TST’s tire-pressure and temperature monitor works for the long haul on tow vehicles and trailers
A family from Ohio is driving through Massachusetts with their travel trailer when someone flags them down. They pull over and find that a tire had blown, and they didn’t know it. The tire carcass somehow wrapped itself around the rear spring hanger, ripping it and a section of the trailer frame apart. End of trip and end of the season, as the trailer had to have the whole frame replaced.
While this true story seems extreme, severe trip-ending damage from blown tires isn’t uncommon. Tires fail for a variety of reasons, and the best way to protect against it, and for added safety, is to use a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS).
A good TPMS monitors tire pressure and temperature in real time, allowing the driver to see pressures at a glance, and also sounds an alarm if pressures or temperature go beyond programmed specs, either high or low, which allows for quick intervention.
Truck System Technologies, or TST, specializes in tire-pressure and temperature monitors for truck and RV use, and we’ve been testing the 507 Series system for the past six months with several round trips from Massachusetts to Indiana, a round trip from Massachusetts to Florida, and some shorter regional trips. We are using the kit with six cap sensors (flow-through and internal sensors are also available), repeater and a rechargeable full-color display.
The display for the 507 contains a lithium battery, which gives the option of running the unit without plugging it in, and in our tests the battery lasted for days of driving without going dead (the company claims five to seven days). A battery minder on the display indicates the state of charge.
Before installing, make sure the display is charged. While you’re waiting, apply the provided stick-on labels to the sensors. Programming of each sensor is simple following on-screen indicators and holding the sensor against the bottom of the display.
Unlike some other brands, TST sensors come with the batteries installed. The sensors don’t turn on until tire pressure is applied, and removal of the sensors from the valve stem turns them off. The CR1632 lithium batteries will last up to two years, are replaceable and are available via the company’s website or other retail outlets.
It’s a good idea to have the tires balanced once the sensors are installed because they weigh minimally more than a standard valve stem cap. If you haven’t done so yet, having your trailer tires balanced is a terrific way to improve tread life and help preserve the rest of the vehicle’s suspension hardware.
Two display mounts are included in the kit: a glass suction mount and a rubber dash mount that rests anywhere it is placed with minimal movement. We used the rubber dash mount in our Ford F-350, keeping the display in the center dash well where it is easily seen but unobtrusive.
The system also comes with a repeater that needs to be installed in the trailer. The repeater takes the signal from the trailer wheels and retransmits it to the forward display. It’s best to install the repeater in the front quarter of the trailer; it will require wiring to a constant 12-volt DC source while the trailer is in use or being towed.
Since most folks tow with the main battery on, I would wire it to the house system. That way, a quick before-travel tire-pressure check is easy, and when the unit is in storage, the repeater is off, provided the batteries are turned off.
The full-color display is clear and easy to read. The pressure and temperature values are large, along with the wheel position being read. Icons on the screen indicate battery level for the display and the sensors, fast leak, high and low pressure, and high temperature.
All the alarm values can be changed based on the owner’s needs. A red LED indicates a warning, and a lightness and motion detector senses when it is dark out and adjusts display brightness accordingly. If the unit is running on its internal battery and doesn’t detect motion, the display will go to sleep until motion is sensed.
While any TPMS is a substantial investment, the cost is negligible compared to the costs associated with a blown tire. The test TST 507 has worked accurately since installing
it last year. If you’re looking for a TPMS for your RV, and you should, then the TST is well worth considering. Available at Camping World RV & Outdoors.
Truck Systems Technologies | www.tsttruck.com