Why Air Down For Off-Road Travel?
When traveling off-road you want to have as much traction as possible for climbing obstacles and to make the trip a little more comfortable for yourself and your traveling companions. By airing down your tires you can attain both of these goals in just a few minutes. Find out what tools we recommend to air down your tires in minutes. Follow along.
While it is recommended to drive on the pavement with full tire pressure for safety and gas efficiency, the opposite may be required when rolling down a dirt road. By airing down your tires, you create more surface area to help you traverse large rocks and other obstacles. It also makes the ride much easier and less bumpy.
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A Solution for All Terrains
Airing down your tires is a great solution for your offroad vehicle whether you are driving in mud, snow, sand or rocks. If you are towing a trailer down sandy trails, you may even want to air down its tires as well so it can float better through the sand.
Make sure you know what kind of wheels you are running on your rig before you air down. If you are running beadlocks, you can go down to as low as 3-5 psi. Some people will even run them lower than that. A rig that isn’t equipped with beadlocks can be run as low as about 10-20psi. But remember, the lower you go, the more chance you have of a tire blowing off of a rim. That is not fun when you are miles from home. You have to experiment with your vehicle and the types of trails you run on to see what is best for you and your rig.
One thing you have to remember when on the trail if you air down is that it changes your ride height. Your rig will be lower and may affect the amount of gear and passengers you can take with you.
The easiest way to Air Down your tires!!
We purchased the Boulder Tools Tire Deflators and 80 PSI Tire Pressure Gauge. This kit is simple to use, just set your desired PSI (10 – 65 psi), attach to your tire and walk away as it does the job for you. Once optimal pressure has been achieved, just remove the deflator tools and screw your cap back on. It’s that easy.
Recommended Pressures Non-Beadlock Rims
These are a basic rule of thumb, you have to decide what risks you want to take on how far to air down your rig.
- Dirt: 25-30psi
- Slightly Rocky / Bumpy: 20-25psi
- Very Rocky Terrain: 15-20psi
- Sand: 10psi
Why We Air Down?
- More surface area on the ground = more traction
- Less impact on the trail (less spinning tires)
- Helps to prevent punctures from sharp objects
- Tires conform to obstacles to make it easy to climb
- Makes your rig more stable offroad
When not to air down?
- You need higher clearance to clear an obstacle
- Less carrying capacity for people and cargo
- You do not have a way to air up before getting back on pavement
- Increases strain on your engine
How to Air Back-Up with a Portable Viair Air Compressor
If you do decide to air down on the trail, you will want to make sure you have the ability to air back up to the recommended pressure before hitting the pavement again. This will reduce the chance of a blowout on the way home. You need to remember to keep high pressure for high speeds and low pressure for low speeds offroad.
We use a Viair Portable Air Compressor to air up our tires after a long day on the trails. This compact unit has all the tools you need for changing your tire pressure on the go. It has cables that attach to your battery for ease of use and includes a built-in tire gauge so you don’t have to guess at your pressure.
Here is the Viair in Action:
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