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We’ve all heard of people talking about deflating their tires when going off-road, but not many are aware as to why it is an essential step before entering the powder soft sands of the UAE. In the third instalment of Ford’s Desert Driving Tips, Ford’s in-house experts highlight the steps one must follow before venturing into the sand over the long weekend.
New drivers may not be aware of the important of deflating their tires before entering the sand, or how easy it is to drive in the sand once the tire pressures have been reduced considerably. As the tire pressure reduces, the tire flattens out, creating a larger contact path with the sand and spreads the weight of the vehicle over a larger area preventing the vehicle from digging itself into the sand.
“You really need to deflate so that your vehicle ‘floats’ on the sand,” said Mike Chavez, series co-host and Ford Middle East Product Development Lead Technologist. “A softer tire molds to the shape of the sand rather than cutting through it like a knife. When you cut through like a knife, you’re just going to get stuck. You want to float on top like you’re driving on a cloud.”
While there are numerous ways and tools to deflate one’s tires, the fastest way is to carefully remove the Schrader valve until the desired pressure has been reached. For most occasions, keeping pressures between 15-18 PSI is advisable as anything will prevent the car from floating on the sand and anything lower could lead the tire coming off the rim upon hard impact.
“You only really want to go down that far because if you deflate any further, you may end up damaging a rim or debeading a tire [rolling the tire off the rim],” Chavez explained.
“This also allows you to deflate a little more if you need to – say if you get stuck, you can go down to 10PSI, or even 5PSI, to help get yourself out of the sand. Once you do that, you’ll want to re-inflate again to 15-18PSI so that you mitigate any possibility of damaging a rim or tire.”