If you have been in Iceland and seen those 4X4 with huge tires and wondered "what the hell for"?

  • If you have been in Iceland and seen those 4X4 with huge tires and wondered "what the hell for"?
Apr 11 2016

If you have been in Iceland and seen those 4X4 with huge tires and wondered "what the hell for"?  Well here is your answer. The tires are mainly for glacier and snow travel in the winter.  Driving your vehicle in the snow in the Highland and on glaciers became a very popular sport in Iceland in the eighties in the last century. 

First, the height of the vehicle was increased and possibly you would put 35-inch tires instead of the 31-inch that came with the vehicle. The large 4x4 became better to drive in snow as there was less hindrance and snow didn't accumulate in front of the vehicle.  Then someone discovered that if you deflate your tire a tremendous change occurs when driving in snow and the car almost becomes unstoppable. It is almost like magic. When deflated the pressure of the vehicle decreases substantially.  Sometimes the pressure of a large vehicle is deflated down to 1psi. The experiment continued, and Icelanders started to put bigger tires on their vehicles with neccesary modifications and changes. They also discovered that if you had a vehicle around 2600 kilos, you needed a 38-inch tire. If the vehicle was around 3000 kilos, you needed a 44-inch tire. Today it is not unusual to see large and heavy vehicles like Ford E 350 and Ford F 350 and a Mercedes Bens Sprinter on a 56-inch tire on the streets in Reykjavík. When the tires are deflated on large vehicles the psi on the snow is lighter than a person walking in the snow. This sounds like a paradox, but it is the truth.

You can also read an interview with one of them here on our web page.

Here is an interesting video from Arnþór Snær a family member traveling with his father and a bunch of Icelandic winter travel fanatics during the Eastern holidays. Most of the vehicles in the video are modified on 44-inch tires. You can also read an interview with one of them here on our web page. 

If you have any questions or recommendations, don't hesitate to give us your feedback and comment.

Please feel free to share on social media if you know anyone planning to visit Iceland.