Tyre pressure for 4X4s and SUVs

01/10/2019

Tyres are often overlooked when car maintenance is brought up, and yet they are one of the most critical safety components on your car. After all, tech anti lock brakes and electronic stability aids will not function correctly if the tyres have been neglected and are in poor condition.

In this article we will have a look at tyres in general and how tyre pressure plays an important part in how they function, with a focus on off-roading.

large all terrain tyre mounted on wheel balancing machine

School is about to head back for the last term of the year and hopefully you’re feeling well rested after some time off with the kids. When heading back to work, public transport isn’t a viable option for all of us. In this article we’re going to look at a few ways you can save money commuting to work if a car is your primary mode of transport.

What tyre pressures should I be running?

Your vehicle manufacturer will have provided information on the recommended tyre pressure for your vehicle (tyre placards are inside the drivers door jamb or in the user manual) for the sizes that came factory equipped on your vehicle. Tyre pressures should ideally be checked once a month with a readily available tyre gauge. An accurate gauge can be purchased for a reasonable price from most automotive stores and are small enough to be kept in the glove box.

What if your 4X4 is running non standard wheels or a performance aftermarket tire? In this instance, the manufacturer’s recommendations might not be accurate for the set up that you’re running. While it is almost impossible to give a numerical recommendation for a benchmark pressure that you should be running, we’ll go over a few things which are important to look out for.

When should I change my tyre pressures?

Every tyre has a recommended pressure range where it will function best. This pressure will be different depending on the terrain being driven over.

off-road vehicle driving through red mud

When taking your vehicle onto rocky trails, through mud and across obstacles it is generally recommended to lower pressures a little to allow tyres such as All Terrains (AT) and Mud Terrains (MT) to wrap and ‘bite’ onto rocks and ground features to provide traction.

When off-roading at slower speeds, drivers can take advantage of the tyre ballooning out to spread the vehicles weight over a larger surface. This is useful when driving on sand and other soft terrain. However, having the pressure too low can result in the tyre rolling off the bead of the rim. For sand driving, pressures set around 16-20psi can be common. Be sure to pack and air compressor to fill your tyres back up before returning to the tarmac as well as recovery gear. Low tyre pressure doesn’t make your 4x4 infallible off-road.

4X4 driving along a smooth beach

For highway driving, having pressures too low will result in a soft but wallowy ride. The tyre will absorb more bumps and road undulations however the tyre will overheat at higher speeds causing complete tyre failure.

If low pressure is bad, high tyre pressures must be good right?

Having too high pressure in your tyres can cause issues too. High pressures will improve steering response however, they are more susceptible to blow outs, can create a harsh ride and wear quickly. Overfilling tyres will improve fuel economy but will reduce the contact patch on the road, reducing grip dramatically.

Get in touch with a qualified technician.

Tyre Zone Capalaba is your number one fitment centre in Redlands, east of Brisbane. We offer a wide range of services and are experts in tyre fitment. If you are considering upsizing your vehicle’s tyres, come into our store or call today on (07) 3245 6125 for expert advice.



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