What are the best tyre pressures for different terrain?

Submitted: Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 09:58
ThreadID: 104894 Views:3085 Replies:9 FollowUps:8
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As we wait for delivery of our new Land Cruiser and prepare for two weeks in Tassie, followed (after a few months) by 7 weeks in the Kimberley, I hope some of you experienced off roaders can give me some advice on tyre pressures for different terrains.

What are the best pressures for:

dirt road
corrugations (best tyre pressure and best speed?)
rocky trail

Thanks for your help!

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Reply By: Robin Miller - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:58

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 10:58
Some idea of expected load, tyre size and type of tyre would help answers Oz Bad Dude.
Robin Miller

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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:27

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:27
Yes, I should have mentioned that. We have a Land Cruiser with 6 people plus roof rack, and trailer with GVM of 1800.
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Reply By: Dennis Ellery - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:24

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:24
Go to your local Coopers dealer and they will give you a handout showing tyre pressures for various terrains.
It a good general guide but is only a starting point. You will vary these pressures to suit your circumstances, as you gain more experience.
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Reply By: Mick O - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:55

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:55
You'll find a wealth of information here;


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trip would doubtless be attended with much hardship.''
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Reply By: Member - John and Val - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:56

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 11:56
Have you done a search on "tyre pressures" using the red search button in the top RH corner of this page? If you do, have a look at the multitude of forum posts that have already covered this topic in great detail.

There is no one correct answer or method, and you need to be prepared to do some experimentation, adjusting your pressures to suit your rig, your driving style and driving conditions. After a while you will gain experience and you will more easily be able to work out what suits your situation. Just remember that lower pressures require lower speeds.

Mind you , there are still some who swear that higher pressures are "better" in that they may result in fewer stakings etc. However if you are a responsible driver you will be thinking not just about your own comfort and convenience but about the impact you and your vehicle has, especially on outback tracks. Lower pressures are generally considered to cause less damage, especially over dunes.



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Reply By: olcoolone - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 22:11

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 22:11
This is going to be a long thread....

I have started something a bit different and started running higher pressures than I once did.

We have Copper ST Maxx's on our 200 series that weighs in at just under 3800kg, the tyres have done 11,000k with about 7,000k off road at high speed, we have run the tyre pressure at 42 front 46 rear and have had no problems, the lugs are still square with no signs of chipping.

I have a few friend who have adopted the same theory including one who has done a 9,000k trip through the Kimberlys with no tyre damage or abnormal wear.

The way I look at it is tyre design and development has come a long way over the years but people still think old tyre design and pressure...... a tyre at low pressure turns into an uncontrolled spring causing the tyre to flex more and the suspension that is meant to be working on the vehicle to not work correctly.

I don't see much difference in good fast dirt roads and second grade sealed roads...... nobody drops their pressure for bad sealed roads.

My other thought is after speaking to a lot of large transport companies who mostly run the dirt and mining people none of them ever drops their tyres pressures when running dirt and we are talking trucks weighing up to 120 tons sitting on 80 - 100 Kph.

Real rocky stuff we drop to 25-30, sand anywhere down to 26 and mud ????

I have better thing to do than worry about tyre pressures and the 4 psi run.....LOL

For now I will stay with my higher pressures and see how that goes.

AnswerID: 520547

Follow Up By: Off-track - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 23:09

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 23:09
Agree 100% and has worked for me and many sets of BFG's. A load of malarkey the way a lot of city people bang on about pressures, often in what appears to make out they have the secret formula.
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 06:21

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 06:21
I won't say what pressures I run in this post so that I can make a point.

However they must be correct because we haven't had a flat tyre on the 4WD yet.

And that is a fact. Not one flat in the 4WD. And as far as the house car is concerned the last one was in 1969 at Oran Park in my girlfriends (now wife) Mini.

So is it tyre pressures, driver skill or just plain old lady luck? I think that the jury will be out for decades on it.

FollowupID: 801018

Follow Up By: Mazdave - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 08:49

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 08:49
Agree with you Olcoolone, There is a lot of opinion and chest beating about tyre pressures. I would take the manufacturers recommendations as a guide and use common sense. Obviously there is a need to drop pressures in sandy and muddy terrain, not so much for the longevity of the tyres but for the ability to transverse the territory in a safe and timely manner. I keep my tyre pressure on gravel and outback roads the same as on the bitumen. I once asked a guy at Innaminka Trading Post, what pressure he runs in his tyres, and he replied, he was a truck driver who had driven his truck on outback roads for 25 years and all he worried about was having his sidewalls straight. Another vote for Keep it Simple Stupid!
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Follow Up By: Member - OzBadDude - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:34

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:34
What about rocky tracks of a series of steps?
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Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:37

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 09:37
Who are you asking mate?

