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  1. #1
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    Default Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I did a bit of searching but I don't see a recent thread with the relevant details so I wanted to ask again.

    For corrugated gravel what tire pressures are recommended for the following 3 tire options.

    - 255/50R20 road biased tires
    - 245/65R17 AT tires
    - Sprite Tourer SP caravan (believe it is a 15" AT tire)

    The vehicles will be loaded but not fully kitted heavy (so passengers and luggage but not extra fuel and water etc.)

    I have seen pressures as low as 1.5 or 1.3 bar being recommended, but is this safe on a lower profile tire and is it safe at speeds of 80 -100 km/h (not while towing)?

    I am weary of a blow out later due to a tire overheating at some point while being run at lower pressures.

    We have all heard of the locals doing some low flying on the gravel roads, not that that would be my intention but it would be nice to get both the car and caravan in one piece at the end of the journey without having to stick to 40km/h.

    Thanks for the advice!


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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I'd start at 1.5bar but I don't recommend going over 80km/h.
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  4. #3
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    This is a loaded question. There is a difference when you deflate your tires ie having driven some km's on a tar road and then deflating your tires or they are cold and then you deflate. On my LC200 I have pressure indicator in the vehicle. Stone cold tires the pressure is 230 as per the manufacturers indication. When driving depending speed that can go as high as 270 (This was in the Northern Cape at daytime tar driving 130km/h 38deg outside temperature). In the Hilux I had the luxury of pressure and temperature which I installed in the rims aftermarket. Also some vehicles seems to work better at certain pressures than others on gravel and sand. Different sand types and different sand temperatures can handle different pressures for the same vehicle.

    What I do for the LC on gravel is deflate a hot tire down to 190 for gravel and 110 for sand. On a recent trip the cold pressure the following morning was 160. Just be aware and get yourself some tire pressure indicators for a display in the vehicle. It is really a good accessory to have. The LC is a heavy vehicle and the monitors will help you understand your vehicle and its pressures better.

    The ARB deflator although maybe expensive works very fast and efficient. Make sure you have a compressor to inflate tires as soon as going back onto tar. Re inflating I go back to 230 as indicated and make sure that tire pressure is where it should be when they are cold after the vehicle has been standing a while.

    Some other tips is to carry extra valves with in case a thread gets damaged and also some complete valves especially if you have non rubber non flexible types installed on your rim like I do on the LC. You might just hit a rock badly on a valve and it breaks as happened to a friend of mine.

    I have in my younger days done 100 and 120km/h on gravel that said good straightish gravel roads. To be honest now a think it was very stupid. I travel on a good gravel road between 60 and 80km/h. Things can really go quickly side ways with tire bursts at high speed.

    If you have 4WD use it.

    Many times I see guys that let down the vehicle tires but not the trailer. Same goes specifically in sand.

    (All pressures in kPa).

    Low profile tires are tires I just don't like for any type of gravel or sand. They are suited for tar imo. No experience so take above with pinch of salt maybe. Others might be better equipped to comment. As this could be a serious safety issue on all vehicles the standard comment from tire dealers would be to keep to the recommended pressures. Hitting some serious potholes at speed with lp's and deflated damage rims. That being said had an Amarok with low profiles in the dunes with us the other day. No tire deflation and it pretty much went everywhere. It was a cool day and it was not loaded at all.

    Deflating tires also lowers ride height. Maybe important or not.

    As SWAMBO continuously reminds me rather safe than sorry drive slower. Rather late than a never arrival.
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  6. #4
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander View Post
    I did a bit of searching but I don't see a recent thread with the relevant details so I wanted to ask again.

    For corrugated gravel what tire pressures are recommended for the following 3 tire options.

    - 255/50R20 road biased tires
    - 245/65R17 AT tires
    - Sprite Tourer SP caravan (believe it is a 15" AT tire)

    ............................

    Thanks for the advice!
    I presume the 255/50/20 are for an audi. My son and I did a rough road trip to Mnyamene falls in transkei a couple of years back in his V12. The same trip was done in his V8 diesel with 18" wheels a few years before. the 18s had a bit more rubber and defaltin them to arround 2bar made a huge difference. with the V12 the computer complains if the tyres are below 2,4 bar, well we did the trip in at 2.4 and shook everything that could be shaken. Comming back we dropped the pressure to 2,2, the lowest it would go before going in to limp mode. Once again that little bit made a huge difference in ride quality, we managed to keep the speed down to 90 or even 80 as the road was badly corrugated and monitored the tyre temps constantly, no issues

    The other 2 you can go down to 1.8, Kgalagadi recommends 1.6 but that is max 50km/h still I would not go above 80 while towing there are just too much that can go sideways. As mentioned before engage 4x4.
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  8. #5
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I can't give you tyre pressure recommendations for those specific sizes.
    But general advice, once you have deflated the tyres, drive for about 20 minutes and check the tyres' temperatures. I do that by hand. If the tyre is hot or very warm, the pressure is too low for the combination of weight & speed.
    A warm tyre is fine, your pressure is still ok for the speed you have been traveling at.
    Repeat that temperature check after another 30 - 40 minutes drive and see whether the temperatures feel the same as before.
    When traveling on gravel roads, I check the tyres this way everytime I stop. Tyre temperature tells you a lot about whether your tyres are ok or not. Easy to identify a slow puncture this way.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Buy and install a tire pressure monitor. It lets you intelligently manage tire pressures because you k ow what the temperatures are doing.

