If you have read our article on tire pressure then you know you need to air down for rough roads, and the Oasis Trailhead Automatic Tire Deflators are my favorite way to do it. They let you simultaneously deflate all four tires quickly and easily to a pressure you have pre-set without the need to monitor them.
It is important to note that you can buy Trailhead Deflators with a range of 5-20 PSI for Light Truck tires or a range of 15-40 PSI for commercial tires. You want the 5-20 PSI range.
To use the deflators you simply remove your valve stem covers and screw the deflators on in their place. You get four deflators in the package, so all four tires are deflating at the same time and you are free to do other tasks such as disconnecting sway-bars, unpacking your recovery kit, or pestering your friends who are hunched over their tires letting air out one tire at a time. You can even drive short distances at low speed while your tires deflate. When the deflators stop you remove them and put your caps back on.
There are also many other options for lowering your tire pressure:
- The option I recommend against is removing your valve stems. Yes it's fast, and lots of people do it, but the time you drop the stem into the dirt and can't find it is also the time you will have forgotten to bring spares.
- The least expensive of the good options is a tire gauge that can lock onto the valve stem and release air when you open a valve. What you don't want is a gauge that forces you to sit there pushing down the valve stem for five minutes to let the air out.
- A popular choice is an air-down tool that removes and captures the valve core. It is faster than the Oasis deflators, but you still have to baby-sit it to get the correct pressure.
- There are similar devices that let the air out but don't have the automatic shut off, so you have to be very careful not to get distracted of you could find yourself with four flat tires.
- Other companies make deflaters similar to the Oasis deflators. I chose the Oasis ones because of their reputation for consistently deflating to the pressure you calibrate them to.
For more information on Oasis Deflators check out their web site.