4WD Tyre Pressure Basics


Why does tyre pressure matter?

Consider your tyres as if they are balloons. A fully inflated balloon is easy to pop with a toothpick, a partly inflated balloon is not. The same applies for your tyres with sharp objects when off-road. Removing just a little air from your tyres adjusts the pressure which helps them flex over objects and avoid punctures or blowouts. Your ride over rough surfaces will also be smoother, causing your vehicle to shake less and placing less pressure on your suspension. Additionally, as you tend to be travelling at slower speeds off-road, max 80km p/h, generally, your tyres have the time to flex with objects rather than be pierced by them.

Lower pressure + lower speed = less likely to experience a blowout.

Additionally, dropping the pressure of a tyre lengthens its ‘footprint’, the surface area from front to back, improving your traction when driving off-road.

What should my tyre pressure be?

The manufacturer of your tyres is the best resource available to provide you with this information. If you can’t find the details for your tyres on their website, we recommend looking for their contact page or sending them a message on Facebook. They should be able to provide you with specific on and off road pressures for your tyres. After all, it is in their best interests to help you avoid a blowout!

PS, you need to know your PSI

Pounds per square inch, or PSI as it is generally referred to, is the standard measure of tyre pressure. Note that PSI is always quantified when a tyre is ‘cold’, i.e., the car has not been driving, as tyres heat up as you drive, and pressure increases as the air inside the tyre heats up.

If you are running your tyre on the correct pressure, you should have a 5psi variance between your tyres when cold and after driving for around 30mins (or once your tyres are hot). If your psi variance is less than this, the pressure in your tyres is probably too high, and visa versa.

General 4WD Tyre Pressure Starting Points

While some are confident adjusting their tyre pressure to very specific conditions, there are two main driving conditions to take into account when it comes to tyre pressure. From there, you can choose to adjust further if the situation really calls for it.

On road tyre pressure:

  • 38 – 42psi.

Off road tyre pressure

  • If driving in high range over rough, stony dirt: 28 – 30psi.
  • If driving in low range over fire trails or rough tracks 20 – 28psi.

Sandy conditions may require you to deflate your tyres further. Starting at around 25psi, reducing your pressure by 5psi until your vehicle stops digging in. Make ure to re-inflate your tyres asap however as low-pressure tyres can detach from the rim. In muddy conditions, for watery mud aim for 20-30psi, and sticky mud 18-20psi.

How to deflate your tyres

We recommend investing in a good-quality tyre-deflator, and following the instructions specific to your model. Whilst you can deflate tyres in less conventional ways, a tyre deflator removes the valve core of a tyre allowing you to adjust the pressure faster, with more precision.

You can then either inflate your tyres again at a service station, or invest in a portable air compressor.

Take this information as a guide only and go awaken the explorer within.

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