The Importance of Quality Inflation and Deflation Tools

The Australian adventurer has so many opportunities for exploring new areas and us 4WDers are spoilt for choice. For some of us, we are happy for the short weekend trips away with family and friends. …

Club 4X4 Insurance
Apr 06 2023

The Australian adventurer has so many opportunities for exploring new areas and us 4WDers are spoilt for choice. For some of us, we are happy for the short weekend trips away with family and friends. For others, this just isn’t enough and they are always planning their next big adventure.

Any trip should be planned, even if it’s simply planning how your 4WD investment is set-up so that even for a spontaneous weekend getaway, you have everything you need to keep you out of trouble.

We have just spent a bunch of days photographing for ARB on the glorious Moreton Island. Whilst we were busy with the logistics of a photoshoot, the last thing that I would need is for people in the crew to have a bad experience 4WDing on such an amazing island. Apart from having the potential of messing up our schedules for the planned photography and filming, it could provide a negative experience for individuals less experienced in the group. I am however happy to say that we enjoyed ourselves with nobody in the 5 vehicles getting stuck or having any hassles in the sand.

But we did come across others who were doing it tougher than they should have been. I have a theory, that when it comes to people having troubles in 4WDing situations, being stuck, broken down or maybe just doing it tough, I want to always provide some assistance. It’s easy for me to offer assistance, but it’s up to the individual as to whether they want the help.

Whilst bringing the crew north from the Mi-Cat we came across a group of 4 people standing around their 4X4 wagon and camper trailer bogged down to the side steps in some extremely soft sand, so we stopped to provide some assistance.

After saying hello, my first question was, what tyre pressures are you running? The reply was 18 PSI. So I figured they were not too far from where they should be and I offered to help by performing a recovery to get them around this bend and back along the track so they could enjoy themselves. The recovery went as planned and after a welcomed “thank you”, we sent them on their way north.

Further down the beach, I could see the same crew still doing it tough, and then proceeded to get bogged again. It would have been frustrating enough to have this happen on your own, but with three others in your 4WD relying on you the driver, it would be frustrating indeed.

So this time, I wanted to check on the tyres by suggesting that we took the tyres down to 16 PSI as 2 PSI will make a huge difference. At these low pressures, 2 PSI is equivalent to around an 11% reduction. I grabbed one of our Tyre deflators and checked the first tyre only to discover it was sitting at 24 PSI. Checking the others, we had varying pressures ranging from 22–28 PSI. The weather was overcast and quite cool so its not like hot sand had driven up these pressures, so I checked his gauge and discovered that it was quite inaccurate. We fixed the pressures and recovered the vehicle again but this time assisted the group by towing them further up the beach to an area which I knew would make there time more enjoyable and provide them more confidence.

Last week, we talked about tech in a 4WD, and asked if you can ever have too much of it?

Is Modern 4X4 Tech Too Much?

This week I want to touch on a topic which I believe is so extremely important to keen 4WDers who want hassle free 4WDing. Get yourselves good gear, look after it and it’ll provide you such a better experience, leading to greater confidence and more fun with your 4WD investment.

A simple product like a tyre gauge can be seen as an insignificant tool, but it is so important to assist you in getting things right with your 4WD adventure. Remember, this product that is worth less than $100- is adjusting the tyres which are extremely important to the journey. An incorrect tyre pressure could destroy a tyre worth 100’s of dollars not to mention create a hassle for your 4WDing experience. There are so many versions of tyre deflators on the market that its extremely difficult to know what to buy. What really is right for you?

The same relates to tyre inflation equipment. There are so many products on the market with many potential purposes. Some are really designed to pump up a bike tyre or a soccer ball but whilst they have the capabilities of inflating vehicle tyres, they just don’t have the guarantee they will work effectively on multiple tyres, time and time again.

I have seen this on numerous occasions when well set-up vehicles, has been let down in places like the Simpson Desert, simply because the tyre inflation gear is not fit for purpose. After a huge trip across the desert, they simply couldn’t inflate their tyres at all.

With a 4X4 like a Jimny having quite small tyres, a simple compressor will do the job. But in my eyes, simple doesn’t necessarily mean cheap. It’s worth buying a reputable brand which is serviceable and carries a good warranty.

My recommendation is ARBs single compressor or something from the Bushranger range of compressors. The ARB units are available in a portable carry case, or can be hard mounted in your vehicle for your convenience.

ARB Compressors

In my wife’s Jimny, she has a hard mounted ARB single compressor in the engine bay, utilising purpose designed brackets from the guys at TLR. This system works extremely well and pumps her Jimny tyres up faster than most compressors on the market. TLR make compressor brackets for many popular makes of 4WD. Its worth noting that having your compressor mounted in the engine bay or in some unusable space provides you better use of the cargo space you do have.

TLR Products

If you are running bigger tyres on a touring rig, you might be needing a dual compressor to help you get the job done quicker.

My recommendation after over 4 years of running one in our vehicle and with such good feedback from many people who run them, is the ARB Dual compressor with the 4 litre tank. A great idea is to look at the ARB Dual Portable compressor in the carry case. While it is portable, it has all the gear like braided airlines, wiring loom, pump up kit etc, to allow you to mount it in your vehicle and run it effectively. The dual compressors have a 100% duty cycle which means they can run all day. The tank provides the advantage that as you move the air hose from one tyre to another, the tank will start filling assisting to inflate the next tyre the hose is attached to quicker. These compressors are all made in Victoria by a team of dedicated technicians and each unit is bench tested before packaging. These compressors are rebuildable with parts being readily available throughout Australia.

ARB Compressors

If you are not sure if your tyre gauge is accurate, it might be worth comparing it to friends on the same tyres as a basic calibration. TPMS or Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems are amazing tools to help you see where your gauges are at. After you inflate or deflate your tyres, this product will tell you the individual tyre pressures, which I might add will change as you drive in varying conditions. So you can both monitor the changing pressures of your tyres and also the accuracy of the gauge equipment you are using to adjust the pressures in your tyres.

Whether you are planning to do weekend getaways or a huge trip somewhere, the gear that gets you there needs to be able to help get you back. As tyres are so critical to a 4WD vehicle, having good tyre inflation and deflation equipment might just make your adventure that much better.

I believe that sometimes, you get what you pay for. When it comes to tyre inflation and deflation gear, it really is important to know the products will do the job time and time again, is serviceable and will not let you down… if know what I mean.


-Michael Ellem

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