Did you know that flogging your 4WD along sandy tracks can actually screw up the roads if you don’t let your tyre pressure down?
Whether you’re heading out across the Simpson Desert or driving the Canning Stock Route, not stopping to think about your tyres and what you’re doing can increase the prevalence of corrugated tracks.
Thanks to the power and torque of modern day engines, when driving through sandy regions and through sand dunes, a lot of people just push their foot on the accelerator, spin their wheels and kangaroo hop their way to the top of the dune. However, what they don’t realise is that in doing so, they’re actually doing more harm than good.
Why You Should Lower Your Tyre Pressure
Instead of pressing your foot down to try and force your way through the sand, the best course of action is to lower your tyre pressure. This will make things easier on yourself, your 4WD and the track, and will help ensure no other drivers get cranky with you.
But, why does lowering your tyre pressure help?
Well, the idea behind it is that lowering your tyre pressure will slightly deflate it and increase its contact with the ground, in terms of both length and width. This improves your vehicle’s contact with the earth and allows your tyres to get a better grip, and more stable control when driving through sandy zones.
Some places will recommend measuring the length of the contact area with a ruler, but when you’re on the road, you’ll find that most people just make do with a tyre gauge.
The Most Suitable Tyre Pressures
If you’re on a beach, and you’re not too heavily loaded, a good starting point for your tyre pressure will be around 20psi (140kpa). However, if you’re on a long drive and are fully loaded with 200 litres of fuel, camping gear and enough food and water for three weeks, then a pressure of 25 psi (175kpa) will be more appropriate.
If you’re running with a pressure of 20psi and you get bogged, it’s recommended you drop your pressure down to roughly 17 or 18 psi, rather than just spinning your tyres. You can go lower than that with your tyre’s air pressure, but keep in mind that if you do, you run the risk of flattening your tyre.
So, when you hit the road, make sure you’re always travelling with a tyre pressure gauge, a tyre deflator and an air compressor.
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