Tire Safety - "Driving Under Pressure" continued:
The NHTSA says tire pressure should be checked at least once a month and before any trip. Every day that I get behind the wheel of the motor home it's a trip day and the tire pressure needs to be checked on every tire.
Know your load. The only accurate way to set the correct tire pressure is to have your recreational vehicle weighed. Ideally you want each point weighed, not just each axle, and set the tire pressure on each axle based on the heaviest side.
I've used Tire Pressure Monitoring for the past 6.5 years and have used more than one system. When I first considered tire pressure monitoring, it was primarily to monitor the tires on my towed (toad) vehicle. I'd heard stories of blowouts on towed vehicles that went unnoticed for miles until a passing motorist would drive along side yelling and pointing towards the back of the coach. Quite often by the time the owner knew about it and was able to pull over, his toad was on fire and could only disconnect it from the motor home.
After 6.5 years full timing and after getting early warning on at least 6 occasions that I had a problem while cruising down the interstate, I wouldn't be without Tire Pressure Monitoring. Not only can I check my tire pressures in just seconds each morning before leaving on a drive, I can monitor them while driving. This feature allowed me to catch the five or more pressure leak problems noted above, but also allowed me to understand how the pressure on the tires change with temperature while driving.
A gauge is the only way to accurately determine a tire has the correct pressure. A tire 20% low will not necessarily look low and a hot tire will almost always not look low. Some drivers, especially truckers have relied on "tire thumpers", a piece of pipe or similar to thump each tire and determine it's status by the sound and feel of thumping it. This method is quick but unreliable at best. For this reason, I recently chose the TST TM-510RV Tire Pressure & Temperature Monitoring System. I enjoy peace of mind while traveling knowing my Tire Pressure Monitoring System is monitoring my tires.