    These things are now so cheap it's just a no-brainer.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I cannot recommend what minimum pressure to run at, but I agree with a previous poster - low profiles don't like dirt roads.

    I do 23km of badly corrugate dirt road that has lots of small, sharp stones on it every time I go somewhere.

    The SWAMBO platkar has 195/55/16's fitted. Recommended cold pressure is 2.4. Just after acquiring it, I fitted 4 new tires and took the pressure down to 1.8. I lost 2 (rear left) tires within 4 weeks, both sidewall cuts - the FWD seems to disturb, loosen or "turn" the stones, which can then damage the rear tires.

    I took the pressure up to 2.2, resigned myself to driving slowly and still have my fillings shaken loose - and haven't lost a tire since.
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  14. #8
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Thanks for the input so far, perhaps I can provide some further clarity. I am asking for two different scenarios actually.

    The Q5 is currently on 265/45R20 which I used for our trip beginning of the year to Gariep and Vanderkloof dams. For fear of a sidewall cut I didn't deflate from my standard road pressure of 260 Kpa all round. Vehicle was loaded but not heavy (2 adults, 2 kids weekend luggage). The car performed very well on medium to good gravel.

    However I reserved myself to the fact that if I wanted to do gravel and potentially bad gravel I will get a second set of rims with AT tires. I have since gotten a set of 17" wheels and will buy some tires as soon as the right deal comes aound.

    The second use case is my dad's Jag F-Pace on 255/50R20, he sometimes tows the Sprite Tourer, but on his last trip they encountered some unexpected gravel and ended up losing a tire and getting some damage on the caravan interior, despite slowing right down. End result is he is worried about using his semi off road caravan and AWD SUV for what they were designed for, gravel... I am quite convinced over inflated tires were at least partially to blame for the trouble, so hence the question for advice.

    In the end safety is paramount, and I am very weary of a high speed blow out due to a tire that overheated at some point in the past.

    So in summary, both vehicles are AWD, the intention is not to speed, but to be able to keep up a decent speed as road conditions allow. I do have a good pump, tire deflators and pressure gauges and I am not afraid to use them 😁


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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    On high profile pickup tires I ride on 1.5 bar for no load and 1.8 bar with some load, higher if the load is heavier. At those pressures I have never had problems with the tires overheating.
    I don't drive cars with low profile tires, so I don't know what would work.

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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander View Post
    Thanks for the input so far, perhaps I can provide some further clarity. I am asking for two different scenarios actually.

    The Q5 is currently on 265/45R20 which I used for our trip beginning of the year to Gariep and Vanderkloof dams. For fear of a sidewall cut I didn't deflate from my standard road pressure of 260 Kpa all round. Vehicle was loaded but not heavy (2 adults, 2 kids weekend luggage). The car performed very well on medium to good gravel.

    However I reserved myself to the fact that if I wanted to do gravel and potentially bad gravel I will get a second set of rims with AT tires. I have since gotten a set of 17" wheels and will buy some tires as soon as the right deal comes aound.

    The second use case is my dad's Jag F-Pace on 255/50R20, he sometimes tows the Sprite Tourer, but on his last trip they encountered some unexpected gravel and ended up losing a tire and getting some damage on the caravan interior, despite slowing right down. End result is he is worried about using his semi off road caravan and AWD SUV for what they were designed for, gravel... I am quite convinced over inflated tires were at least partially to blame for the trouble, so hence the question for advice.

    In the end safety is paramount, and I am very weary of a high speed blow out due to a tire that overheated at some point in the past.

    So in summary, both vehicles are AWD, the intention is not to speed, but to be able to keep up a decent speed as road conditions allow. I do have a good pump, tire deflators and pressure gauges and I am not afraid to use them
    With their standard tyres, I don't think neither your Audi nor your dad's Jaguar were made for bad, corrugated gravel roads.
    I'm not trying to pick an argument with you, but if you look at the tyres available for those vehicles, they usually don't have any sidewall protection. The moment the sidewall on those low profile tyres bulges, it's likely to get in contact with sharp rocks.

    Your plan to get 17" tyres with 65 profile is good, it should make a big difference and allow you to deflate the tyres without them creating too much of a bulge.
    Plus you would probably get more suitable AT tyres in that size with some shoulder protection.

