Should you replace valve stems when installing TPMS sensors?

RV Tire Safety
with RV tire expert Roger Marble

Got this question on an RV forum:
“I understand from the thread that you should use metal tire stems with TPMS [tire pressure monitoring system] caps. The ends of the tire stems on our trailer are metal with the only visible rubber part right where they go through the wheel. I am guessing these are still considered rubber stems and should be replaced prior to installing TPMS?”

My answer:
“Metal” stems can be a bit misleading as some newer stems may have some brass showing. I posted pictures on THIS post showing a standard passenger rubber valve, a “bolt-in” metal valve, and a new style rubber/brass valve.

When it is recommended that “metal” stems be used, what is actually meant is “bolt-in.” You will see the nut that retains the bolt-in stem on the outside of the wheel for most of these stems.

The concern is that over time (months or maybe years) the extra weight of TPMS external sensors may cause some vibration and movement of the rubber stem body which might result in a failure of the rubber portion of the stem.

I am not aware of any testing done on the new style rubber/brass stems with a TPMS sensor screwed on, so I and others are erring on the side of caution when we recommend “bolt-in” metal stems.

Cracking and failure of the rubber part of valve stems is another time and temperature aging thing, just as it is with your tires. You visually inspect your tires monthly, as outlined in your RV  owner’s manual, so just include the rubber part of your valves. Just as you would replace your tires when signs of significant wear or aging (cracks) are found, do the same with your valves. 

You could consider running your current valves until you get new tires and at that point have the bolt-in valves installed. In the meantime, I would take a close look at your stems when doing your monthly visual inspection. You can push sideways a bit on the rubber/brass stem and look for any cracks. If you find any, that would mean you need to replace them sooner rather than later.

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

##RVT863

 

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7 Thoughts to “Should you replace valve stems when installing TPMS sensors?”

  1. Robert

    We put Yokohama tires on our motor home three years and almost 18000 miles ago without a single problem . They have no signs of anything going wrong. Its a Japanese company with some of there tires produced here in US

  2. Tom

    I purchase tires at Wal-Mart. With 3,500 plus stores and a nation wide warranty, I have never had hassle with getting a failed tire replaced.
    I put their Dextro brand tire on my Class A They have been there for six years without any problem.They will replace the Michelins on my current B plus when the Michelins wear out.

  3. Jeannie

    I’ve seen rubber valve stems fail without a TPMS sensor installed and I will not use them, period. Even though many people will claim they use them with TPMS sensors without problems, do you want to be the rare one they do fail for (especially on a stormy night in an area without cell phone coverage)? Remember Murphy and his law.

  4. Bob Staples

    Since I’ve installed TPMS sensors on my Jeep Liberty, I’ve learned the hard way that the valve stem rubber starts cracking after about one year. If I don’t replace the valve stems every year, I’ll end up with a flat.

  5. skyjim

    Roger,
    I’ve been shopping for replacement tires for our Class A Diesel Pusher….
    I’m finding a several hundred dollar variation between several brands I am considering…
    And I am finding that the top three choices that I have looked at are all made out of the US.
    The Continental tires are made in Brazil
    The Michelin’s are made in Canada
    and the BF Goodrich (owned by Michelin) are made in China…
    The Michelin is of course the most expensive and the Continental and the BF Goodrich are almost the same price wise…
    I really thought that I wanted a tire made in the USA but it looks like that is not going to happen….I was really surprised the Michelin was making some of there tires in China…
    So my question is, do you have any opinion on foreign made tires? These three brands in particular…. I’m kind of OK with the Canadian made tires, but those made in China and Brazil I’m not so sure of…
    What are your thoughts about Continental and BF Goodrich tires made out of the USA?

    1. Alex

      We purchased an older, 31 foot Class C with older tires. The seller was nice enough to replace all 6 tires. After our purchase I noticed the tire brand – Sailun, a Chinese brand manufactured in Vietnam. Oh no! The invoice was around $850, out the door, for all six. After pricing Michelins replacements at around $2,200 I decided to research Sailun products. I learned that they’ve been in the US market since 2012 and only had one recall involving 44 tires. So far so good at 1/3 rd the price. We’ve nothing to complain about. I’ve kept a pair of rubber sandals made from old tires while in Vietnam in 1970. They’re still viable. Looks like the tires made there will be around a long time too.

    2. Roger Marble

      In general I am not opposed to tires made by a “major” tire company outside the USA. I do know that Bridgestone & Firestone have a truck tire plant in Tenn. You might check them out if a USA made tire is important to you.

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