Why Does Tire Pressure Drop in Cold Temperatures?
Air contracts in the winter season, which is why the air volume in your tires is shrinking. A 10-degree drop in temperature can contribute to a 1-2 psi drop in tire pressure. Compare this to a freezing day where the temperature drops drastically.
How to Know When Tire Pressure is Dropping?
All cars manufactured after 2007 are equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS). This system signals a “low-pressure warning light” when your tire pressure is down in chilly weather or when you are late with your vehicle’s service.
Vehicle owners will generally see a TPMS warning in the cold mornings. However, the system may stop indicating warnings if the temperature rises in the subsequent hours. Motorists should not ignore the TPMS light in such situations because the tire pressure might still be below the recommended level by 1 or 2 psi.
You should check your tire pressure with a digital tire gauge displaying more accuracy. On the other hand, you can drive to the nearest gas station or your trusted mechanic for a more thorough check.
How to Interpret the TPMS Light Signal?
- TPMS Light Illuminating When You Drive: You are driving with one of your tires at low pressure. Check tire pressure with a gauge and get it fixed immediately.
- TPMS Light Goes On and Off: This scenario may be present due to fluctuating ambient temperature overnight. Check your tire pressure to determine whether it is within recommended levels.
What Happens if You Drive With Low Pressure in Fall and Cold Seasons?
As we discussed, cold temperatures lead to a pressure drop, meaning underinflated tires. Experts at Bridgestone Tires say that underinflation results in a sluggish response from your vehicle. Also, a decrease in fuel economy, excess tire wear and tear, and heat buildup are other concerns.
What is the Ideal Tire Pressure for Vehicles in Cold Weather?
Your tire manufacturer’s recommended levels define the ideal tire pressure. However, 30-35 psi is considered suitable for tire pressure in the fall and colder winter months. Some guides state that you can overinflate your tires in winter, but that can also lead to your tire’s wearing and cause difficulty driving.
The next time your TPMS light blinks at you on a cold winter morning, please don’t ignore it. Instead, address the issue of low tire pressure immediately; you might just save a huge bill on car repairs or prevent a potential accident on slippery winter roads.