One of the cheapest and simplest ways to improve your 4x4’s off-road performance is to reduce the air pressure in your tires. When you lower the pounds per square inch (psi) inside your tire, it allows the tire to flex and grip the terrain more effectively. For light-duty wheeling a traditional tire and wheel set can safely be aired down to 12-15 psi. While those air pressure numbers may seem low, on today’s Load Range D and E tires they often barley put a bulge in the tire—especially when mounted under a lightweight rig like a Jeep Wrangler. To get the most performance out of the tire while safely running extremely low air pressures, a beadlock wheel is an excellent upgrade.
A beadlock wheel secures the bead of the tire onto the wheel by clamping it between two surfaces that are bolted together. This allows you to run single-digit air pressure while safely holding the bead in position. Though a beadlock wheel might seem like a complicated animal, it’s actually pretty user friendly, and can even be assembled from the comfort of your own garage.
To show you a few tips and trick on how to assembly a beadlock wheel, we grabbed a set of 37x12.50 Mickey Thompson MTZ tires and mounted them on 17x81⁄2 American Expedition Vehicles (AEV) Pintler beadlock wheels. We’ll be putting this tire and wheel combo to the test under our Ranger project that you can read more about in this issue.