Why Install Metal Valve Stems on Trailer Wheels?

I wish I could remember the name of our neighbor at FOY who suggested it is best to install metal valve stems on trailer wheels. If you’re still reading this blog, thank you! He also has an Arctic Fox trailer. He showed me photos of what he did to prevent damage of the stock valve stems on his trailer wheels. And, upon closer inspection, I discovered our rubber valve stems were also getting pretty beaten up. This was likely due to the TPMS valve caps we installed. And we finally replaced the rubber valves with metal stems for our trailer wheels.

rubber valve stem
Stock valve stem with aftermarket TPMS cap.

Why You Need Metal Valve Stems on Trailer Wheels

A Tire Pressure Monitoring System is a must-have for all full-time RVers. Simply compare the damage done due to a flat tire with and without a TPMS. However, the stock rubber valve stems on most trailer wheels cannot handle the additional weight of the sensor caps. See what happens in these first photos. Centrifugal force causes instability of the stem while in motion at high speeds. This can damage the TPMS caps, mar the rims, and weaken the valve stems.

damaged tpms sensor cap
TPMS sensor cap damage due to rubber valve stems.

Our rubber valve stems were clearly allowing the caps to flop around at high speeds. Abrasion from the TPMS caps hitting the wheels could have permanently damaged both the sensors and the rims. We do have small permanent grooves on a couple wheels. But fortunately, we installed metal valve stems on trailer wheels before the damage got any worse.

Rubber valve stems will weaken, crack, and develop slow leaks from the persistent wobble caused at high speeds. Metal valve stems on trailer wheels prevent this motion from occurring. When attached to metal valve stems, the TPMS sensor cap will remain stationary, at any speed.

metal valve stem
Sturdy metal valve stems prevent TPMS damage.

We installed metal valve stems on our truck tires first. We finally go around to installing them on our trailer. I am much more confident now that our valve stems and TPMS caps are no longer prone to damage. And, we are safer now from the potential for a blowout caused by a broken valve stem.

So, where to get metal valve stems for trailer wheels?

Not all tire shops stock tires, valve stems, and supplies for RVs and trailers. You may need to find a heavy duty truck shop that services tractor-trailer rigs. Better yet, purchase your own valve stems. I found metal valve stems on Amazon that fit our trailer and truck. You can then take them to be installed at any tire shop. That’s what we did.

metal valve stems
Protect you TPMS with metal valve stems.

Or, you could do a DIY job and replace the valve stems yourself. Personally, I don’t recommend following instructions that simply say, “Pull the old valve stem out and put the new valve stem in.” I also recommend having the tires balanced with the TPMS caps on to ensure proper weigthing. With the added wight of the TPMS and metal valve stem, that just makes sense.

What size valve stem for trailer wheels?

But how do you know what size metal valve stems to get for your truck or trailer? Do your homework. I found a couple discussions that confirmed .453″ metal valve stems were the right size for our truck and trailer wheels.

Cummins Forum: Valve Stem Replacement

Turbo Diesel Register: Tire Valve Stem Diameter? 

I purchased these CKAuto Metal Valve Stems because they fit both .453″ & .625″ rim holes, common to most light duty trucks and trailer wheels.

metal valve stems
CKAuto metal valve stems fit two rim hole sizes.

Do you have a TPMS for your RV or truck and trailer? If not I highly recommend you get a Tire Pressure Monitoring System. Get the Tire-SafeGuard system now, or read why here. If so, have you installed metal valve stems on trailer wheels yet? To protect your TPMS and wheels, don’t delay. Confirm your size and get metal valve stems here to prevent further damage.

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