How to Air Down Tires for Off Roading
Airing down your tires to off-road with your prized 2020 Ford Superduty Truck with its new Fab Fours bumpers on some surfaces can benefit you in a number of ways.
To gain those advantages, it’s important that you know how to air down tires and are equipped to air back up again when needed.
Follow these great tips on how to air down the right way and you’ll enjoy better traction when you need it without damaging your tires in the process!
Have the Right Tools – Tire Deflator
If you’re planning on airing down and back up while on the trail with your off-road warrior, it’s essential to have the tools you need to accurately air down to hit the trail and air back up again before you head home:
Though there are a few cheater ways to air down your tires using a valve core tool, a Swiss Army knife, and other less traditional items to depress the valve core, this method isn’t very accurate and could leave you with under-inflated or unevenly inflated tires.
Rather than switching on and off with a pressure gauge until you’ve released the right amount of air or risking releasing too much air altogether, get yourself a tire deflator tool.
Designed with a built-in pressure gauge, a deflator tool screws onto the valve stem so you can control how much air you let out and measure to find the correct off-road tire pressure.
Best of all, there’s no air leakage when you apply or remove the deflator, keeping the tire pressure exactly where you want it.
Have the Right Tools – Air Compressor
What airs down must be aired back up or risk some serious damage to your tires if you drive on the road with under-inflated tires.
An air compressor is your best option to re-inflate before you even hit the pavement and head home.
Don’t waste your money on a cheap $30 auxiliary plug-in compressor though, as these often lack the power to inflate your tire back to the recommended PSI for street driving.
Get a powerful portable compressor that has a high CFM rate that runs on a high duty cycle.
A hardwired compressor in your vehicle is another great option if you air down and up a lot.
Know How Much to Deflate
How do you find the correct off-road tire pressure?
Here’s a quick guide on off-road tire pressure recommendations for different uses, although you’ll still have to find the right amount for your vehicle using trial and error:
Reduce PSI by 25% – This setting is great for increasing traction on uneven dirt roads, moderate level trails, as well as washboard and comparable obstacles. It yields a soft enough ride to keep traction on most uneven surfaces without being too soft and slowing you down.
Reduce PSI by 35% – A setting recommended for rock crawling, the softer tire will flex and mold itself around rocks as well as climb slick rocks, as that wider contact patch can better grip the surface.
- Reduce PSI by 50% or More – Best for when you’re driving on sand, mud, and other loose surfaces, a wider, softer tire with its bigger contact patch increases tire float to prevent the tire from digging into the surface as much. Some suggest airing down to as low as 12 to 15 PSI for sand and mud.
Air Back Up Afterward
No matter how much or little you’ve aired down the tires on your modded off-road truck, it’s critical that you air back up before you head home.
Riding with lower air pressure on the trail at slower speeds is great for traction; however, at higher road speeds such pressure could spell disaster for your tires as you’re essentially riding on the sidewalls.
This is the exact reason why it’s recommended that you bring with you a way to air back up.
If you don’t have access to a compressor, take the shortest route possible and drive slowly to a gas station or auto shop where you can re-inflate to the recommended PSI for your tires.
Bottom line – bring a means of inflation with you!
Know How to Air Down the Right Way
Ready to jump into your Ford Super Duty truck with its new winch bumpers, air down those tires, and head to the trails?
As long as you’re prepared with the right gear to monitor your PSI and re-inflate your tires after enjoying the trails, airing down can enhance your off-roading and help you push those limits just a little further.
Safe, successful off-road driving starts with understanding what you’re doing and having the right equipment with you to do it right!