Being physically challenging and dirty, they are time consuming and expensive if the tyre is completely ruined. If the driver doesn’t recognise that there is a problem, and continues to drive, then the flat tyre can soon start to disintegrate around the rim, causing damage to the van as the steel belts flay the sides and underneath sections of the caravan body.
Regular checks when you stop can show up a slowly deflating tyre, but sometimes things can happen very quickly. Being able to keep an eye on your tyres in real time with a tyre monitor is not only a great safety device, but it also reduces the worry of what’s going on out the back.
I had been thinking about installing a monitor for a while and it had been playing on my mind on our recent trip to WA. So, when I saw the Tyre Watcher C recently at Opposite Lock I thought it was worth a giving it a go. The monitor is a Bluetooth enabled and runs on solar power with a mini-USB plug to charge if necessary.
The kit comprises four screw-on sensors, four locking nuts, a suitable spanner, a compact 75mm LED display and double-sided tape for fitting the screen to your windscreen and an easy-to-follow instruction sheet.
At the price, I must admit I was sceptical it would have the Bluetooth reach to read the van’s tyres, but I figured if it wasn’t up to the task, it would be ok as a monitor for the Landcruiser.
Set up was also much easier and quicker that I imagined. The monitors screw on in place of the tyre valve covers and the set comes with a locking nut that goes on first. Micro batteries in each sensor are said to have a life of three years.
I gave the monitor a quick charge using an old phone lead, but it seemed to have enough power anyway straight out of the box. When each monitor was screwed to the valve cap, both air pressure and temperature showed up on the compact screen. With all sensors in place, it was then easy to set minimum pressure and maximum temperatures for each sensor on the screen, which sits unobtrusively but in clear view on the windscreen
Doubts about the viability of the signal power were soon dispelled when, after a few kilometres of driving all the pressures and temperatures began to rise as the tyres heated up. It was further confirmed when the display showed that the side in full sun got hotter.
I wasn’t keen to stake a tyre to check if the alarm worked. So instead, I removed one of the sensors and the alarm immediately sounded simulating a loss of pressure. Vibration sensors turn on the power, so battery life is extended and the screen is keeping charge even on cloudy days.
You can find instructions on YouTube at Tyrewatcher and help at tyrewatcher.com.au
We bought the Tyre Watcher C , part number OBD-AUS TPMSS4 at Opposite Lock in Auto Barn, Noarlunga Centre South Australia for $98. We have been running the system for three weeks now and so far, I think that’s pretty good value.