What You Should Know About Tire Pressure Maintenance in Cold Weather

WOAY-TV (Oak Hill, WV): The upkeep on your car’s tires during the winter season can be a constant battle and here’s why.

We spoke to one of the managers at C Adam Tony Tire Pros about how the weather can impact your vehicle, specifically your tires.

What temperature would people start to notice their tires a bit underinflated and the check tire pressure light come on? Assistant Manager Jason Meador said, “Normally people notice that when we get down to the lower 30s. The reason for that is because for every about every ten degrees drop in temperature, you lose about a pound of air. Whenever the air temperature heats up, your car tires don’t necessarily heat up the same way.”

Why does my tire pressure light go on and off while I am driving? Meador said, “Tire sensors are normally very delicate. They normally range about 3 PSI (pounds per square inch). So, if your vehicle’s tire(s) is about 3 PSI lower than what it calls for (check the door panel on the driver’s side for the recommended PSI for ALL of your tires), the light will come on.”

A sticker inside the driver’s side door panel showing the recommended tire pressure levels for the front and rear tires.

Even if one tire is 2 PSI higher than the recommended value and another is 2 PSI under the recommended value, the light can come on,” said Meador. He also noted as the tire heats up, the PSI will increase to a small margin, so theoretically, the light can turn off as the pressure increases to under 3 PSI below the recommended value. In really cold weather, the pressure won’t increase to the recommended value and the light will stay on.

At what point is it critical that you fill your tires up? Meador said, “Anything lower than around 5 PSI below the recommended cold tire pressure level.” He said if you have a nail in one tire during cold weather, the tire will go flat quicker than during the spring, summer or fall.

An example of a car that should have its tires inflated to the proper level immediately.

So not everybody’s vehicle is newer and the air pressure light comes on when the tire is a bit deflated. So what do you recommend for people who might not have one of those lights? Meador said, “Standard rule of thumb for tire pressure is you want to check it at least once a month.

Signs of low tire pressure:

  1. Standard visual check to see if one or more tires looks deflated.

2. If the driver notices the car pulls in one direction, the tire(s) on one side could have a lower than recommended pressure.


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