Carry an air compressor? And finding a certified tire inspector

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

I saw an RV forum post on whether you need your own air compressor, as well as where to find certified tire inspectors/technicians. Here was my answer.

If you are running a TPMS (which, of course, you should be), you should have received plenty of advance notice of needing to add 3 to 5 psi. This slight loss of pressure is due to normal air loss and pressure change due to change in ambient temperature. You can easily top off your tires at your next fuel stop.

If you don’t have a TPMS and discover you have been driving on a tire that needs more than 20% of its required inflation, you should be calling road service and have the tire changed, as there is a good chance you may have done permanent internal structural damage. I consider this operation on the under-inflated tire made the tire unsafe to re-inflate until the tire has had a complete internal and external inspection by a trained tire service person, not just the guy that mounts tires, who probably has not received the training.

AFTER the inspection, the tire should only be inflated in an approved safety cage, as doing otherwise can lead to serious personal injury.

Regarding how to find trained, certified tire inspectors/technicians use THIS link from the Tire Industry Association. There is a directory that you can search by zip code. Those listed are TIA Members, and those with the Certified Patch next to them have been TIA Certified.

I will suggest that folks with 19.5 or larger tires or with Load Range E, F, G or higher or with any steel body ply of any Load Range go to a Certified Commercial inspection location.

People with Passenger, LT or ST type tires of lower load range can use the “Automotive” link, but a Certified Commercial person should be able to inspect smaller tires too.

Remember as Sgt. Esterhaus (“Hill Street Blues”) said: “Let’s be careful out there.”

Read more from Roger Marble on his blog at RVtiresafety.net.

 ##RVT870

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13 Thoughts to “Carry an air compressor? And finding a certified tire inspector”

  1. Roger Marble

    TIA just reported the ZIP code look up is working.
    Thanks for reporting the problem

  2. Roger Marble

    OK Talked with TIA Training supervisor. The 5 year thing is NOT a TIA policy. It was pointed out that the stores that have their people trained can and do set their own policies so that 5 year limit or having to but tires is from the tire dealer not TIA.

    Also on the Zip code look-up. They were appreciative of learning of the problem. They have IT dept working on it now and they said they would let me know as soon as the issue is fixed.

  3. Roger is absolutely correct about the danger of not testing a potentially damaged tire before it’s re-inflated. Back in the 70’s I was a young pup working in a truck shop, and the tire distributor sent over a safety guy to demonstrate what happens when a truck tire is inflated and pops the suicide rim. And they showed us grizzly pictures of what happened to a few garage guys when tires blew up in their faces. So we were taught to put any truck tire into a tire cage before inflating. Now, modern truck tires no longer have suicide rims, but they can still explode if they were run while under-inflated then brought up to full pressure. Even though it’s been over 45 years since I’ve worked as a grease monkey in a truck garage, I still stand off to the side whenever I inflate the tires on my car or pickup truck. There’s a lot of stored energy in there, and if the sidewall ruptures there’s going to be a lot going on in a few milliseconds. You really don’t want to be in front of it.

  4. Brian Jensen

    I have a small air compressor that I carry under my dinette seat. That way I always have air when I need it. I found your comment about having plenty of time to fill my tires if I have a TPMS system hilarious. I have had Tireminder units on my tires for over three years and have concluded that they are good for one thing — rapid pressure loss like a blowout. The rest of the time they do a very poor job of reporting the actual pressure in the tires accurately. I drove 80 miles a couple of days ago and the pressure in one of the units never did change. I have also figured out that I have to set the units 10 percent over the actual recommended pressure to keep them from signaling over pressure when the tires warm up.

    I bought the Tireminder system when we started pulling our toad so I guess it works for what I need it for but basically it is a pain in the butt to maintain. (Yes I just changed my batteries about 3 weeks ago for the year.)

  5. Richard P Bartanen

    Just now read your article, tried the link to TIA and got the same message, ” invalid address”. I’m in Illinois, not Seattle. If these guys are as inept at checking tires as they are at building a website, I have no use for them.

    1. RV Staff

      I’ve written to Roger Marble (late Saturday night) to see if he can notify someone at TIA about this, since I can’t find any email address for TIA (except regarding membership). Hopefully he’ll be able to find someone to fix the problem. Sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime, Richard. —Diane at RVtravel.com

  6. Ben C

    When I went to the TIA site I entered my zip code, then town plus zip code, then my full street address complete with town & zip and all give me the same result – “Invalid Address”. What do I do now?

    1. RV Staff

      Sorry, Ben. I’ve just tried a couple of ZIP codes in the Seattle area in there and got the “Invalid Address” also. I’ve been searching for an email address on their website to contact them but only found one regarding memberships. I’ll bring this to Roger Marble’s attention — I’ll bet he knows someone there to contact about this. Thanks for letting us know. 😀 –Diane at RVtravel.com

    2. Roger Marble

      Ben, I just entered Seattle, WA and got a lot of hits.

      Try city and State. maybe their zip code lookup is not working.

  7. Robert Staples

    I have a DOT safety inspection performed every year on my class A motorhome and I ask the shop to especially pay attention to the tires. Once I learned about the “TIA Certified Technicians” recommendation I asked at the shop I was using and found they are not TIA certified. So, I called a commercial tire company from the TIA website and asked about getting an inspection. Once they learned my tires were more than 5 years old (they are 6 years old), they said they could only help me if I wanted to buy new tires. They said they wouldn’t even put air in a tire that was more than 5 years old. So, I haven’t had a TIA inspection. I’ll try again when I’m in a different town.

    1. Roger Marble

      Thanks for the info. I may contact TIA and have a short discussion with them. It is my understanding that they are a training facility and the certified individuals work for their tire store so it may be policy of the tire store. This is a good topic for a future post.
      If you visit my blog you can find my direct email on the right below my picture. If you want to provide more info please do.
      Thanks in advance

  8. Jeffrey Torsrud

    I have been carrying a Pancake Compressor for years, 150 Psi capable. I also have a TPMS on all my tires. In all cases, I start out on any trip making sure the Tires are properly inflated to the Cold Tire Pressure recommended by the manufacturer!

    Then if I spend more than 3 days at a location, before my 5th moves, I check all the tires again.

    Everyone needs to become REAL ANAL about Tire maintenance and Tire Safety.

    1. Roger Marble

      Glad you are checking your tires. You might review my earlier blog posts http://www.RVTireSafety.net on how you can avoid getting down on your knees and checking air so often.

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