Adjusting your tyre pressure for your 4WD to suit different terrains.
Enjoy a smoother ride and save wear & tear on your 4WD’s tyres by applying the right pressures
As seasoned campers we know how important it is for your vehicle to have the correct tyre pressures for the different terrains that you venture on.
The importance of using correct tyre pressures
Having the correct tyre pressure is like the human body’s blood pressure. If it’s not correct then your body does not function properly. Incorrect tyre pressure can raise a multitude of issues whenever you are off road. Issues can be minor such as getting bogged down to the axles to anything like rolling a tyre off the rim that may cause your vehicle to roll onto its lid (roof). Now that could spoil your weekend.
Here are a few tips you can follow in order to have the correct tyre pressure to get you through the different terrains you might encounter. Please note suggested pressures are a guide only, and you should consult your vehicle manual to ensure you have the right pressure. This can change if you have larger aftermarket tyres.
What 4×4 tyre pressures to run off road
Tyre pressure is one of the most commonly asked questions when out with a new group or in a new situation. There is no hard and fast rule as everyone has different vehicles, with different tyres that carry different weights.
If you are driving on severe corrugations, it is recommended you drop approximately 25% of your normal tyre pressure. It’s also important to always be aware of the road conditions. Is it hard jibber type rocks, wood stake countryside, hard gravel or soft sand?
Look at your tyre on the ground. If your vehicle is fully loaded with extra fuel and all your gear for a long trip, you may start with extra pressure in your tyres, so by applying the percentage rather than a specific pressure you should cover yourself. The same applies to sand driving, except it is about 50% that you will let out at first. This will give you a bigger footprint on the ground therefore decreasing the pressure on the rough terrain and increasing traction. It is amazing what a difference 2 – 3 pounds can make in the soft stuff.
Low Tyre Pressure Running Off road
Never go to your extreme minimum straight off as it will leave you a bit of breathing space if you get stuck or struggle. Unless you are running bead locks, you will be making your tyres susceptible to being spun off its rims when the pressure is too low.
So when your pressure is low, drop your speed and try not to turn as severely to eliminate the risk of this happening. Remember to pump them back up when you are back on the hard stuff because tyres heat up at speed if the pressure is too low, and can cause excessive wear.
Tyre Pressure Equipment
There are a couple of pieces of equipment to assist you in setting the right pressure.
Tyre deflating devices such as Stauns are handy for quick clean deflation, so as you can get uniform pressure in all tyres (if set correctly) which is important for traction as varying pressures in each tyre can cause a lack of traction.
- Pressure Gauges
An accurate pressure gauge. Don’t buy the cheapest around, but also no need to buy the most expensive. You will not be guaranteed of setting the correct pressure with these. Buy quality. Be aware that the gauges attached to your compressor hoses are usually inaccurate and will be when the air compressor is working.
There are a number of compressors on the market, some are portable and others are permanently mounted. It is not all about speed, it is about reliability and knowing that wherever you are it will work. One important thing, if you are travelling remotely you must make sure that your compressor will pop the bead on the rim.
To finish up you, must tailer your driving to the prevailing conditions. It’s not a race, and it’s more important to arrive home safely, as you’ll need your vehicle for work, and new tyres don’t come cheap.
Still not sure? Contact the experts for all you need to know about tyres and tyre pressure for your 4WD.