There are certain guidelines that all off-roading enthusiasts must comprehend whether you approach the intricate subject of tyre deflation as a science subject or an art.
Regardless of what 4 x 4 you possess or how extensive is it the list of off-road gadgets, there must be the driving aids such as traction control, terrain response and diff lock which means in the absence of tyre performance or more specifically the traction.
Tyre pressure is most indispensable factor
When it comes to traction the tyre pressure is most indispensable factor besides the tread design. Failure to deflate the tyres to accommodate a specific the terrain will not only reduce a 4 x 4 off-road performance but it will drastically increase the risk of hazard to both the tyres and the environment.
Vehicle type and pressure
The performance increases with the deflation of vehicles tyres that is associated with almost exclusively the increase in tread length and not the tread width as the tyre deflates. In simple words, you want to stretch the tread out in the length and avoid the bulging at the side walls. The tread being the toughest parting of the tyres can be repaired when damages but on the contrary, the sidewall is the weakest and the most defenceless area, it can’t be repaired.
Terrain tyres and pressure
Unfortunately, there is a numerous number of terrain tyres out there but it's not easy to decide which pressure is best for the occasion. The scenario is further complexed by other variables such as vehicle mass (including payload), tyre sise (larger tyres need more deflection) and tyre construction. Moreover, the fluctuation in pressure must be considered a factor that is determined primarily by heat and increasing road temperatures during the day.
Loose surface and tyre pressure
Generally, loose surfaces (such as snow, mud and sand) require a low tyre pressure in comparison to the solid surfaces (such as rocks, gravel and clay). The table on the right provides a rough guide for the adaptation of vehicle's tyre pressure in order to suit with various terrain types but remember that this is just a guideline as it may not take in consideration the diverse variables that are mentioned before on every outing you make.
Tips on deflation
• The manufacturer's recommendation of the tyre pressure is usually accurate for the on-road use. Find the tyre pressure chart inside your vehicle's fuel flap, door recess or in the owner's manual. Mostly the manufacturers recommend 2.2-2.4 for a 4 x 4.
• Make sure you travel with an accurate tyre pressure gauge, heavy-duty compressor and puncture repair kit in your 4 x 4 all the time.
• Always deflate your tyres when driving off-road as it's safer, more comfortable and very less harmful to the environment.
• Never underestimate the impact of a small change in the tyre pressure as it tin drastically improve your vehicles gravel driving performance and road comfort especially over corrugations.
• Regardless of the terrain type, never drive on a deflated tyre at a high speed because this will cause an excessive heat within the tyre along with irreversible damage and eventually tyre failure.
• Never attempt a sharp turn if your tyres are deflated below 1.2 bar. This will exit pressure on the tyre’s side walls and may cause them to de-bead (pop-off the rims).
• Your 4 x 4 rear tyres tin be de deflated slightly more (0.2 bar) then its front tyres because they are not subjected to turns and side-wall pressure.
• Whilst driving over sharp rocks you must stop the deflating your tyres when they start bulging at the sidewalls.
• It is a general rule that you should never go above 0.8 bar whilst driving over rocks on a motorway terrain tyre.
• Rather than squeezing around sharp obstacles always drive over them.
• Be alert, if your deflated tyres take on a bluish tone then it is an indication or underinflation and overheating.
The construction of a tyre
The tyre construction considerably affects its reaction to deflation. Some of the tyres use a robust rubber compound which requires supplementary deflation to achieve the exact same stretched-out result. However, a road-biased motorway terrain tyres with a 2-ply sidewall rating will require lesser deflation than an all-terrain or mud-terrain tyre that is constructed with a 3-ply sidewall.