Tyre pressures for Ethiopia
Greetings all tyre pressure experts (I know you're out there)!
We have a heavy Landy with BFG A/T tyres. Official tarmac pressures are 48/53 psi, and for dirt roads, two thirds of that. Now, we met some Brits the other day who said they followed local advice to pump their tyres up to 60 psi for the famously jagged roads of Ethiopia, the theory being that they would flick the sharp stones out of the way. They said they got no punctures. However, having suffered two punctures on Namibia's gravel roads at tarmac pressures, we're not so sure... However one thing we do observe with our tyres is that at reduced pressures the sidewalls do bulge, making easy prey for tall jagged rocks.
What should we do? All opinions, informed advice, witticisms welcome.
I went for the opposite approach in my heavily loaded LR in Ethiopia. By dropping the tyre pressures, it meant that there was plenty of give in the tyres so they could partially mould over the stones. A Dutch Landrover we were travelling with went for the approach of keeping their tyres pumped high and suffered far more damage to their tyres. Because of the surface, you will get some increased damage either way but I think allowing the tyres to give a bit is far more effective. Given that most of the stones are hardpacked in to the road, I don't believe it is possible for highly pumped tyres to flick the stones out of the way.
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