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Old 07-17-2017, 10:43 AM   #1
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2017 25' Flying Cloud
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TPMS or Compressor? 3,000 mile trip


We are a few weeks away from our first long trip with our AS. We are heading from California to MN and back. 10 days total, so we will be driving a lot.

If you were headed out on this trip, would you rather have a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) or a 12v compressor? In what order would you purchase them? I don't want to spend more than $200 on equipment right now, so should I just go cheap with both to have them both? Or buy better products and just wait on the one?

Thanks in advance!


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Old 07-17-2017, 10:50 AM   #2
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TPMS is mainly to monitor tires for low pressure or temperature. Hopefully to catch something before a major issue. The compressor would be used to maintain the correct tire pressure. Really need both but IMHO if I was choosing which to buy first it would be the TPMS.

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Old 07-17-2017, 10:50 AM   #3
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I most definitely would not go out without a compressor. TPMS is nice but proper tire pressure is essential to the success of any trip.
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Old 07-17-2017, 11:10 AM   #4
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IMO I would definitely go with the compressor and a good tire gauge. I have the TPMS and no longer use them. I always check my tire before leaving on a long trip and each time we stop. I am not saying that TPMS are not useful, however, a compressor has multiple uses to include pumping up bike tires inner tubes for tubing, even blowing out dirt from hard to get places.

I do not recommend going cheap especially since you have a 70 to 80 thousand dollar AS. I would strongly recommend you purchase the best you can afford and remember that over time you will forget the price but not the quality of the item you purchased.
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:33 PM   #5
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Old 07-17-2017, 12:50 PM   #6
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On a 10 day trip with an almost new Airstream you won't need either one. I think Airstream (the most stable travel trailer on the market) TPMS is a waste of money, save it and invest it on better tires in two years or so if you don't trust the ones you have.

Put the back of your hand on the tires at fuel stops to see if one is unusually hot, as well as the wheel hub. The sunny side will be warmer than the shady side. That's how we have toured the country 6-7 months a year for the past 8 years (two new Airstreams in that period).

We eventually bought a compressor as a general purpose tool. Our original GY Marathons lost almost no air pressure in the two years we used them, the Michelins we replaced them with never lost any measurable pressure.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:17 PM   #7
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Based on the amount of money you're willing to spend at this point, I think I'd go with a compressor and then save up for a good quality TPMS.

I'm a little surprised, however, at the comments about TPMS not being worthwhile. As they say in the financial world, past performance isn't a guarantee of future returns, and the fact that someone hasn't experienced a tire failure yet doesn't mean it can't happen. It's important to check tire condition and pressures between driving stints but it's still possible that a relatively sudden loss of pressure from a road hazard or other event could occur while towing with potentially catastrophic results. A TPMS can help give you the warning you need to avoid that, IMHO.
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Old 07-17-2017, 01:38 PM   #8
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My recommendation would be to get both, but you may not be able to find a TPMS alone for $200. If you can only get one, get a compressor, but start saving for a TPMS.

When I upsized my tires right after I bought my trailer, I bought a Dill TPMS and an inexpensive 12V compressor that I use occasionally to add a couple of psi to trailer or TV tires. The Dill TPMS uses in wheel sensors, so they give better temperature readings, but it is expensive at battery replacement time as the batteries are not replaceable; you have to buy new sensors. When I have to do that, I may opt for a different unit, but probably not as the more accurate internal temperature monitor can give you quick notice about a dragging brake or failing wheel bearing.

My TPMS saved me from potential trailer damage when I ran over some accident debris on a narrow exit ramp and punctured a tire. While I knew that this happened, I have also punctured tires and not known about it until much later. On a tandem axle trailer, you may not know you have a problem until someone passes you honking and pointing down.

When I went to change the tire, I had forgotten to check the pressure in the spare when I left home, so I had to add air. Luckily I had both a TPMS and a compressor.

I suppose I could have pulled over and checked the tires after the exit ramp incident, but I would have had to do it at the first available exit, which is the one I pulled off on right after the TPMS went off. I would not have known about it without the TPMS and it was a long way to the next exit. I would have been changing the roadside tire on the side of the road, a dangerous undertaking on I-285 in Atlanta if not everywhere.


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Old 07-17-2017, 02:26 PM   #9
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IMHO, TPMS tells you you have a problem, and can't fix it without a compressor......a tire gauge and frequent tire inspections with an on-board compressor will solve problems BEFORE they appear.

TPMS shouldn't be used as an excuse NOT to check your tires.

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Old 07-17-2017, 06:04 PM   #10
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I appreciate all the suggestions. I think I'm going to go ahead and get a decent compressor now and get the TPMS next.

I'm sure if I have a failure I'd wish I had both, but for now the compressor will also serve for bike tires and TV tire so it seems to make more sense.

I appreciate the suggestions for checking temperature of hubs as well as the tires. I hadn't thought of that.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:00 PM   #11
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I won't get into whether the TPMS or the compressor is worth getting. Your call, but do your research and go for the best you can.

I would, however, second some of the advice and carry with you (and use) a good tire gauge. You can also watch your tires while driving so you can see unusual motion. I got used to doing that when I went through a batch of GYM on our boat trailer (dual axle thank god!). The bubble would start and the tire (fender) would start bouncing: I knew what was about to happen. Like another mentioned, I also check the tires and hubs everytime I stop. It's not only a chance to monitor the trailer, but gives me a chance to move around and stretch. I make it a point of stopping soon after starting a trip just to check the trailer, but more importantly the tires.

We just returned from our first long trip and it was such a great experience. I hope you have a great trip. Safe Travels
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:20 PM   #12
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Both. The fact is we are all lazy and eventually will stop checking pressures every morning. TPMS automated that process and makes it so it's clear when you are low on air. And when you are, you need a compressors to top off the tire.
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Old 07-17-2017, 08:49 PM   #13
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Good tire gauge (as was said above).


Bicycle pump instead of compressor. (make sure it has the right valve type on it, your tires have schrader valves). It's more convenient than a compressor (no stringing wires or hoses around or worrying if they are long enough). Just 25 strokes gets me 2 psi in my trailer tires. I don't find that onerous.

Your need for a pump or compressor will be for a (rare) top-off of pressure, such as if you adjust pressure in Phoenix when it's 100 degrees and then drive to Alaska. Unless you have tire repair skills and a tire repair kit, you don't need to plan on inflating a tire from zero.

Remember to check the pressure on your spares before you head out.
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Old 07-17-2017, 09:11 PM   #14
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Central Texas to Minnesota and back...last year.
Central Texas to Big Bend Park to the Texas Coast and back...

TPMS. And air compressor.

TPMS, for me, was simple to install and on long trips like Big Bend where there was some heat... it is an excellent watchdog. You can watch pressure, temperature... updated regularly. On our system, I have hi-lo temp and pressure triggers... cross any and the alarm sounds.. and flashes the reporting tire.

Checking pressures at start of each day is excellent! I turn on the TPMS MONITOR, walk around the AS and do visual check...(this is a repeat of what I do when we land for the night. Also when stopped for a stretch... ) All the while the TPMS is watchdogging...

The Air compressor is also a "must". I am replacing air, not inflating a monster truck tire.. so, the Vair... is awesome.. but tedious on my 34'... the cables aren't long enough and the 15 amp fuse takes a hike.. so, I also bought a small "emergency jump" battery. Carry it with the Air compressor to each tire...

So, TPMS for monitor of pressure/temp status and compressor to add air even if you start losing air during the day..

Then you will have done about best you can to prep in that area... besides, even new tires get flats... if you know it is happening you can try to stop before it destroys your wheel well.

Peace and Blessings..
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