Tire pressure is an often overlooked facet that can determine your ride quality, as the various characteristics of its settings can have an outsized effect on the rest of the suspension system –– most notably, when riding in the sand. As we all prepare for Sand Season, here are a few Tire Pressure Tips from our friends at Shock Therapy.
Many people assume that when it comes to riding in the sand, the lower the tire pressure the better. That might have been the case back in the early days of UTVs when Rhinos struggled to get to the top of Oldsmobile Hill, but with today’s UTVs topping 200HP, that isn’t the case anymore. Low tire pressure actually comes with more downsides than benefits.
If you watch the drop-test Shock Therapy performed, you can see that just a few more pounds of pressure in the tire (7 vs. 12 psi) can result in a difference of over 2 inches in ground clearance.
That’s why Shock Therapy suggest riding with a minimum of 10 psi in your tires. This 2 inch improvement is huge considering the Can-Am Maverick X3, for example, only comes with 1 inch of ground clearance factory when fully bottomed out. If your tire pressure is too low, your ground clearance will also be lower, and your skid plate will be burying itself in the sand when bottoming out. Plus, the tire’s lower pressure will allow it to act as a spring, requiring more time for the shocks to begin engaging while the tire compresses, and messing with the bump stage. With higher pressure, the shocks are able to engage properly and work as designed.