What pressure should my 4x4 tyres be?

From dusty trails to smooth motorways, your 4x4 is equipped to master all surfaces. But off-road driving and heavy vehicle weight can put your tyres at greater risk of pressure changes. The type of tyres installed, the load you’re carrying, and the make and model can all make a difference, too.

Therefore, checking your tyres regularly is imperative to avoid compromising handling at the wheel or even a highly dangerous blowout. Fortunately, checking your tyre pressure is a straightforward process. In this article, we’ll cover all you need to know about 4x4 tyres.

How to find your recommended tyre pressure for 4x4s

Your required pressure type depends on your vehicle's manufacturer and model. You can find the pressure needed by consulting the vehicle manual, which should provide detailed information on recommended tyre pressure. It should also give you recommended pressures for various driving conditions and load ranges.

A sticker should also be on the door of the driver’s side, providing information on recommended tyre pressures. Elsewhere, the fuel filler cap or glove compartment may include tyre pressure details. If all else fails, you could try the vehicle manufacturer’s website. They often provide online resources where you can enter your vehicle's make, model, and year to access the owner's manual or other relevant information.

What can cause tyre pressure to change in 4x4s?

The load, which is the weight your vehicle is carrying, can affect tyre pressure. So, if you’re using your 4x4 to tow caravans or hauling trailers and horse boxes, the added weight could cause your tyres to lose pressure. Driving with passengers can also affect tyre pressure, as the increased weight puts more strain on your wheels. But that’s not all. The following things can also affect tyres pressure:

  • Temperature changes can impact tyre pressure. When it gets warmer, the air inside the tyre expands, increasing the pressure. Conversely, when the temperature drops, the air contracts, leading to a decrease in pressure.
  • Different driving conditions can alter your tyre pressure. Off-road driving, for example, involves driving on uneven surfaces, rocks, or potholes, subjecting your tyres to higher impacts which can cause pressure changes. Similarly, driving on rough or bumpy roads can lead to fluctuations in tyre pressure.
  • Any damage to the tyre, like leaks or punctures, can cause the air to escape and decrease tyre pressure. If you spot a significant drop in tyre pressure or one tyre consistently loses pressure, it may indicate a leak or puncture.
  • Improper tyre inflation, overinflation means the tyre pressure is too high. Underinflation means it's lower than recommended. Either can affect the vehicle's performance, handling, and safety.

To ensure your tyres are safe on the roads, it’s a good idea to routinely check tyre pressure to ensure it’s within the recommended range. Confident your tyres haven’t been exposed to the potential problems above? A word of warning: sometimes you won’t notice tyre pressure changes. Over time, air can gradually permeate through the tyre material, causing a slight decrease in tyre pressure.

What tyre pressure is best for other terrains?

Are you taking your 4x4 off the grid? Then, adjust your tyre pressure to get the best traction and handling possible. Here’s our other recommendations.

Tyre Pressure on Sand

Reducing tyre pressure on sandy surfaces can enhance vehicle performance. Dropping the pressure helps the tyre’s footprint and allows it to “float” on top of the sand, resulting in better traction. Tyre pressure for sand driving can vary, but a common starting point is 15-20 psi (pounds per square inch).

Tyre Pressure on Mud

Don’t get stuck in the mud. Consider dropping your tyre pressure towards 8 psi to combat this tricky terrain. If you’ve gotten around the issue before dropping to 8, reinflate it to near the 20 psi mark.

Tyre Pressure on Snow

When driving on snowy or icy roads, slightly lower tyre pressures can provide a better grip. Lower pressure between 30-35 psi allows the tyre to conform to the surface and increase contact with the road. However, it's important not to lower the pressure excessively, as it can lead to reduced hydroplaning, loss of control, and potential damage. If the snow is particularly thick, consider snow chains. These tools dig into the snow and ice, increasing grip and reducing the chances of slipping and sliding.

How to check and adjust tyre pressure?

We recommend monthly tyre pressure checks in all weather, even if you do little to no driving. As well as using a tyre pressure gauge and reinflating when needed, check the tyres for damage. This will help correct problems before they become troublesome or even dangerous. Explore our simple guide to checking and inflating tyres.

Although you’ll still need to inflate your tyres, fortunately, most modern vehicles have a built-in tyre pressure monitoring system (TPMS) to show you when a tyre is over or underinflated. You can read all about this in our Halfords TPMS guide.

FAQs on 4x4 tyres

Although 4x4s are designed for off-road driving, 80% of their time, on average, is spent on main roads. Visit our dedicated 4x4 tyre page to discover how 4x4 tyre treads differ for varying surfaces.

Yes, larger wheels can wear faster. For one, larger wheels with lower-profile tyres have reduced sidewall flex, which can lead to increased wear as there’s more impact and stress on your tyres. Larger wheels are also heavier due to larger rim sizes and wider tyres, increasing stress on the tyres during acceleration, braking, and cornering, which can accelerate tyre wear.

Finally, larger wheels with shorter sidewalls provide reduced cushioning, offering less protection against road imperfections. Again, this can lead to increased tyre wear. If you think your tyres are worn and need changing, explore our tyre range to find the right fit for your vehicle.

Overinflated tyres are more susceptible to impact damage as they have reduced flexibility. The increased air pressure can make the tyre stiffer, transmitting more force to the tyre structure when driving on uneven surfaces, like potholes and rocky paths. On the other hand, underinflated tyres are more prone to punctures as the lack of air pressure can make them more vulnerable to sharp objects on the road. See how Halfords can help you get back on the road if you get a puncture.