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Under Pressure: ARB Tire Pressure Monitoring System Review

Posted in How To: Wheels Tires on November 9, 2016
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Much to the chagrin of most off-road enthusiasts, tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) have been around several years. The U.S. Government mandated the use of TPMS in all light motor vehicles (less than 10,000 pounds) sold after September 1, 2007. To many of us, the flashing brilliant dash lights and incessant annoying alarms of the TPMS has become a burden, especially when upgrading to larger tire diameters on newer 4x4s or airing down for the trail. With this in mind, why would anyone want to add an aftermarket TPMS to his or her 4x4? We’re glad you asked because the new ARB TPMS kits are extremely versatile and can be adapted for many uses.

We tested the ARB external TPMS sensor kit on several different 4x4s. We also tested it on a trailer, which is an application where we think a product like this is especially helpful. Many of us have unknowingly driven many miles with a low trailer tire or even a blowout. We experimented with the range of the sensors and found they can easily transmit up to 35 feet, which was more than enough for our tow rig and car hauler trailer. They may transmit beyond that as well. Being able to monitor real-time trailer tire pressure is a huge advantage over simply looking in the rearview mirrors for flinging chunks of black rubber.

The ARB TPMS system doesn’t just operate as an on-road safety feature. On a 4x4, you’ll be surprised to find that the trail pressure on your tires can vary significantly during the day depending on vehicle speed, elevation, and ambient air temperature. Compensating for these tire pressure variations when you see them happen will insure that your 4x4 performs and rides as well as possible in the dirt, rocks, mud, sand, and snow.

Installing the ARB external TPMS sensors is easy. Remove the valve stem cap and install the small rubber seal and locknut, leaving enough threads for the sensor.
Each sensor is marked for proper vehicle corner location. The sensor is threaded all the way onto the valve stem. Check for leaks with soapy water. Lock the sensor in place with the nut using the included wrench and flip the dust seal up into place.
The ARB TPMS sensors are obviously a little larger and more delicate than a standard air cap. In some applications, they may stick out too far and could be damaged by trail obstacles. They are better suited on wheels with tucked-in valve stems if you plan to use them off-road.
Each sensor uses a common CR1632-type watch battery and sends a radio signal. The ARB TPMS monitor is powered by and plugs into a 12V cigarette lighter/power outlet. Unlike most factory TPMS systems, the ARB unit can be adjusted for optimal pressure, high pressure, and low pressure. An alarm activates if the tires deviate from the preprogrammed pressures. Also, each tire can be set for a different air pressure if desired or required, such as varying front and rear air pressures to compensate for cargo.
ARB also offers the TPMS kit with traditional internal sensors if you don’t like the simple air cap-style sensors. The internal sensors require the tires to be partially dismounted for installation.



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