Is TPMS adversely affected by balance beads?

Is TPMS adversely affected by balance beads?

 

Dear RV Shrink:
rvshrinkI have heard that owning a motorhome or a boat has been compared to throwing money into a black hole. We have been experiencing that lately. We bought six new tires a couple of years ago at the cost of almost $4,000.

Recently, we decided to add a tire pressure monitoring system that we see advertised in RVtravel.com (TireTraker). What we didn’t realize is there is a possibility of problems if our tires have balance beads in them. We never even thought about this when we purchased tires. We now see on our tire invoice that our tires were balanced with beads instead of weights.

My husband wants to just buy the monitor system and take our chances that everything will be fine. I don’t want to spend $500 to see if the beads will clog the sensors or not.

Can you talk some sense into my husband’s careless attitude about sensors? —Tired in Tucson

Dear Tired:
I emailed TireTraker and received this answer from the company:

As long as a filtered valve core was/is installed there would be no issue. If it’s just the normal valve stem, then the beads could leak and damage the sensors. The Lifetime Warranty covers the monitor and the sensors should they fail by no fault of your own. We would repair/replace any components for the duration of your ownership.

You might monitor the comments on this post. Perhaps someone has tried using a pressure monitoring system with balance beads and will post their experience. I do know you will spend as much to have your beads removed as you will on the system. I also have balance beads and, like you, had no clue I was getting them. I just assumed when I bought tires I would get weights.

For those thinking about tire purchase it would be wise to make that decision ahead of time and not let some tire business make it for you without even asking. Someone specializing in RV tires will probably have the equipment to balance large tires. Many businesses do not and opt to toss a bag of beads or powder in each tire for balancing. I am no tire expert, but have been told by a few professionals that the powder can damage tires and wheels.

At this point your cheapest option would most likely be new filtered valve cores. We asked RV tire expert Roger Marble at RVtireSafety.com to weigh in on this subject, and his comments are posted below.

Until then, keep a close watch on your husband’s beady little eyes and don’t let him do something foolish without first exploring all other options. —Keep Smilin’, Richard Mallery a.k.a. Dr. R.V. Shrink

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6 thoughts on “Is TPMS adversely affected by balance beads?

  1. John

    I’ve heard there is a bead ring that mounts between the hub and the tire – this balances the tire

    I’m not sure of its proper name

  2. Roger Marble

    To know if you have “beads” you would need to ask the tire shop that balanced your tires. It is also reasonable to just look for external balance weights clipped to your wheels. Few trailers and Class-A motorhomes are balanced at factory. If they were I would suspect external weights were probably used. Since Class-C & B are based on vehicles made by large car companies as GM, Ford & MB you will most likely find balance weights.
    In general tire companies do not like having anything poured into the tire (definitely not tire sealants).

  3. Mike Haider

    How would you know if you have beads?

  4. Valerie Chapman

    We have a Tire-SafeGuard TPMS system from HCI. We told them when we purchased the sensors that we had balance beads in our tires. HCI provided TPMS sensors that had filters in the sensors. We have used this system for 2 years now, and we’re quite happy with it.

  5. Steve

    When we had new tires installed on our Bounder 39Z in 2013 we had the tire shop install Magnum Plus balancing beads. They did a good job of balancing the tires and never interfered with our Tire Tracker sensors.

  6. Roger Marble

    Whenever “balance media” is used the installer should be advising the customer of the need for an appropriate filter for the valve. It is possible that the seller doesn’t want to let the customer know of the additional cost as they might lose the sale. Failure to put the appropriate filter on the valve is the fault of the installer.

    IMO beads are fast and easy for an installer to do so they can save some money. Minute particles from the beads or other material used to provide the balancing action can clog the valve core itself or possibly the small hole in the TPM sensor. The leak is not a function of the TPMS but of the valve core which is a standard part of every tire valve.

    I have a post showing how a small piece of “grit” can result in a leak at the valve core.
    http://www.rvtiresafety.com/2012/11/why-do-valves-leak.html

    I suggest you let the installer know that they did not do the job correctly by not installing the valve filters. They can make this right by installing the filters. That way they do not have to try and remove the beads and any particles left over which could result in a valve leak and tire failure. I might suggest that if they balk, then simply ask for something in writing that they guarantee the valves will never fail due to particles from the beads.

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