So, you’re cruising down the white sand beaches of Mexico in your truck with a Diesel Turbocharger, and all your buddies are flying by. What’s going on? How come they seem to be floating on the sand while you’re struggling? They have exactly the same vehicle as you, right down to the exact same Diesel Injector. The answer is probably tire pressure.
You may have heard people say that it is good to lower your tire pressure anytime you go off-roading, but might have never known why. You probably don’t want to ask, because not knowing something about off-roading would make you seem unmanly. Well, no need to wonder anymore, because I am about to tell you. The answer is a simple one word solution, FOOTPRINT. Just think of a camel. Those things have bigger feet than Shaq, and Mother Nature gave the camel those aircraft carriers for a reason. The bigger the foot, the larger the area to distribute the weight of the camel, which keeps the camel on top of the sand instead of sinking into it.
When you let air out of you tires it increases the size of your cars footprint. More of your tire touches the sand. When you do this you may think that more of the tire touches in width just by looking at it, but it actually increases the length of the footprint. With this increased length your friends will no longer be leaving you in the dust… or should I say sand?
Driving in the sand is not the only time when lowering your tire pressure optimizes your ride. Anytime you are off-road it will help, especially bumpy or rocky roads. When you go over a rock, a fully inflated tire has to climb it. Even a small rock can cause the car to think it’s about to go up a steep hill. Just driving over a 2x4 piece of wood creates the same increase in angle as a hill with a 30 degree incline. When you lower your tire pressure the tire doesn’t climb the rock or piece of wood, it engulfs it. Your car stays flat on the road while your tire eats up the rock and spits it out the back.
Remember when you get back on a hard surface to reflate your tires. Tires with low pressure easily bend and break wheels, and driving too fast could overheat your tires. The lower your pressures are set the lower the speed you should drive.