The biggest mistake that people make when driving on beaches, through sand dunes or just on sand in general is not letting their tyres down correctly. When you drive a four wheel drive on the bitumen the tyre pressures need to be higher because the tyres warm up at high speeds. By not having them pumped up enough they roll around too much and also cause poor handling. However, when you are driving in sand what is most importance is floatation. By letting air out of the tyres, you are increasing the surface area that touches the ground, and thus increasing the flotation.
When a tyre is deflated, it increases in footprint both width ways and length ways. A common misconception is that the width ways increase is what makes a vehicle perform better on sand, which is why so many people go out and buy wider tyres. However, the biggest increase (around 70%) of footprint comes length ways. For the majority of four wheel drives (under 3 tonne), the tyre pressures required on sand should be in between 10 – 18 PSI. The lighter the vehicle, the less air that is required in each tyre. A small vehicle (under 2 tonne) can easily run 12 PSI on the beach without any issues.One thing to remember is the need to carry a compressor and tyre gauge at all times – these are vital components in your 4x4 Accessories.