Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Flat Tired and Blind

Dear Dr. R.V. Shrink:
We tow a Saturn behind our Class C motorhome. I think we should have some type of alarm system or indicator to warn us if a tire goes flat on the Saturn. While driving I can't see or feel the car. It only weighs 2400 lbs. I know my husband can't see it either, but he refuses to look into a system that will give us some warning if a tire goes flat. He says they cost too much and that he would be able to tell if we had a problem. I don't agree and I don't want to find out the hard way. Can you tell me how to pound some sense into him?
Flat Out Nervous in New Orleans

Dear Flat Out:
There are systems that work on tire pressure sensors. A lot of rigs come standard now with backup cameras for visual monitoring. Many people still do not have any way of monitoring their towed vehicle. I agree it is rolling the dice. I can tell you from my wife's experience that your husband will not be able to tell when and if the car has a flat. While I was doing a long hike through the mountains, my wife drove the motorhome ahead a couple hundred miles to meet me. She was crossing 30 miles in Idaho on a well graded gravel road. She was following her sister's van. Near their destination, her sister decided to let my wife take the lead. Once behind our rig she noticed the car looked odd and seemed to be dragging to the right. By the time my wife knew she had a problem, the tire was gone, the aluminum wheel was almost worn away, the strut was bent, and the alignment shot. I can tell you that the cost of all those items would buy you a pretty nice system. When I first started towing a car behind the motorhome, I could hardly tell it was there.
I would tell my daughter, "Go look out the back window and see if we still have a car, I haven't seen it in awhile." Out of sight, out of mind works, but only if you never look.
--Keep Smilin', Dr. R.V. Shrink


6 comments: said...

Every curve offers a view behind. A backup camera is relatively inexpensive and can be used. Flats are uncommon and motorists behind usually will signal any trouble. Also, I stop in a few miles and check everything when first starting out. And as above, unless you're traveling a very very long straight road, watch your mirrors on turns and curves and check out your vehicle.

Anonymous said...

For everyones safety, stop and walk around the towed car or trailer every 50 or 75 miles I monitor my towed car often. I can't see the tires well enough to see if one is flat.Save a life, Check tires often.I use a rear
camera. I can see if the car in towing o.k.Drive safetly.

KarenInTheWoods said...

My husband was one of those who didn't think we needed a tire pressure monitoring system. He hears the old veteran truckers who claim a thump with a bat will tell them they have a low tire. Well, how you gonna thump a tire when you are driving down the highway at 55mph? Hmmm?

Soooo I just went ahead and ordered a system anyhow. I set it up, I set the baseline, and I plug it in each time we are ready to roll.

Peace of mind is important to ME!

Anonymous said...

We had a flat on our tow and we have a backup camera. A passing 4 wheeler pointed it out to us and we pulled into the next rest stop. The front left tire was shredded and had damaged the fender. We never felt it at all.

Ron Lane said...

There is no way that you will know when your toad picks up a nail or something and a tire starts leaking....that is until the tire gets so hot that it explodes and takes out a huge chunk of the wheelwell, electrical cables, brake lines, ect. There just is no protection for that while you are driving except for a TPMS. Looking on curves, checking when stopped, relying on passer-bys just won't warn you soon enough. With a TPMS, it will warn you just as soon as the pressure goes down a little bit giving you more than enough time to stop and take necessary action. This will not only save the cost of the tire but also any damage it may cause....and it will cause damage. Also, don't forget that when one of the duals blow, all the weight is then on the remaining tire of the dual causing sever overloading of that tire which will damage it to the point that it will need replacing also. Unfortunately, trying to convince someone who already has their mind made up is like trying to push a's just not gonna happen. He will eventually learn when he has to shovel out mucho bucks for a new tire, rim, and the damage the blown tire causes.

Anonymous said...

Was on Interstate 70 going west toward Denver in Colorado driving a 40ft pusher with a toad. Everything seemed fine until a passing car was waving their hands at me. The right front tire on the Toad had gone flat there was nothing left of the tire and the fender was destroyed. The AAA tow guy told me I was lucky for most towed cars with flats he had seen catch on fire and destroy the complete vehicle and the RV. So get a TPMS.