Tire pressure, cold weather — how are the two related? With most things in life, cold temps cause shrinkage. There are a few exceptions (water expands when freezing into ice, hot water shrinks clothes). But most things shrink when cold. This includes air, which also means the air in your tires.
The inflation pressure of your tires is affected by temperature changes — by roughly 1 pound of pressure for every 10-degree change in air temperature. So if it’s warm when you check your tire pressure and then it gets cold the next day, your tires may already be underinflated.
Add the fact that tires also lose a pound or so of pressure a month (and that nobody wants to be fiddling around with their tires in frigid weather), and you can see that falling temperatures can have a big affect on your tire inflation pressure — which has a big affect on your safety.
Here’s the thing. Underinflated tires are dangerous, and they also have an increased chance of damage or failure. You think checking your pressure in the cold is a pain? Try dragging out the jack and crawling on the ground because you got a flat. No that’s a pain.
So here’s the thing. Check your tire pressure once a month. You’ll be keeping your tires in better shape, helping your fuel economy, and maybe even avoiding a bigger tire or vehicle issue down the road.
Best of all, you don’t even need to deal with it yourself. Swing by your local auto dealership, and they’ll be happy to fill your tires to the correct pressure while you keep warm in their waiting area.
Comment if you check your pressure every month, even in the winter. Heck, comment even if you don’t so I can scold you. You’ll thank me later.