Tire Air Pressure Accessories - Pressure Relief
Air down options
Photography by Fred Williams, Rick Péwé
It's common knowledge that lowering your tire pressure can increase the footprint of your 4x4 and in turn improve traction. But what is the easiest way to air down your tires? If you said .44 Magnum or switchblade, then you are right...but not exactly what we're looking for here. Rather, here are some of the market's best options for helping your muddies sit a little flatter on the bottom and grab at the terrain a bit better. Pick the best for your ride and then release some pressure.
The most basic way to air down your tires is to depress the valve core with a stick or your key, but this takes forever and a day to get a street-pressure tire down to wheeling pressure. If you didn't know it, many tire gauges have a point on the back of the head to allow them to depress the valve core and release air.
The next easiest option is to remove the valve core. The valve core screws into your valve stem and can be unscrewed with a simple valve-core removal tool. We also try to install valve caps with a built-in removal tool on all our 4x4s. Be very careful not to drop the valve stem in the dirt when it comes out with all that air pressure behind it. If you do drop it, simply screw the valve cap back on while you're hunting like a maniac for the core, otherwise your tire will quickly go flat and you'll also be hunting for an air tank or compressor.
A more high-tech version of the valve-core removal tool is the E-Z Deflator tool from Currie Enterprises. This complete unit screws onto your valve stem and then allows you to remove the valve core within the body of the tool. Next you pull up on the slide valve and air is released. Push the slide valve back down and you can check the internal air pressure with the built-in gauge. Then when you're as low as you want to go, simply screw the valve core back in and go wheeling.
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