Weather or Not: How cold air impacts your tire pressure

Weather or Not: Cold weather & tire pressure

Colder temperatures are moving into the ArkLaTex. You may be thinking about dusting off those winter coats, but have you checked your tire pressure lately?

Did you know that as temperatures drop, so does your tire pressure? This could mean that your tire pressure light pop on when you go out to your car on a chilly morning. How exactly are the two related? Temperatures and pressure have a direct relationship. This mean that as the temperatures increase so does the pressure and ice versa, as temperatures decreases, pressure also decreases.

How does this relate to the pressure in your car? When the first wave of cool air during the fall season comes into the area, air will contract inside your tire. This means the individual air molecules will slow down. Cooler air molecules take up less space inside the tire and can’t apply as much force. When there’s not as much force…. your tire can’t hold as much air and in turn deflates.

The opposite happens when there’s extreme heat. Warmer air molecules move much faster which could increase your tire pressure.

This image shows how molecules differ from warm air to cold air. Warmer air has less molecules, so they can move more freely and in turn become faster. Cold air is denser with molecules so there’s not as much room to move, making them slower.

Credit: boldmethod
Credit: boldmethod

For every 10-degree drop, your tire could lose 1-2 pounds of pressure. For example, if we are 70 degrees during the day and lows drop into the 40s, then your tire would lose 3 pounds of pressure. Its always good to check your tires when cold weather moves in before you leave in the morning. This will give you a more accurate reading before the tires warm up when driving.

Your car manual lists the optimum tire pressure for your specific vehicle for driving in cold and warm conditions.

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