I’ve written quite a few posts now around caravan and motorhome tyre safety. Including a caravan tyre pressure guide and best tyre pressure gauges. Of all the topics I discuss on this blog, I feel that tyre safety is the most important. Therefore, its the same theme with this post, I want to discuss tyre pressure monitors. Now, many modern cars have tyre pressure monitors built-in as standard or as an optional extra. However, when it comes to caravans and motorhomes if you want a tyre pressure monitor its more than likely you’ll have sort one out yourself. Below I’ll discuss the different tyre pressure monitors available from budget to premium options. I’ll also discuss why even though I do think installing tyre pressure monitors on your caravan or motorhome is a good idea, manual checks are still important.
Introduction to Caravan/Motorhome Tyre Pressure Monitors
Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) systems have been fitted on cars since the 1980’s. The first car to be fitted with TPMS as standard was a Porsche 959. As I stated above, you will find lots of cars today with tyre pressure monitoring systems fitted. Its a great tool to have, you can quickly flick through the menus to check the tyre pressures of each wheel. If a tyre drops below a set pressure an alert sounds to make you aware of the issue. With such an early indication of an issue with the tyre, its more likely a potentially dangerous accident can be avoided.
With such a mature technology in the car world, it is a bit odd that its not been more quickly adopted with caravans and motorhomes. For instance, I would have expected caravan manufacturers to be offering tyre pressure monitoring kits with the sale of every caravan.
While dealers may do this, I think it should be more heavily promoted by the caravan manufacturers themselves. After all, caravan and motorhome tyres are inflated to much higher pressures than car tyres. Hence, the potential for damage or an accident is likely higher. Also, bearing in mind that if a single axle caravan loses a tyre its immediately and inherently unstable. I’m aware that in 2015 Bailey caravans started to fit TyrePal pressure monitoring to all Unicorn and certain Pegasus models which you can read about here. However, its not as yet standard across the industry on all models which I think it should be. For instance, the AL-KO 2LINK system as shown in the image above which supports tyre pressure monitoring currently only appears to be present on a few top-of-the-line caravans.
An example of a TyrePal pressure monitor for caravans and trailers: Image – Amazon
The point being, its an excellent feature to have to be able to monitor the pressure in your caravan or motorhome tyres while in transit. So what options are available to you? Well, at the premium end of the market is the brand TyrePal as mentioned above. They do quite a bit of advertising in the caravan and motorhome magazines, so its a brand you may be familiar with. A few years back now YouTuber Dan Trudgian did a video showing how the TyrePal pressure monitoring systems work. As the setup and operation of all the different tyre pressure monitors is fairly universal, the video serves as a good general introduction to fitting a TMPS on a caravan/motorhome.
Tyre Pressure Monitor Setup
So as you can see in Dan’s video above, the setup of a caravan tyre pressure monitoring system is fairly straight forward. You have to register each sensor with the monitor and assign it to the left or right-hand side of the caravan or motorhome. Then setup up the monitor with the alerts for when the pressure dips below a certain level. You obviously need to know what the tyre pressures of your caravan or motorhome should be in the first place. To find out your correct caravan tyre pressures you can read my post linked above. Alternatively, you can check out the Tyre Safe website.
To save battery life both the monitor and tyre pressure sensors are typically fitted with some form of ‘sleep mode’. However, its important to read the individual instructions of the particular product you choose. Some tyre pressure monitors, as shown below have their own built-in solar panel. However, the tyre pressure monitor sensors will still require batteries. An operating life of around 2 years should be expected. Though its best to check what button-type batteries the sensors use and have a spare set in your car, caravan or motorhome.
The Cost of Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems
If you click the link above to a typical TyrePal pressure monitoring system for caravans and trailers with 2 sensors you will have seen a price over £100. That’s not an insignificant amount of money. Furthermore, while you can purchase additional sensors for the TyprePal pressure monitoring system to monitor more wheels or replace a damaged sensor they can definitely not be described as ‘cheap’.
The cost for additional/replacement sensors for the TyrePal pressure monitoring system is over £30 each: Image – Amazon
Cheaper Tyre Pressure Monitors?
There are lots of tyre pressure monitoring systems on the market now. Including a Michelin tyre pressure monitor, however for similar money to a TyrePal TPMS, the Michelin product doesn’t benefit from particularly good reviews. There is a significant number of unbranded tyre pressure monitoring system available. Many, such as the example below are quite discrete units, often with a solar panel built into the monitor.
A typical example of a budget tyre pressure monitor: Image – Amazon
Many of these unbranded tyre pressure monitoring systems are very reasonably priced, some for below £30. Are these types of products a wise investment? Well, its obviously a personal choice, and some if not most of these products may work reliably for many years. However, I would encourage you to bear in mind what the purpose of the device is, it’s a safety device. Hence, if you are not confident a tyre pressure monitor will produce reliable and accurate results over the life of the product, then its probably not a product you should choose. Now, I just want to clarify this point. I’m not saying the most expensive tyre pressure monitoring products won’t ever fail. Furthermore, if you cannot afford a premium tyre pressure monitor, I do believe a budget tyre pressure monitor is better than no monitor at all. My point is, don’t expect the same level of reliability and support from budget tyre pressure monitors.
Conclusions on the Best Tyre Pressure Monitors for Caravans and Motorhomes
So what are my conclusions on the best tyre pressure monitors for caravans, motorhomes and campervans? Well, as its a safety device, if you can afford a premium product such as TyrePal, that’s the option I believe you should choose. If your budget cannot stretch that far I believe a cheap tyre pressure monitor is better than no tyre pressure monitor at all. However, the best tyre pressure monitor is actually you, the owner of said caravan, motorhome or campervan. No matter what type/brand of tyre pressure monitor you choose, don’t rely on that alone to indicate your tyre pressure are within their safe operating range. Before you set off on each trip you should be using another portable analogue or digital tyre pressure monitor to check tyre pressures. While portable 12V compressors are good, personally I like a good quality dual cylinder foot pump. Its going to be the most reliable option to inflate your tyres to their correct pressure before you set off if they need inflating.
Personally, I feel a good quality dual cylinder foot pump is the best and most reliable option to check/inflate caravan/motorhome tyre pressures before setting off: Image – Amazon
You can then refit your tyre pressure monitor sensors before you set off. Check the readings on the tyre pressure monitor. If the readings on the monitor do not match the reading from your foot pump/12V compressor that needs to be investigated. If you have a spare tyre pressure sensor swap that over to see if the results change. Otherwise, it may be an indication the sensor its self is faulty. Hence why tyre pressure monitors should not be your only means to check caravan or motorhome tyre pressures. However, just to confirm. For keeping an eye on tyre pressures while in transit I do feel a tyre pressure monitoring systems is important.
As stated at the start of this post, I do think tyre safety is one of if not the most important topic I discuss on this blog. Therefore, you may also be interested in my posts on the best tyres for tow cars and how long do caravan tyres last along with how long do motorhome tyres last.
Anyway, thanks for reading, I hope you found my comments above interesting/informative. I also hope in the near future you consider coming to visit us here at Horton Common Caravan Site. 🙂