If you aren’t letting your tyres down when you head off road, its worth reading why tyre pressures are so critical, and getting into the habit of it. How you let your tyres down though, generally comes down to 2 ways; pushing the valve stem in with anything you can find and waiting a long time, or you use a tyre deflator.
There’s a number of different types of tyre deflators, but in essence they all do the same job; release air from your tyres. Some can be done with semi automation, whilst others require complete manual control.
The traditional EZ deflator
ARB started selling their ARB Tyre deflator many moons ago, and there’s a million replicas on the market today. They all work exactly the same (although perhaps not all as reliably/accurately, but that’s another story).
To start, pull the plunger all the way out, and then screw the unit onto your valve stem, ensuring that the cap is removed and its nice and clean. When its tight (but not hugely tight), push the plunger down, and turn it anti clock wise gently, until you feel it drop down a bit further, and bite. This is the valve stem, and turning it anti clockwise will start to unscrew it which allows air to be relieved very quickly. You might find that the plunger wants to pop up, but keep unscrewing.
I find it easiest to have the big brass piece in the up position, and eventually you can let the plunger go, and it should shed air at a rapid pace. To check the pressure, just push the big brass piece down and it will stop releasing air, and you can read the pressure.
The gauge does not work unless its in this position. Check periodically, and when you are happy, push the big brass piece down, then the plunger in, and tighten it clockwise until its snug. Pull the plunger out again, unscrew the deflator and move to the next tyre (after you’ve put the cap on).
This is what we use, as its fast, easy and light weight, and doesn’t require carrying heaps of extra gear.
These are small brass units that you can set a pressure, and lock in position. To use them, you simply remove the cap of your tyre, screw them on and they will let your tyre down to the amount they are set at. A lot of people set these to a beach pressure, and use them only for beach driving.
Its worth checking the pressure each time, as they have a habit of coming loose if they rattle around in your car, and you may end up with 4 different tyre pressures!
Boss and Icheck Deflators
These are an improved version of the Stauns as you can set the pressure using a locking ring, and a little gauge that you can adjust. Simply screw them on at the pressure you want, and they’ll let the tyre down to that pressure.
Again, check the pressure, as I’ve heard a number of people complaining about the Boss ones not being overly consistent (which is the primary reason we haven’t purchased a set, as they look awesome otherwise). The Icheck ones are getting a good reputation, so we’ll see how that goes.
If you want to go down the newest fad, there’s a number of deflators that do two tyres at a time, and basically run a hose to each tyre. If you have two sets, you can do all 4 tyres at the same time, and it works for inflating as well as deflating.
As much as I like the idea of these, they are just too big, bulky and expensive to be considered in our kit, but the instagramers love them! No, seriously, they might be a good bit of kit, but we’re OK with our ARB EZ deflator!