Breakdown: Why cold temperatures can impact tire pressure

Why temps can impact tires

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - Lower temperatures mean lower tire pressure, so be prepared to inflate your tires more often during the cold weather months.

Cars typically require a tire pressure of 30 to 35 psi (pounds of force per square inch). The recommended psi for your car is the ideal tire pressure year-round. When temperature tumble, you may be inflating your tires more often.

When outdoor temperatures drop dramatically, so does the pressure in your tires. When it’s hot outside, warmer air molecules in the tire move around faster and bump into each other more, raising the tire pressure to a potentially overinflated level. When the temperature falls, the air molecules slow down and stick together, resulting in a drop in air pressure and a possibly an underinflated tire.

Many tire manufacturers, estimate that tires lose one psi for every 10 degrees the outside temperature drops. If your car has a Tire Monitoring System, the warning light will be triggered by at least a 25 percent drop in tire pressure.

Check your tires when your car has been parked for at least three hours. When you drive, it raises the air temperature and therefore the air pressure in the tires. Your car’s ideal tire pressure is usually listed inside the driver-side door. Be sure to check the recommended pressure for the your tires and it may differ for front tires vs the rear tires.

Driving on underinflated tires makes you three times more likely to be in a collision related to tire issues, according to a 2012 a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Properly inflated tires handle better, save gas and last longer.

Copyright 2021 WMC. All rights reserved.