TIRE PRESSURE IN WINTER: UNDERSTANDING THE EFFECTS OF COLD WEATHER
Cold weather affects tire pressure, so you should regularly check your automotive tire’s inflation pressure during winter. Generally, air pressure drops by 1-2 PSI with every 10°C drop in temperature. Your tire pressure will drop significantly during cold weather, especially when temperatures hit zero. Underinflated tires lose traction and grip and increase fuel consumption and CO2 emissions. As such, you should check your air pressure even if you have studded winter tires or a functional tire pressure monitoring system.
How Cold Weather Affects Tire Pressure
Cold weather affects tire pressure because air molecules contract when the temperature drops. Your tires will slowly deflate as the temperature decreases. Colder weather can reduce your tire pressure at a rate of 1 to 2 PSI per 10°C drop in temperature. The rate is even higher in high-altitude areas. You should regularly check your tire inflation pressure to keep it within the recommended PSI. Don’t wait until the tire pressure light turns on. Check the pressure every week to ensure all four wheels have optimal air pressure.
Why Low Tire Pressure Is Bad For Your Car
Low pressure can result in poor vehicle handling, which is already challenging on snowy winter roads. Other disadvantages of low tire pressure include irregular tire wear, increased rolling resistance, reduced fuel efficiency, and the potential of a flat tire. Riding a car with low tire pressure can also damage the rim and suspension. You’ll end up paying for costly repairs and replacements that you can prevent by maintaining the recommended tire pressure. Make sure you check the TPMS light to reinflate your tires to the recommended PSI.
How To Check and Maintain Tire Inflation
Your vehicle tires require a certain amount of air pressure, measured in pounds per square inch or PSI. You can check the owner’s manual, the driver’s side door, the fuel filler door, or the tire sidewall for the recommended pressure. You can then use a tire pressure gauge to get an accurate reading of available pressure. If it’s low, stop at the next gas station to inflate them to the correct PSI. Regular pressure checks can help you maintain the proper pressure during lower temperatures and prevent blowouts that can occur when tire pressure drops.
Benefits Of Maintaining Tire Pressure In Winter
Maintaining the recommended air pressure during winter has many benefits, from better car handling to fuel economy. You’ll get more gas mileage and protect your vehicle’s tires from irregular wear. Whether you prefer studded winter tires or regular-season tires, maintaining air pressure can help you stay safe on the roads. You can use a tire pressure sensor to determine if you need to inflate the car tire. The TMPS warning light also reminds you when it’s time to put in more air pressure. Riding with the correct air pressure increases the lifespan of your tires, rims, and suspension system.
Key Takeaways About Winter and Tire Pressure
Air temperature drops significantly during winter, causing air molecules to contract. This can lead to drops in tire pressure. Regularly checking your tire inflation pressure can help you maintain the correct pressure to prevent issues. Simply check the sticker on the driver’s side door jamb or the manual provided by the vehicle manufacturer to find the correct PSI. Use a pressure gauge to check the levels every 1-2 weeks. If the pressure is low, plug an air compressor into the valve stem to get your tires to the correct pressure.