- The Washington Times - Friday, January 31, 2003

Proper tire inflation is one of the most important parts of any RV's maintenance program. Tires that run low on air pressure can go flat via blowout, and that can lead to serious highway accidents.
While the portable air compressors available today can help maintain tire pressure for traveling RVers, they often fail when needed most.
The all-new Power Shot systems can provide what may well be the best source of portable tire inflation pressure ever available.
The Power Shot is a product of Advanced Air Systems Inc., and it is an RV accessory that's well worth its cost, which is higher than the average portable 12-volt-DC air compressor.
It consists of a small compressed-gas cylinder topped by a shutoff valve with a fill valve and a quick-disconnect hose fitting.
A handle that doubles as a protective ring shield for the valve is clamped to the neck of the tank. The setup looks much like a scuba diver's air tank.
The difference with the Power Shot is that it doesn't use compressed air to inflate the tires. Instead, the user fills the tank with liquid carbon dioxide, or CO2, which is available at any commercial gas supplier or fire extinguisher service center.
As the CO2 vaporizes, it pressurizes the tank to approximately 150 psi, which is way more than enough to inflate virtually any tow vehicle, trailer or motor home tire in use today.
Using the Power Shot is easy and reliable.
The operator simply cranks open the shutoff valve, attaches the air chuck to the valve stem, observes the tire pressure indicated on the dial gauge readout and inflates the tire to the desired pressure.
Unlike an air compressor, no external power supply is needed and there are no tiny electric motors or pumps to burn out or fail.
There is no level gauge to tell the user how much CO2 remains in the tank.
The manufacturer supplies a small handheld scale, and based on the Power Shot's weight, the user can judge how much CO2 is left. The tank's pressure output remains constant as long as some CO2 is in the tank.
Beyond the basic tank, the equipment setup and air-hose options become a bit complicated.
The Power Shot system starts with the basic PS-10 large size tank, at $289 with a standard coiled hose and air chuck.
Fitted with the optional heavy-duty TIG-60/CO inflator with dial gauge and clip-on air chuck, the additional cost is $45.
The company offers three sizes of tanks small, large and extra large. Each size produces the same pressure and uses the same inflation hardware and accessories, but each tank produces a different volume of pressurized CO2.
The manufacturer supplies charts that detail which tank is a good fit for a specific vehicle application.
In general, the smallest tank is good for standard tow vehicles and trailer, the medium tank can handle the larger light truck and small motor home tires and the largest tank is best suited for large motor home tires.
As an example of the Power Shot's performance, the manufacturer says a large-size system can top off a 22.5-inch motor home tire from 90 to 105 psi as many as 12 to 16 times before needing recharging.
A light-truck tire such as a 235/85R16 can be taken from zero to 80 psi in about three minutes. Although even the smallest tank will pressurize the largest motor home tire successfully, the larger tanks have enough capacity to do so repeatedly.
If you have a larger RV, the bigger tanks are a better idea.
Combined with a puncture-repair kit also available from Advanced Air Systems a Power Tank can enable you to make roadside repairs after modest puncture flats.
For those concerned about placing anything besides air in a tire, CO2 is nontoxic, inert and harmless to a tire's rubber compound. Using CO2 in a tire won't damage it or accelerate its aging process in any way.
For complete information about the Power Shot product line, contact Advanced Air Systems Inc., 2214 Babson Drive, Dept. RH, Elk Grove, Calif. 95758; 916/691-6806, www.powertank.com.
There are a lot of RV accessories competing for your aftermarket buying dollar.
Given the importance of proper tire inflation for safe driving, the Power Shot system may be one of the best and most practical items you'll ever buy for your RV.

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