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Gravel Road Tire Pressure?

776 Views 4 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  PZ
On a few occasions while camping, I've taken my Variant down dry dirt/gravel roads to get to a hiking trail or something. As many of you know, gravel roads get that washboard thing going on and it feels like it wants to rattle loose every screw in the car. Sometimes speeding up or slowing down helps a bit.

So I was wondering, should I reduce the tire pressure, to say 20 psi, to smooth things out a bit and let the tires absorb more of that vibration? I often take my little 12V air compressor along so re-infalting the tires when I get back to the pavement wouldn't be hard at all.


PS And no, I can't afford a Toureg for this type of thing. :wink:
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Lower tire pressure combined with lower speed should help it settle back down. What speed are you travelling at? I know it doesn't take much and it seems like ice when you do it.
Usually 15-30mph. Sometimes I get impatient or am searching for a smoother speed and will push it up to 40. Some of the unpaved roads in Big Bend National Park are passable with regular passenger cars depending on the conditions (no mud). Many others would be a challenge in high clearance 4WD vehicles. I've only been on a couple of the unpaved roads and wouldn't subject the Passat to anything but the easiest. Even on the easy ones there may be some softball size rocks here or there or some minor rock outcroppings to drive over so anything over 30mph without being familiar with the road is risky. I never scraped bottom with the stock suspension and would just turn around if I came to something I wasn't comfortable trying to drive through.

I would say, keep it same. Though lower tire pressure gives you softer ride, low pressure in tires will be more prone to punctures. More so on unpaved surfaces.
Just don't leave them at 20 for too long. With the extra weight they will heat up fast. I prefer just to speed up on gravel roads. More fun if they are deserted.
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