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Infrared thermometer measurements

by Tom Jones

An infrared thermometer pointed at individual tires during a rest stop can provide some warning of a problem such as low tire pressure.

Tires will heat up while driving and will be at a significantly higher temperature than when they've been sitting overnight. Several factors will affect the individual temperature readings, so the absolute values are of less significance than the existence of anomalies.

Taking temperature measurements at each stop will allow you to develop a baseline of what's "normal" for your tires. You can then easily spot readings that differ significantly from the baseline numbers. At any given time, expect to find a significant difference between front & back tires and also between inside/outside tires mounted as duals. Also expect higher temperatures on the sunny side vs the shady side of the RV.

An IR thermometer is not a replacement for a real-time tire pressure monitoring system such as PressurePro, but it can help spot potential or developing problems before it's too late.

RV Forum staffer Karl Kolbus reminds us that temperature measurements can also provide a warning of dragging brakes and/or wheel bearings in need of lubrication or service. This is done by measuring the temperature of the wheel near the center hub, or the rotor itself if you can get a clear aim at it. Also useful for diagnosing belt slippage or accessory (alternator, a/c pump, water pump, p/s pump etc.) bearing problems.