We’re fortunate to have one of the world’s biggest backyards to explore - millions of square kilometers of every kind of terrain imaginable, and only so much time to drive it all!
Fear Of Missing Out (FOMO) can set in, and in between the more gnarly and technical trails it’s easy to want to put the pedal down on the unsealed road to make up a little time and cram some more four-wheeling in while the sun’s still up, but as our experienced Tyre Technical Manager Steve Burke points out, FOMO can lead to one of the most common 4x4 tyre killers.
“We see more tyres killed on unsealed dirt roads than driving more technical trails and it comes down to vehicle speed,” explains Steve. “It’s hard to shove a rock through the centre of a tyre when you’re crawling up a trail at walking pace, but it’s far easier at 80km/h,” he adds.
Another crucial aspect to consider when driving at speed on unsealed roads is reduced visibility. Not only have you got visual stimulus coming at you quicker, but there’s the thin layer of dust covering a dirt road to combat making the terrain harder to assess at speed.
Of course, we’re not saying that technical trails never kill tyres, but thanks to a better ability to identify potential hazards coupled with a far slower vehicle speed whilst winching or crawling up a rock shelf, you’re likely to be far more focused on the task and paying far greater attention to wheel and tyre placement, inherently decreasing the risk of damage to your vehicle or tyres.
TIPS TO EXTEND TYRE LIFE OFF ROAD
Now that we've discussed why high-speed driving on unsealed roads can be detrimental to your 4x4 let's look at three tips to help extend the life of your tyres when venturing off-road:
1, Reduce Your Speed: As mentioned earlier, driving at speeds of 80 km/h or under significantly reduces the risk of tyre damage. Slow down and enjoy the journey, giving yourself ample time to spot and react to potential hazards.
2. Invest in Quality Off-Road Tyres: Equipping your 4x4 with high-quality off-road tyres specifically designed for the terrain you plan to explore can make a world of difference. The Open Country off-road range is diverse, with tyres to suit all types of touring and vehicle set ups. Our Technical Team or your local Toyo Tyres Dealer can help you choose the right pattern for your application.
3. Check Your Pressures: As well as routine maintenance like rotating and balancing, Steve points out that under or over inflation when driving on unsealed roads is a sure fire way to slash your tyre life. “People air down to go on trails on or on to the beach then forget to air up and drive at speed on the unsealed road!”