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What tyre pressures are best for sand Driving?

Setting your tyres to the right pressure for sand can mean the difference between a great day and a nightmare scenario.

It’s a nightmare scenario . . . . you’re out having a great time in your 4WD on some beautiful beach somewhere, driving on the harder wet sand and suddenly it gets a bit soft, then a bit softer . . . you give it some more right foot to try and get back to the hard stuff but, it’s too late!

You’ve ground to a halt and all the accelerator pedal is doing it digging you down deeper.

Time to get out and dig.

But hang on, you’re bogged below the high tide mark which means that at some point in the next 6 hours you’re going to have water lapping at your tyres and once that happens it’s pretty much all over for your car.

And it gets worse because if you’re on a beach then you’re probably not on a road so your insurance is not likely to pay!

So how can you avoid this nightmare scenario that seems to happen all to often?

Complete abstinence from driving below the water line on beaches is the only surefire way to avoid becoming the next Internet sensation but the next best option is to make sure you have your tyre pressures set right for sand.

And by set right, I mean low.

In fact the best all round tyre pressure for sand driving is 16 psi.

By letting your tyres down to 16psi you significantly increase the size of the tyres footprint on the sand so you have the same weight of vehicle spread over about twice as much rubber and therefore half the weight per square inch.

This enables the car to climb up on top of the sand and float on it rather than digging in.

With your tyres this low you need to drive much slower, especially when cornering, because the risk of a tyre coming off the rim is much higher.

But if you take it easy then you should be okay.

If you find yourself in some particularly soft dry sand or wet sand and you’re still struggling to get forward momentum, then before giving it the right foot and digging in deeper, let some more air out.

You can go as low as 6 or 8psi if you need to but only to get you out of the shit – make sure you have your compressor handy and pump them back up to 16psi again when you’re clear and back to road pressure before you head home.

Let your tyres down to 16psi before you hit the sand

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Steve Baile
Steve Baile
I’m the founder of Expedition Australia, a writer, filmmaker & adventure travel junkie. Passionate about my family, health and fitness, hiking, 4WD touring, adventure motorbikes, camping and exploring as much of the planet as I can.

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