The Ultimate Guide to Caravan Tyre Pressure
Don’t know what tyre pressure your caravan should have? Get essential information and advice with this ultimate guide to caravan tyre pressure.
From ensuring the safety of your caravan on the road to optimising performance, it’s important to have the right tyre pressure for your caravan. In this guide, you’ll get all the information you need about choosing and setting the correct tyre pressure for your caravan.
What is the Correct Tyre Pressure for a Caravan?
The correct tyre pressure for a caravan will depend on the size of your tyres as well as the load you are hauling. Generally, a good tyre pressure should be slightly higher than the minimum recommended. Check with your tyre manufacturer’s guidelines and adjust accordingly depending on the load and terrain that you are driving through. Ensure that the minimum and maximum limits provided on the sidewall of your tyres are observed; otherwise damage to your tyres may occur.
Use The 4PSI Rule
The 4PSI guideline applies to bitumen road use only. As a general rule the following can be used for road use only.
- For passenger tyres, inflate your cold tyres to the recommended tyre pressure on your vehicle’s tyre placard.
- Then, to determine if you have the correct pressure for a given load, you must note the cold pressure reading.
- Drive for at least 20-30 minutes at normal posted speeds to ensure your tyres have reached operating temperature and then check again. Internal tyre pressure rise is dependent on the cavity of volume of the tyre and the tyres heat build-up.
Ideally, your tyre pressure should be about 4 PSI above the cold pressure. If they are not, adjust the pressure accordingly.
If the pressure is more than 4 PSI above the cold pressure, you should add more air. That is because there is too much friction, which builds up more heat than desirable. Conversely, if they are less than 4 PSI above the cold pressure, the cold pressure is too high and you should release air.
6PSI Rule For Light Truck And 4×4 Tyres
For light truck and 4×4 tyres use 6 PSI as a guide. However rough and corrugated roads cause more flexing and your tyres may rise more than the 4 or 6 PSI guide in which case applying this rule is not recommended.
How Do I Check My Tyre Pressure?
To check your caravan tyre pressure, you’ll need a quality tyre pressure gauge. This should not be confused with the least expensive type of gauge which generally only provide accurate readings up to around 30 PSI. The tyre pressure gauge can be inserted into the valve stem and it will provide an accurate reading after a few seconds. You should always check each tyre individually and adjust the pressures accordingly if needed. Remember to also check your spare tyre separately if you have one fitted.
What are the Benefits of Regularly Checking My Tyre Pressure?
Checking your caravan tyre pressure on a regular basis is beneficial in many ways. Properly inflated tyres enable better vehicle handling, improved fuel efficiency, and safer driving as more of the tyre’s tread comes into contact with the road surface. By keeping your tyres at the correct pressure, you help reduce your chances of damage to both the tyre itself and any other parts of your caravan caused by uneven load distribution due to airflow over an incorrectly inflated tyre.
What Should I do if My Tyres are Under-inflated or Over-inflated?
If you find that your tyres are either under-inflated or over-inflated, you should decrease or increase the air pressure accordingly. This can be done using a tyre pressure gauge and an appropriate pump. If your caravan has vastly different tyre pressures, it is always advisable to start by increasing the pressure on both of these tyres until they reach their optimal inflation level.
What Other Precautions Should I Take When Topping up My Caravan Tyres?
It’s always important to take proper precautions when adjusting the air pressure of your caravan tyres. Before starting, ensure that there are no sharp objects in the area as these can puncture the tyre and allow for a rapid loss of air pressure. When inflating tyres, check that you have a secure connection between the pump and the valve stem and avoid overtightening the valves as this can cause damage to them. Always double-check each tyre after inflation and remember to check that all four tyres have similar pressures!
Tyre Pressure Guide For Different Terrains
Sand 18-26 PSI
A lot depends on the depth and coarseness of the sand. Lower pressure increases the size of your tyre’s footprint increasing its ability to stay on top of the sand instead of digging in. Otherwise known as its flotation characteristics. You also need to have enough momentum to stay on top. Higher pressures will be required when carrying heavy loads. Reduce speed appropriate to the depth and type of sand.
Remember that sand can change and be very different in patches. Sand also builds up heat in your tyres because you are running lower pressures for flotation and because of added friction. Keep a close watch on temperature and if they start to get too high pull over and take a break.
High Speed Smooth Gravel Roads 28-32 PSI
If your tyre pressure is too low on this surface you run the risk of sway and bounce. Higher pressures are generally required when carrying heavy loads. When driving corrugated roads reduce your speed as heat can build up quickly.
Slow Speed Rough Gravel Roads 24-28 PSI
Actual required tyre pressure varies dependant upon on how slow, how rough and with what load. Remember that the higher the speed the more heat generated in the tyre according to your load and the type of road surface being travelled. High temperature in the belts of the tyre is not something you can always feel by hand. Higher pressures are generally required when carrying heavy loads.
Slow Speed Rocky Gravel Roads 20-26 PSI
Ever noticed how easily a balloon pops at higher pressures when it hits something? And when the balloon has low pressure it’s harder to damage or pop? The same thing applies to tyres on rocks in most slow speed situations. Sidewall damage needs to be reduced by careful wheel placement.
Assuming that the going is very slow and possibly in low range and not generating a lot of heat in the tyre. You are looking to improve flexibility over obstacles without damaging the tyre. Very low pressures getting down around 18 psi and below can create a risk of pushing the tyre off the bead of the rim. 20 psi is generally an acceptable minimum low-pressure limit for most sizes. Higher pressures are generally required when carrying heavy loads.
Flexibility at low speed is what you want to achieve. Lowering tyre pressures will increase the size of your tyre’s footprint spreading lengthwise along the tyre.