We’ve all been guilty of it… airing our tires down with keys, sticks, pens or whatever we can find to shove into the schrader valve of our tires. Heck, I’ve been known to do it a few times myself when I’ve forgot my gauge or valve stem remover.
As we head out to our favorite off road oasis in the deserts of Tucson, we typically find ourselves all stopping at the bottom of the 14 mile washboard road that leads up a mountain to the trailhead. Each time, all of the rigs stop at the bottom and spend 15 minutes or better airing down, to soften the teeth-jarring ride up. All of us have bought the fancy gauges… the ones that you can air down through the gauge, the ones that are backlit for night use and even some that you can air up your tires through. Sure their handy and probably super accurate but they take up space in an already too crowded SUV or 4X4.
We’ve been hearing about automatic tire deflators for some time now and have always wondered, but did little about it because all of us have some type of fancy gauge or gadget that already served the purpose. However, when we attended the ’99 Easter Jeep Safari, The folks at Oasis Off Road Mfg gave us the opportunity to see some in action. They had a nifty little air tank set up and they were showing how they worked. Now being the skeptic that I am, I just couldn’t help but think to myself, “Hmmm, works great on a little air tank in a controlled environment, but how well will they work on a 33 inch tire while driving off camber?” Needless to say, my curiosity got the best of me and we got a set to try out. Follow along as we tell the story of how they work and how well they worked.
Oasis Off Road Mfg are the makers of the original Trailhead Automatic Tire Deflators and they’ve been through many revisions of their auto- deflators before they released their first version to the public. With that said, it should prove to be a unit that functions well. Expecting to only receive 4 deflators, we were pleasantly surprised to get a real leather pouch with 4 deflators, an allen wrench (for adjusting the pressure), a handy sliding air-down chart, a laminated guidebook and even a 1-pound incremented air gauge! Nothing but first class here.
The first thing you’ll need to do when you get your set of auto-deflators is to adjust them to the pressure that you like to run on the trail. We typically run our 33 inch tires at around 8 to 9 p.s.i. on the 4 or 4+ trails. We checked the handy sliding chart for our vehicle weight and tire size and BINGO – 8 p.s.i. recommended! We checked with the included instructions and began making some gross adjustments to get our auto-deflators at an approximate p.s.i. rating by using the supplied allen wrench. We then spent 1/2 hour or so setting all of the deflators to exactly 8 p.s.i. Next item on the agenda, testing phase!
As we headed out to our favorite wheeling spot in the Rincon mountains of Tucson, all stopped to do their regular airing-down ritual. I simply screwed on my 4 deflators and waved goodbye to my friends telling them I’d meet them at the top. About 4 minutes later, all 4 of the auto-deflators had finished doing their job and made for a much more comfortable ride on the washboard road to the top. After we reached the trailhead and were waiting on our friends we decided to make our final test and that was to check each tires pressure. Each tire measured in at 8 p.s.i., give or take a 1/4.
While it’s really convenient to be able to drive while airing down, you should consider two items.
- If you’re on a dusty or muddy road, be careful to not contaminate your auto-deflators. Mud or dirt can hamper the internal valving and make them less accurate the next time you use them.
- You can make your buddies mad if you continually leave them behind!
All in all, Oasis has done a wonderful job of creating a super handy item that will be a great addition to anyone’s glove box. Contact Oasis today and get a set of the auto-deflators for yourself, you won’t regret it!
|Oasis Off Road Mfg.|
|P. O. Box 674
Lake Forest, CA 92630