ATV tire pressure is one of the most important & most neglected areas in your ride’s overall performance. Most manufacturers’ ATV tires are designed to run at a low pressure gauge, between three and ten P.S.I.
When mounting, never exceed the pressure listed on the sidewall for bead seating. With a stubborn tire, it may be necessary to release the air & re-lube the beads a couple of times before the beads will seat correctly. If in doubt, take the tire to a professional.
For best performance, you’ll need to do some experimenting. Many riders will run higher pressures for hard surfaces. This lowers rolling resistance for a higher top speed, but it will also decrease your ride quality and increase wear in the center of the tire, making it more susceptible to impact damage.
Running at a lower than recommended tire pressure increases footprint; which, under most conditions, will also increase traction. However, under inflation can also cause premature tire failure (from excessive sidewall flex), sidewall and tread cracking, and possibly bent rims. Excessively low pressure also runs a higher risk of popping the tire bead off of the wheel, which will bring your ride to a sudden end.
I recommend starting at the manufacturer’s recommended tire pressure and then adjusting up or down a single P.S.I. at a time until you find what works best for your riding style and conditions. On the rears, you’ll be looking for the setting that provides the best traction and ride, but in my opinion, the fronts are the most important. Too low of a pressure will make your quad track poorly and turn like a tank. It is common to run different pressures from front to rear, but you should always have the same pressure from side to side on the same axle. A difference as small as one P.S.I. between tires that are sharing an axle can cause the machine to pull to the side with the lower pressure. Keep in mind that this is very subjective area. Each rider will find their own sweet spot at a different pressure for the given terrain.