tire safety

The #1 trouble back country travelers encounter is tire failure. In 80% of all cases it is the right rear tire. Reason for that is that the right rear is the farthest away from the driver and its position is most often misjudged. As a side note: 85% of the failing tires on Ford Explorers were right rear tires.

The picture above shows the most common problem for dirt road travelers - rocks sticking out of the ground. Notice the entirely blackened left side of the rock - blackened by tires hitting and grazing it. Hit by right tires - as you may have noticed. An off center hit will most definitely destroy your tire.

So, watch out!

This image demonstrates, how an off center hit will compress the tire between rock and rim. If hit hard enough the rim will cut the tire. This damage cannot be repaired

#2 tire damage in any desert environment is sidewall punctures from cactus and sticks.

In the picture above you'll see both tire threads at once - exposed rocks and nasty cactus.

To be on the safe side you will want to carry a puncture kit and a pump. Upright bicycle pumps are cheaper and are more reliable than cigarette lighter plug in pumps.

Here is more on the puncture kit.

contact me


hot springs?


meeting point

what to bring

vehicle requirements

time table (new itinerary):

day 1 - day 2 - day 3

Driving tips:

ETS and use of brake

save your tires !

save your paint

DV roads

Death Valley information

CNN weather
Yahoo weather
wunderground weather
UStoday weather

current road conditions

reports of previous trips:

1998 report

2001 report

spring '02

future trips:

spring 2003 DV trip?

spring 2003 Baja trip?


© 2002-2005 Harald Pietschmann