    Do the New Defender AT tyres fit on your Dad's Jaguar? That might help for bad roads.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    There is only one factor at play when you drive especially on corrugated gravel roads and that could be best explained as waves/frequencies (Because you have two wheels on each axle).

    To try and get the best ride comfort on these surfaces depends on two variables you can control (Well, mostly but not exactly) and that is tyre pressures and speed.

    Lowering tyre pressure would improve traction and absorption of unsprung weight.

    You do not want to drive too slow because you want your wheels to travel over the corrugations and not through them (This is where waves/frequencies are created). If you drive too fast there will be a loss of traction and these waves/frequencies, when out of sync with each other, will result in loss of control of the vehicle.

    Therefore, lower your pressures and test it at a certain speed. If the ride comfort is still not where you want it, either increase your speed slightly or lower the pressures a bit more. A vehicle with say 1.3bar pressure will feel more uncomfortable at a speed of 40Km/hr than at 1.5Bar and a speed of 70Km/hr.

    Here comes the problem - If you are towing something you added more wheels that needs to try and sync their waves/frequencies with the other tyres. But, the towed weight will be in a constant tug of war with the towing vehicle (Transmission of waves/frequencies). You can control this a bit by ensuring you accelerate moderately up to cruising speed, keep the cruising speed constant and avoid braking too aggressively.

    On gravel, speed (Not speeding) and tyre pressures goes hand in hand. You cannot have the one without the other.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I think the biggest problem with this issue is that you need to develop experience and a feel for what works for your vehicle. I run my tyres at 1.8bar normally, but a Porsche Cayenne with low profiles will run 2.6-2.8bar.

    My tyres at 1.5bar are very different to a Cayenne tyres at 1.5 bar.

    I usually drop my tyres to 1.5 bar on bad roads, but last week I was quite heavily loaded and dropped to 1.9 bar rear and 1.8 front (from 2.5 and 2.1 respectively) and that worked well for me. This was purely based on the amount of sidewall bulge I was happy with and the speeds I was willing to travel.

    There are no absolutes and you need to experiment and see what works well for your combo, but the answers in this thread provide all you need to know.

    Make sure you have a tyre compressor. Make sure you have a good tyre pressure gauge (or TPMS.) Try different things and see what seems to work.

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  23. #13
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Thanks, I think there is some good info here.

    - Don't deflate too much, an underinflated tire is dangerous.
    - Play with different pressure to get to know your own vehicle and setup better and see what works.
    - There isn't an ultimate answer.

    Low profile tires seem to be the norm these days, with less and less SUV's being available with off road oriented tires. Even on the new Defender the smallest rim size is 18" and that needs to be specced specifically and is only available on the 4 cylinder engine.

    The Q5 can fit 17" over the caliper but just barely, so I am lucky. On the F-pace you may be able to fit an 18" if you have a spacer or enough back spacing other wise it will touch the knuckle before touching the caliper. 17" seems to be out of the question but 19" does fit. Incidentally the F-Pace and Evoque share the same CB and bolt pattern with the Ford Kuga and Focus among other (including some Volvo's and some Peugeot's).

    Does anyone have experience with the Sprite Tourer?


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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Commander View Post
    Low profile tires seem to be the norm these days, with less and less SUV's being available with off road oriented tires. Even on the new Defender the smallest rim size is 18" and that needs to be specced specifically and is only available on the 4 cylinder engine.

    The Q5 can fit 17" over the caliper but just barely, so I am lucky. On the F-pace you may be able to fit an 18" if you have a spacer or enough back spacing other wise it will touch the knuckle before touching the caliper. 17" seems to be out of the question but 19" does fit. Incidentally the F-Pace and Evoque share the same CB and bolt pattern with the Ford Kuga and Focus among other (including some Volvo's and some Peugeot's).

    Does anyone have experience with the Sprite Tourer?
    If your Dad could fit decent AT tyres with a better shoulder protection than what HT tyres have, it might make a big difference. Also, different tyres deflate differently (comparing same size & weight). Some start to bulge at the sidewalls quite quickly, some make a less convex bulge, however the footprint does get a little longer, which is what you want for better grip. With it comes a better ride due to an overall softer tyre.

    For the Sprite Tourer, do you know roughly the weight of the caravan, when packed to travel? For starters, on normal sized 15" AT tyres I would try 1.5 bar. Check what they look like. And check temperatures. Keep in mind that a warm tyre (e.g. driving highway for a while to reach the gravel road) has got around 0.2 bar higher pressure than the same tyre when cold. Therefore, deflate the warm tyre to 1.7 initially and take it from there.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I'm driving a lightweight offroader as a daily. ...sweet spot onthe tyre pressure I'm driving corrugated roads with is 1.3 bar...on i heavier vehicle I'd suggest to experiment with the tyre pressures between 1.5 to 1.8 bar...speed you travel at and weight of vehicle is also important in working out the correct pressures...also try to keep below 80kmph with low pressure tyres..

