2012 Jeep Wrangler Sport: Airing Down with Staun Tire Deflators
April 8, 2013
Airing down the tires is the first order of business upon arrival at any rocky trailhead such as those found in and around the town of Moab, Utah.
But the average tire gauge doesn't have a dump valve. The slightly nicer dial gauge I own has one, but it's a thumb button that needs to be held down through the entire process.
In the past this made for a long, drawn-out ritual as I walked around our 2012 Jeep Wrangler and set each tire one at a time. Large off-road tires contain more air than you think, and it doesn't drain out near as fast as a compressor can shove it in. It can take minutes to let out 10 to 15 psi — times four.
I vowed this trip would be different. Before I headed to Utah I stopped at my local four-wheel parts warehouse for some Staun "Tyre Deflators," a particularly useful Australian product.
Proper tire deflators make this annoying but necessary task ridiculously easy. Simply remove a valve stem cap and screw one of these on in its place. A loud hissing will abruptly commence, which signifies it is time to move on to the next tire and do the same. In about a minute all four tires will be hissing simultaneously.
Then, one at the time, the hissing will stop as each tire drops to the preset pressure dialed into the spring loaded check valve built into the device. As each one goes quiet, simply unscrew the tire deflator and reinstall the valve stem cap.
That's it. And there's no reason to get out a tire gauge at this point because the tire deflators were previously preset to a pressure of my choosing.
I didn't take pictures of that process, but it's easy. Jeeps owners can use the spare tire because it's right there at a comfortable height, but any tire will do. This job is best done at home before you leave for the trail.
Start by deflating the chosen calibration tire to the desired off-road pressure using a standard tire gauge, preferably one with a thumb-operated dump valve, like mine.
Then you loosen the knurled jam ring (white) on one of the Staun tire deflators before screwing the device onto the tire's valve stem using the fainter knurled surface (green) near the bottom. If hissing starts, tighten the main knurled end (yellow) until it stops. If there is zero hissing, loosen this knob until it juuust starts to leak, then go back the other way until it stops again. Basically, you're looking to find the point where your desired tire pressure matches the trigger threshold in the device.
Once you zero in on it, lock down the skinny jam ring so the calibration doesn't move, then repeat the process three more times on the same tire with the other deflators. Once that's done you can stash the four of them in their little leather pouch until you need to drop your tires pressures for real at the trailhead.
You don't have to do any of this if you're satisfied with the 18-psi threshold the devices are set to at the factory. On the other hand it doesn't hurt to check. One of mine was delivered with a loose jam nut.
The punchline? They cost about $75. But even at that price I didn't hesitate. These work too well and they look like they'll last forever. I can continue to use them on any number of vehicles I may own in the future.
Next, I have to work on my compressor. That air has to be replaced at trail's end, and the inexpensive Black and Decker one I bought at Home Depot is simply too slow (about 7 minutes per tire) when compared to the fancy-pants off-road units I see others using. But those can range into the hundreds. I'm not sure I'm ready to invest that kind of money just yet.
Dan Edmunds, Director of Vehicle Testing @ 30,544 miles