. This index is measured by sensors on the ABS and ESC systems.

Although the tire pressure index has not been shown to be absolutely accurate. The sensor timely recommends the time when the tire needs to be inflated. When the tires are inflated, the driver needs to reset the sensor every 20-60 minutes for the device to read the parameters on the tire again.

Is A Tire Pressure Monitoring System Necessary for an RV?

Is the RV tire pressure monitoring system really necessary? We can confirm that this system is very important to have. Because it can notify you whenever there is a sudden change in your RV tire pressure which may prevent a tire blowout. And make sure you know the condition of your RV tires early. Because when traveling down the road and towing the trailer., you don’t have any real feedback on what’s going on with RV tires.

So the consequence is that one of your tires can flat and you may not know it and keep driving. Tire pressure should be taken care of in RV cars. Because it can be dangerous when you and your family are on the road, especially on winding slopes or on highways. Visual inspection of tires is also difficult to guarantee accuracy. Therefore, make sure you have the most accurate information about tire pressure to get timely intervention. 

Maximize fuel economy

When your RV is not equipped with a TPMS. If the tire is overinflated or under-inflated. Inadvertently increasing the friction on the road surface leads to fuel consumption. On the contrary, when you install a tire pressure monitor in your car. It will help you monitor and keep the tire pressure in standard condition.

So it can save 2 to 3 % on gas compared to under-inflated tires. Under-inflated tires can waste about 3,5 million gallons of gas per day. Having your tires properly inflated, it’s going to give you the best performance and fuel economy.

Extend the tire lifespan

With an RV tire monitoring system, you can know the temperature and tire pressure on your RV. Is it stable or not? in order to be able to offer timely treatment plans. Thereby helping to keep the wheels safe and improving the life of car wheels.

More safety

Currently, according to statistics, many countries have a significant increase in the number of accidents caused by tire explosions. The cause is due to the sudden change in tire pressure.

That will make unexpected problems on the road, especially when you drive an RV. We have heard many shares about thousands of dollars of damage when the 5th wheel or worn-out tires in RVs. Even serious blowouts, cause serious accidents.

Final Thoughts

At the end of this article, we want to emphasize that: a tire monitoring system for RVs is very important for any RVers. It’s very vital to keep tabs on how your RV tires are doing. If they are in need of any maintenance. And it’s always better to have prevention than cure.

Depending on RV models, the pressure level in the tires is also different. Therefore, when installing the TPMS, you need to change the available format parameters to the level suitable for your vehicle. On the market, there are many poor-quality tire pressure monitors. So when buying you should pay attention to choosing the best TPMS for RV.

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