If however, you are one of the great majority of us who don’t, then reading this could save you a lot of money, and possibly a dangerous accident.
Why have a TPMS?
A TPMS constantly senses the pressure inside your tyres and alerts you to any changes which could be the result of air leaks.
This can allow you to pull over safely and change or repair your tyre before it blows out or deflates completely. If you carry a tyre inflator kit, you may be able to add some air and get to a tyre repair centre without having to have the wheel changed.
I had met several motorhomers who had experienced tyres blowing out at high speed. Blow outs are often the result of slow leaks. If the driver doesn’t notice and stop, the softening tyre gets hotter and hotter which decreases the strength of the side wall. Eventually this just can’t take it any more and fails catastrophically.
Many motorhomes (including ours), don’t carry a spare wheel so any device that looks after your tyres and reduces the chance of blow outs or needing to call out your emergency repair provider has got to be worth considering right?
We also met a motorhomer whose tyre had been punctured by someone in a supermarket car park. The perpetrator then followed them and flagged them down to ‘tell’ them about their flat tyre. While they were ‘helping’, someone else slipped into the motorhome and helped themselves to some valuables. A good TPMS would pick this up before you even leave the carpark.
Correctly inflated tyres use less fuel and incur less tyre wear so there is a direct cost saving for maintaining the optimum pressures.
I understand that some insurers offer discounts to motorists who have a TPMS system. I haven’t investigated this but it makes sense because it can drastically reduce the chance of a serious accident.
Why did I choose TyrePal?
With no spare wheel, I have always felt vulnerable and with an extended trip to Morocco planned, I was looking for how to minimise our risks by being alerted early to any possible problems. I put up a post on a Facebook technical site asking for recommendations and reviewed the responses.
Although there were much cheaper units than the TyrePal, they were set-up and calibrated for car tyres and reportedly gave a lot of false alarms at the higher pressures in camper tyres. When it comes to safety, correct functioning is vital and in any case, these units are inexpensive especially when compared to a set of tyres, or the cost of an accident. One poster recounted how his TyrePal had already saved him the cost of replacing a £160 tyre.
The TyrePal Solar is the appropriate current model and has the benefit of not needing to be plugged in or mounted on the windscreen.
Why did I buy this off Amazon?
I had the choice of buying direct off the TyrePal website or buying off Amazon, so why did I choose Amazon?
Firstly, although the item price was the same, there was no shipping cost with Amazon so it actually worked out cheaper.
Secondly, I was in a hurry to receive this and the Amazon shipping service and tracking system has always been first rate. This was delivered within a couple of days.
If you click on the link in this review, you can buy it at the same price and a few pennies also come my way (if you think I am worth it).
First Impressions – in the box
The box is sturdy and quite plain and contains everything that you need, including the display panel with four sensors pre-labelled and coded for each of the four wheels. Note that additional sensors are available in case you have a tag axle or caravan. Also in the box are the instructions, a semi-sticky dash mounting pad, a spanner for tightening the sensors onto the tyre valve stems, four batteries, a tool for opening and closing the sensors for battery installation/replacement, some spare O rings, dust covers, locking rings and a charger cable and 12V charger.
The sticky mounting pad is a great idea as this just sits anywhere reasonably flat on the dash and can be moved around (so you have room for your coffee). It is way more convenient than having another suction mount on the windscreen or a permanent stuck on pad somewhere.
Everything looks good and fit for purpose.
Installation and Setup
I did this while we were parked by the beach in Valencia, Spain on a glorious winter’s day.
- Each of tlhe sensors needs to be unscrewed open, the batteries installed then retightened using the tool provided.
2. After removing the dust cap from the valve stem, and installed the dust cover and locking ring, the sensor is screwed on and tightened against the locking ring. In my case, the wheel trims didn’t have enough clearance due to the larger diameter of the sensor, but a little adjustment to the trims with a file resolved this. A quick test with some soapy water and that part of the job was done.
3. By following the clear instructions in the book, you then setup the display unit with the units (psi or kPa) as well as the minimum and maximum pressure setting for the alarms.
That was pretty much it really. I was a little concerned that no pressures came up on the display but that was because I needed to ’wake’ them up by driving around the car park. The sensors are designed to conserve the battery by only turning on when you are driving.
4. Once the sensors were showing me the tyre pressures, I used my Fix and Go tyre repair compressor in ‘inflation’ mode to bring the tyres up to the exact correct pressure.
TyrePal TMPS on the semi-sticky mounting pad
I have now driven a few thousand km with the TyrePal and love the secure feeling that this gives me. We haven’t had any alerts (real or false), and the displays shows exactly what I would expect to see.
It is interesting how much your tyre pressures change with outside temperature, direct sun and particularly with driving. We would often check out tyre pressure after we had been driving for a while but that really isn’t good enough because pressure checks should be done on cold tyres. Our pressures increase by nearly 10% when the tyres are fully warmed up and the ones on the sunny side by maybe more. I am sure we did a lot of driving in the past with incorrectly inflated tyres, but no more. We have TyrePal.
The display is clear and easy to read. The display unit can be lifted off the semi-sticky pad and put our of sight.
(Photo of unit)
For me, I am really happy that I invested in the TyrePal Solar TPMS. Many of the gadgets we have bought were to make our lives easier, however this one makes our lives safer while potentially saving us ruining tyres.
I have no regrets and strongly recommend this unit.