This is the year when you’ll finally take the leap into off-road adventure. Enjoy the thrilling experience by taking good care of your tires before, during, and after your adventure. Here’s what you should know.
Make Wise Choices before Your Adventure
All off-road-vehicle adventures you plan will depend on the reliability and suitability of your tires. If you’ve never picked out off-road or all-terrain tires for your 4×4 vehicle, you need expert assistance to select the correct types and sizes of tires. Your tire professional knows the best tire choices for your vehicle and for the types of ground you plan to cover.
Tires come in many varieties of off-road and all-terrain options to choose from. Some of the tires available include mud tires, mixed use tires, and sand tires.
Tires intended for bogs and muddy areas have wide tread lines with ample spacing in between the tread blocks. This design helps grab surfaces while slinging mud free of the tires. Mud tires on normal roads are loud and bumpy, and the aggressive tread can wear down in a short period of time.
These tires are also known as all-terrain tires. Tire professionals suggest ordering mixed-use tires when you intend to use the 4×4 for everyday driving too. Mixed-use tires have terrain-grabbing tread and generous grooves that shed mud and water. They also have highway patterning to reduce the tire noise and give a smoother ride.
Sand tires are available in a variety of tread designs. Versions available include paddle tires (with and without tread) that feature straight or angled shelves across the tire tread surface. Paddles combined with other tread and displacement features help you rip through dunes and soft surfaces with ease.
Sand tires should never be used as everyday tires. Hard surfaces will degrade the tires, and sand tires do not have the stopping or turning qualities of street tires.
Order tires with a load-range rating of E to ensure your off-road tires will hold up as long as possible. Depending on how often you drive off-road, your tires may wear out far sooner than standard vehicle tires. Ask your tire professionals for tips on how to maintain your specific tire type.
Learn While You Enjoy Your 4×4
Every ride is a learning experience when you’re off-road. Remember that the toughest off-road champs are always learning as they update their vehicles. Follow their lead by learning all you can about how your 4×4 works.
Start out slowly on off-road trails that are not too muddy or remote. Practice navigating your vehicle in safer areas of the dunes or trail to understand how your vehicle handles and responds to your driving methods. In most cases, once you get into tougher terrain, you need to lock your differential to avoid spinning tires and loss of traction on uneven surfaces.
Expert off-racers agree that you should lower the tire pressure to navigate super-sandy conditions. Unless you’re traveling at high speeds, lower tire pressure will allow the tires to soften and grab the sand more reliably.
Some off-roaders are known to take their tires lower than 10 psi in super sticky situations. You may get out of a bind by lowering the air pressure in your tires that low, but you also risk your tires getting so soft and loose that they slip off of their rims.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for inflation and deflation of off-road tires. A few recommended tire pressures for various sand conditions are:
- Sand dunes, beach sand, and sand tracks—between 13 and 18 psi
- Well-traveled and compacted sand—between 20 and 25 psi
- Emergency rescue or response—between 6 and 10 psi
For mud-bogging or muddy off-road areas, lower tire pressure is also advised so that tires can more easily grab the uneven terrain, rocks, and humongous tree roots that get in your way.
Just be aware of the clearances you need to navigate through deep puddles and bogs. Lowering the tire pressure reduces the height of tires, so avoid driving in puddles that are too deep after you deflate the tires.
Treat Your Tires to TLC after the Adventure
When the ride is done, check your tire pressure all around the vehicle. This information can alert you to a leak or another problem with a tire. Check tires for gashes, punctures, and loose lug nuts before heading home.
Once you arrive at the car wash or your own water hose at home, give the tires a thorough wash as you clean the entire 4×4. Scrub extra-dirty tire areas with a tire brush to avoid future rot due to molding soil or other materials. Check air pressure in all-terrain or mixed-use tires the following day to ensure they can carry you safely on the highway.
Trust the experts at Evans Tire & Service Centers to find the right tires for your vehicles. Visit one of our locations or call us today to schedule your next tire or auto service.