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Old 06-11-2015, 12:02 PM
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Airing Down: How Much?

I have a 2015 WK2 Limited with the 18" wheels and stock Michelin tires. I live in the south west where there are miles and miles of dirt roads with bad wash board sections. I've heard that reducing the air pressure in the tires will soften the ride ove thes sections. Just bought a portable compressor so I'm able to inflate the tires after airing down.

My question: Knowing that these Michelins aren't serious off road tires, how much can I air down without doing damage to the tires?

Thanks!

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Old 06-11-2015, 12:08 PM
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Re: Airing Down: How Much?

For conditions you describe I would NOT air down, just drive slowly. Airing down in those conditions increases the risk of sidewall being cut by rocks and possibly tire bead coming off wheel. Airing down is suggested by some people (but not some experts) for beach driving as it increases the footprint aiding in tire floatation.
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Old 06-11-2015, 12:58 PM
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Re: Airing Down: How Much?

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Originally Posted by AAAA View Post
For conditions you describe I would NOT air down, just drive slowly. Airing down in those conditions increases the risk of sidewall being cut by rocks and possibly tire bead coming off wheel. Airing down is suggested by some people (but not some experts) for beach driving as it increases the footprint aiding in tire floatation.

(YMMV as mine does) It does depend on how fast you plan to drive. For washboard gravel roads, if you keep your speed under 35mph you can safely air down to 18-22psi without worried risk of popping a bead or cutting a sidewall.

It will definitely soften the ride as well as help you maintain control around corners rather than having your fully inflated tires bounce on the washboard and causing fish tailing of your rearend.

When I'm running actual trails in my JGC I run 12-18psi truly flexing my side walls and have no concerns about popping a bead or cutting my sidewalls while driving up, over or through rocks and boulders, but I do have 32" Duratracs.

When I wheel my JKU I air down my 37" BFGs to 8-12psi.

Do what you feel comfortable with, but unless you directly hit a hole or a large rock/boulder, you shouldn't pop a bead or cut your sidewall.

Enjoy your Jeep off the beaten path that's what they're made for!


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Old 06-11-2015, 02:30 PM
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Re: Airing Down: How Much?

Yes, you generally air-down in rocky conditions for two reasons - first, it allows the tire to flex and wrap around rocks so the tread can get a more complete hold on to small edges. Second, lower air pressure means lower chance of a puncture. But yes, you expose your sidewalls to potential damage, but that is why good tires have thicker sidewalls often with deep treads that wrap around all sides.
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Old 06-11-2015, 04:41 PM
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Re: Airing Down: How Much?

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Originally Posted by hayasa View Post
Yes, you generally air-down in rocky conditions for two reasons - first, it allows the tire to flex and wrap around rocks so the tread can get a more complete hold on to small edges. Second, lower air pressure means lower chance of a puncture. But yes, you expose your sidewalls to potential damage, but that is why good tires have thicker sidewalls often with deep treads that wrap around all sides.
I only mentioned it because I did put a rock through my sidewall while slowly coming down a mountain in VT several years ago.
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