A Guide to Monitoring Your RV or Camper Tire Pressure
A Guide to Monitoring Your RV or Camper Tire Pressure
Tire pressure is a critical component of a safe and smooth ride in any RV, trailer, or campervan. If your tires don’t have enough air, you spend more on fuel and have to replace your tires more often! And even a slow leak can increase your risk of rolling over.
Checking your tire pressure should be an essential part of RV maintenance, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. We’ve consulted the BMPRO camping experts to compile this complete rundown on RV tire pressure, including:
All About Your RV or Camper Tire Pressure
Tire pressure represents two key factors: the shape of your tire when it meets the road and the load being carried by the tire. Tire pressure is measured in PSI: “pounds per square inch,” or the minimum amount of pressure to support your vehicle at maximum load.
Too little pressure and the sidewalls flex too much and overheat, which can lead to blow-outs. Too much pressure and you may wear down your traction, compromise your stopping distance, and experience a stiffer ride. In either scenario, you’ll spend more on fuel, you’ll wear out your tires more quickly, and most importantly: your safety is compromised.
How to Determine the Right Tire Pressure for your RV or Camper
It’s important to know the recommended PSI from your RV manufacturer and your tire manufacturer. The RV PSI recommendation is usually found on the RV dataplate in the driver’s door jamb. Check your tire owner’s manual for their recommended PSI.
With all the different recommendations from manufacturers, it can be hard to know what number to trust. There are two methods for choosing the right number for your tires: the RV dataplate and the tire load weight.
1. RV Dataplate Method
- Locate the RV dataplate in your driver door jamb to see the recommended inflation pressure for the maximum weight of your RV or campervan.
- Check the PSI of each tire.
- The recommended PSI on the dataplate is a good base number to follow, but if you’re carrying a lighter load, this can result in overinflated tires and a harsh and possibly unstable ride.
Note: The sticker on your RV dataplate will also tell you the “max cold pressure.” People often make the mistake that you should fill your tires up to the maximum pressure amount, but that will actually make your tread wear down faster or compromise your traction and braking ability. The max cold pressure is the maximum amount of air pressure that should ever be in that tire, not the recommended pressure.
2. Tire Load Weight Method
When you check your tire pressure based on your tire’s recommended load weight, you’ll have a more accurate picture of what your PSI needs to be for a smooth and safe ride.
- Load up your RV with everything you need for a trip—full tanks and all.
- Weigh your RV by wheel position. Ideally, you’ll want a place with a scale that can weigh each tire individually (this is called a CAT scale, like the kind used by truck drivers). Pull your campervan onto the scale, and you’ll drive away with a printout of how much weight is on each axle.
- Compare your RV’s vehicle and axle weight ratings (they’re usually found around the driver’s door) to your tire manufacturer handbook to see the recommended load weight for your tires.
- Adjust the tire pressure so that all the tires on the same axel are set to the same pressure based on the heaviest side. You might be able to get away with a lower PSI than you thought!
Is it better for your tires to be over or under pressure?
The best rule of thumb is to find the right PSI for your tires and for your load to ensure the safest and smoothest ride.
If your tire pressure is too low, you run the risk of:
- Poor tire wear
- Heat build-up
- Tire failure
If your tire pressure is too high, you run the risk of:
- A harsh, uneven ride
- Unstable handling in wind and with passing vehicles
- Less effective breaks
- Reduced tire tread on wet roads
How to Monitor Tire Pressure on Your RV or Camper
Now that you’ve identified the proper PSI for your RV tires, it’s time to think ahead about how to maintain that pressure while traveling. Of course, you could go around to every tire and manually check the PSI with a tire gauge from time to time, but that can be time-consuming and a bit of a pain. If that’s not what you had in mind, you might consider a remote tire pressure monitoring system or TPMS.
With Bluetooth and a smartphone, you can monitor multiple tires at once, and you’ll never question your tire pressure again.
Here at BMPRO, we’ve spent a lot of time helping campers solve this problem and have developed a Bluetooth-enabled TPMS to meet their needs. We call it SmartPressure, and it’s a part of the BMPRO collection of SmartRV monitoring solutions.
If you like to take your camper or RV off-road, you need to factor in how that will affect your tire pressure. BMPRO SmartPressure monitors your tire pressure no matter the terrain. The TMPS gives you the extra peace of mind that when you drive off-road, you’ll know how your tires are responding.
How to Add Bluetooth Tire Pressure Monitoring Sensors to your RV
Tire Pressure can be monitored remotely using a TPMS like SmartPressure, from BMPRO. SmartPressure sensors magnetically attach to your tires with anti-theft technology. The sensors are compact, lightweight, tough, dust and water-resistant, and allow you to keep tabs on your tire pressure level at all times, right from your smartphone app.
SmartPressure is not a stand-alone product but is a part of BMPRO’s SmartRV systems. You might already have a compatible system on your RV, or you can add a ProSmart hub to easily monitor water levels, gas levels, tire pressure, temperatures, and battery charge from a single app.
To install the ProSmart Premium system:
- Place the SmartLink close to the power source (12V battery)
- Mount it on the wall with 4 screws
- Connect to the battery with the supplied cables
- Download the free ProSmart app and pair it with the SmartLink
Once installed, pair your SmartPressure sensors to the app:
- Press SmartConnect to navigate to SmartPressure screen
- Press the PAIR button on the side of the vehicle where you are installing the sensor (Front or Rear, Left or Right)
- Install the sensor on the corresponding tire:
- Screw the anti-theft nut on clockwise allowing sufficient space for the TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System)
- Screw on the SmartPressure TPMS clockwise
- Screw the anti-theft nut counterclockwise to secure the sensor
- Tighten with the tool provided
- Once paired, the icon in your app will change to white, displaying the pressure and temperature
- Repeat for remaining sensors
For a step-by-step walkthrough of the process, check out this YouTube video from Team BMPRO
Once the sensor successfully pairs with the app, you’ll see the temperature of each individual tire and the PSI, so you’ll know when you need to adjust the air. The SmartPressure sensor transmits every ten minutes when the vehicle is stationary and every minute when the vehicle is in motion. If a leak is detected, the sensor will transmit at a faster rate.
Tips for Monitoring Tire Pressure
With tire pressure, temperature really matters. It’s important to check the tire pressure first thing in the morning before departure (or after the RV has been sitting for 2-3 hours). You want the tire to have the same ambient temperature as the outside air. Tire pressure will increase with heat and lowering the pressure of a hot tire can cause blow-outs.
You can’t get far on the open road without your tires, and tire pressure is critical to safe RVing. The most reliable way to monitor your RV tire pressure is with a remote system. Simplify your trip and get the peace of mind you need with an integrated monitoring system for tires, temperature, and tanks from the adventure experts at BMPRO.
For a look at SmartPressure in action along with other SmartRV tools, check out this real-life review from Jayco camper Bronson of Adventures with Rosy.
BMPRO Smart RV systems are easy to install and come ready to communicate with up to 40 sensors. Their SmartPressure monitoring system comes with 2 TPMS sensors, monitored from a simple mobile app. SmartPressure is not a standalone product but is compatible with all BMPRO Smart RV systems: JHub (with ControlNode103), Odyssey (with OdysseyLink103), JAYCOMMAND, RVMaster, ProSmart, and ProSmart Premium
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