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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by HugoNotte View Post
    If your Dad could fit decent AT tyres with a better shoulder protection than what HT tyres have, it might make a big difference. Also, different tyres deflate differently (comparing same size & weight). Some start to bulge at the sidewalls quite quickly, some make a less convex bulge, however the footprint does get a little longer, which is what you want for better grip. With it comes a better ride due to an overall softer tyre.

    For the Sprite Tourer, do you know roughly the weight of the caravan, when packed to travel? For starters, on normal sized 15" AT tyres I would try 1.5 bar. Check what they look like. And check temperatures. Keep in mind that a warm tyre (e.g. driving highway for a while to reach the gravel road) has got around 0.2 bar higher pressure than the same tyre when cold. Therefore, deflate the warm tyre to 1.7 initially and take it from there.
    I had a look at the licence disc yesterday and Tarre is 1050 with GVM being 1350 (if I recall correctly). Considering that this is basically divided between 2 wheels (tow ball shouldn't be more than 120Kg) it is probably fairly similar to wheel loading on a SUV that isn't heavy loaded. The 15" At tire would be a help on the caravan though. (If I can just remember I will check tire specs, somehow didn't think of checking while I looked at the licence disc...)

    Caravan tire is 215R15.
    Last edited by Commander; 2021/04/29 at 09:21 AM. Reason: Added tire size


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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Hi

    I'm not a very experienced off-roader, so I may actually be doing things wrong - but I can at least give some practical feedback.
    I got myself a Audi Q5 3.0tdi in December 2018. Part of the reason was to be able to do more gravel roads and get to places a bit more remote (versus previous platkar).

    I also got myself a second set of 17" rims for the Q5 and fitted 235/65R17 Goodyear Wrangler AT tyres. Much more noisy than normal road tyres, but for normal driving their handling and wet-weather habits are fine, no issues thus far.

    I normally run them about 2.2-2.3 bar (cold) for normal road use. Even with a bit of load (2 people & luggage is normal use). They are harder than normal road tyres - and measuring pressure differentials during use this pressure seems fine.
    Heavily loaded I take them up to 2.4 bar (cold) for normal road use.

    I've done quite a bit of gravel road with them - normally the tyres are deflated to around 1.7-1.9 bar (cold). This seems to work very well for me when travelling (2 people & luggage).
    I keep to about 60-80km/h and tyres don't get very hot, handle well. I find they bulge side-ways very little at these pressures.
    Very happy with these tyres so far on gravel roads!

    I've done some light sand driving before at around 1.5 bar (hot) - no issues but not enough experience to really judge.
    Last edited by Boomstomp; 2021/04/28 at 11:18 AM.

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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    I am hesitant to lower pressure to often and to quickly, sidewalls do not last and the risk of a blowout is high. The heavier the vehicle the higher the pressure, to prevent wheel pushed off the rim, etc. Yes go slow if pressure lowered. I drive 80 km/h even with harder wheels. Personal choice. Comes from driving old and worn 4x4. If in doubt keep pressure slightly more than 2 bar and drive slower. Make use of middelmannetjie and side of road, often less corrugated.

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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Johan H View Post
    I am hesitant to lower pressure to often and to quickly, sidewalls do not last and the risk of a blowout is high. The heavier the vehicle the higher the pressure, to prevent wheel pushed off the rim, etc. Yes go slow if pressure lowered. I drive 80 km/h even with harder wheels. Personal choice. Comes from driving old and worn 4x4. If in doubt keep pressure slightly more than 2 bar and drive slower. Make use of middelmannetjie and side of road, often less corrugated.
    That's exactly what causes corrugation and makes it worse.
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    Default Re: Corrugated gravel tire pressure

    Quote Originally Posted by Johan H View Post
    I am hesitant to lower pressure to often and to quickly, sidewalls do not last and the risk of a blowout is high. The heavier the vehicle the higher the pressure, to prevent wheel pushed off the rim, etc. Yes go slow if pressure lowered. I drive 80 km/h even with harder wheels. Personal choice. Comes from driving old and worn 4x4. If in doubt keep pressure slightly more than 2 bar and drive slower. Make use of middelmannetjie and side of road, often less corrugated.
    Not deflating is what causes corrugations and makes them worse.
    I have met a lot of people who don't want to deflate citing sidewall damage and fear of de beading, they usually reference previous experience as the reasons, but on further questioning that usually turns out to be limited experience or even single cases.

    I deflate for gravel roads to prevent tire damage. I drive bad gravel roads every day, I have to drive a bad gravel road for 40km just to get to the paved road nearest to my house.

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