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Follow Up By: olcoolone - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 16:02

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 16:02
QUOTE"What about rocky tracks of a series of steps?"

Depends how rocky and for how long, if we are going to be driving in rocky stuff for a while we'll drop down to 28-30 maybe.....

Series of steps aging depending on severity, the only time we'll drop our pressures on something like that is if we have difficulty in traction.

Rocky and steps are no different to driving on the road, do you stop and lower tyre pressures everytime you drive up a curb or driveway...... step ups are just a series of curbs and should be treated the same.

The only time I'll drop pressures is if traction becomes a problem, it saves ripping lugs of tyres and digging yourself out with a shovel.

Forget environmental impact.... if your going to dig big holes; then there is a concern but the environmental impact in most cases only last until the next lot of rain or wind and then the track is back to what it was before or worse due to the wind and rain.

4wd environmental impact whilst driving is like the term "wasting water", there is no such thing as wasting water as it eventually gets recycled..... it's not a commodity that once used will never be returned. 4wd environmental impact and wasting water must of been dreamt up by the same bureaucrats or his brother.

FollowupID: 801058

Reply By: The Bantam - Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 23:03

Monday, Oct 28, 2013 at 23:03
Tyre pressures vary depending on the tyre size & type and the load being carried.

The first thing you need to do is get a load V pressure table or graph for the tyres you have.

Then weigh the vehicle in the condition that it travels in.

From the load V pressure tables you will then have the minimum cold inflation pressure for highway speed driving.

That is your starting point.

Remember you may have a different load front and back and thus different pressures front and back.

Remember too that if you reduce your tyre pressures you have to reduce your speed.

There is a great deal of misunderstanding, hokus pokus and mumbojumbo arround about tyre pressures.

You must start with the correct highway speed, minimum cold inflation pressure for the load carried.

Unless the other person is running the same tyres ( size and type) with the same load AND doing the same things, what they run may have nothing to do with what you should be running.

If you are traveling faster than 80Kmh, you should be running highway pressures.

AnswerID: 520551

Reply By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 06:58

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 06:58
You have to be flexible with your pressures.

Some dirt roads like the Gibb, Oodnadatta, Strez, Birdsville etc are safe at 30 all round. But when maintenance hasn't been done for a while it may be better at 20/25.

For all our trips into the high country we start with 20/25. A few times we went to 15/15 to get up, or down, some steepish or slippery tracks. But generally it has been 20/25. And then if the weather is fine and the tracks dry it is 25/25.

Sand and mud: No particular setting as we don't generally go playing in mud, driving on beaches or sand dunes unless they are a part of the track. Like the Simpson and Canning. But if I had to do some it could even be 15/15. And all at a slow controllable speed. Never rushed.

This is for our car which is an auto 4.2TD. It can be quite heavy (3.5T) for a month in remote areas or relatively light for a weekend trip. That can also dictate a change, up or down, in the pressures given above.

The Coopers Tyres booklet is a good starting point.

AnswerID: 520557

Follow Up By: Member - PJR (NSW) - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:25

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 10:25
To OzBadDude

For "rocky tracks of a series of steps": Anywhere from 20/25 down to 15/15 or there abouts. That is what we mean by being flexible.

Never gone lower than 15/15.

FollowupID: 801037

Reply By: mikehzz - Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 19:51

Tuesday, Oct 29, 2013 at 19:51
I like comfort and safe handling. If the car is rattling around and I'm feeling every bump then I let a few pounds out. If it feels a bit spongey and the handling is a bit indirect then I put a few pounds in. On sand, I keep letting air out until the car feels right for how the sand is on that day. The actual numbers for psi are different for all conditions, how much I'm carrying and what car I'm driving. My starting point is the manufacturers recommended. If anyone gives you a number it means it's good for their car, tyres and driving style..it could mean twat to you. I have always found that if the car is comfortable and in control, then there is less stress on all it's components even the driver.
PS, Tyres with air in them are an integral part of a car's suspension and shock absorbtion system. If not, we would still just have solid rubber tyres like the old days. I still remember my first pump up scooter...it was heaven. :-)
AnswerID: 520589

Reply By: Member - OzBadDude - Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 13:29

Wednesday, Oct 30, 2013 at 13:29
Thanks everyone for your feedback. If I take anything away from these varied responses, it's that only experience will show me what works for me. There's no consensus on a standard approach.

I'll try both the soft approach and the firm approach and find my happy place! :)

AnswerID: 520622

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