The arrival of cold weather means that the ultimate war between your vehicle and mother nature is about to begin. First up on the list of items that are affected by her merciless chill: your car’s tires.
Join Shur-Way as we explain what happens to your tires each cold season, what dangers this phenomenon poses to you and your vehicle, and what you can do to correct the problem.
It never fails; the moment the wind chill drops below 60 degrees Fahrenheit, your tires miraculously begin to lose their taut shape. The sidewalls bow out a little. Your vehicle may even start to sag down to the ground, surrendering to the bitter asphalt.
And if you don’t have a keen eye, or if you’re not familiar with the damage cold air can wreak on a tire, you may not even notice these warning signs.
Low Air Pressure Explained
By now, you’re wondering what power chilly temperatures have over your tires. Truthfully, it’s not the physical tire that the cold is affecting; it’s the air within your tires.
Consider this: for every 10-degree change of outside air temperature, the air in your tires will expand or contract by 2% accordingly. For example, you may have 35 pounds per square inch (PSI) in your tires on an 80-degree day, but when the sun sets and the outside temperature decreases to 65, your tires may only hold 33.95 PSI. Consequently, this same tire may only hold 32.6 PSI at 40 degrees Fahrenheit.
In a single winter, one car tire typically fluctuates by 5 PSI, plus or minus its starting point, depending on how outside temperatures change over time.
Dangers of Low Tire Pressure
Did you know that an improperly inflated tire is 2-3 times more likely to cause an accident than a properly inflated tire?
Even though 5 PSI may not seem like a large difference in pressure, keep in mind that your vehicle manufacturer’s recommended PSI is established to ensure your vehicle can be operated in a safe and secure manner. Failing to do so could result in serious damages, injuries and even death. Here’s how…
Contrary to popular belief, a vehicle is not held up by its tires. Although, these are a piece of what makes a vehicle capable of staying upright on the road, it is actually the pressure of the air within these tires that bears a vehicle’s weight. A reduction in this pressure will not only lower the vehicle closer to the ground, but it may also make the ride and handling much more unstable, increasing the likelihood of the driver losing control and causing an accident.
Tires that contain less-than-optimal pressure are also more prone to experiencing a blowout. If this were to occur while traveling at a high rate of speed, such as those experienced on an interstate, the consequences could be deadly.
Solving Low Tire Pressure For Good
As a result, it is important to ensure your tires remain properly aired up at all times. To help you achieve this, here are several things you can do:
- Keep an eye on your vehicle’s Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS),if applicable. This system helps to detect unsafe variances between the air pressure of your vehicle’s four tires, as well as any dangerously low pressures present in any single tire. It should be noted, however, that TPMS sensors – especially the ones found in older vehicles – may not always be accurate. As a result, TPMS should simply be utilized as a guideline and not an end-all-be-all air pressure monitoring solution.
- Purchase a tire pressure gauge from your local automotive retail store. Use it to check the pressure in your tires regularly, especially when the outside temperatures are shifting.
- Many gas stations in your area offer free compressed air. Don’t hesitate to fill up your tires if you have detected that one or more are low. Remember, don’t overfill your tires beyond the recommended PSI; exceedingly high pressure can be just as dangerous as low pressure.
Accidents and Solutions
The effects cold weather has on tire pressure is clear: even minor pressure fluctuations in your tires is a threat to you, your vehicle and those around you. The consequences of an accident are unsavory at best; however, if you do find yourself in such a situation, Shur-Way is here to make your vehicle damage disappears. Reach out to us if you are in need of a repair, and we will help you in every way possible.