Yes, cold weather does affect tire pressure. Many drivers notice a dip in their tire pressure during the fall and winter months due to the oxygen molecules inside the tires contracting when they get cold.
To give you a more in-depth answer to the question, “does cold weather affect tire pressure?” our team at Faulkner Auto Group put together this guide. Want to learn more? Drivers near Harrisburg, Mechanicsburg, and Trevose can contact our service center!
Cold Weather and Tire Pressure
As we’ve already mentioned, when the weather gets cold, the oxygen molecules inside your tires contract, which results in a decrease in tire pressure.
If this happens, you may notice a yellow light on your dashboard that looks like an exclamation point inside a tire, accompanied by a chime. This is called the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) indicator light and is a useful feature that many newer cars are equipped with.
While this light could also indicate a leak in one of your tires, it’s a good idea to start by checking your tire pressure, especially during cold weather.
How to Check Tire Pressure
To check your tire pressure, follow these simple steps:
- Purchase a tire pressure gauge. You can buy these at most gas stations, auto body shops, home improvement stores, and even online.
- Know your recommended PSI (manufacturer-recommended tire pressure rating). You can find this in your owner’s manual. It’s also often included on a sticker on the inside of your drivers-side door.
- Remove the end caps on your tires’ air valves
- Place the tire pressure gauge into the valve and press down quickly
- Compare the PSI reading to your car’s requirements
- If the reading is below the recommended PSI, fill your tires with air at a gas station or by making an appointment at your dealership’s service center.
As you can see, checking your tire pressure is a simple procedure that you can do on your own. In fact, we recommend checking your tire pressure monthly, regardless of whether your TPMS indicator has turned on.
If you prefer, you can also take your car to a certified service center to have a professional check your tire pressure, put air in your tires (if necessary), and check your tires for any unusual wear and tear or possible leaks.
Remember, not all cars have a tire pressure monitoring system. If yours does not, be sure to check your tire pressure regularly.
Do I Need to Inflate My Tires in Cold Weather?
While you won’t always notice a tire pressure dip during cold weather, if you do, it’s important that you inflate your tires to the recommended PSI.
Driving on deflated tires may impact your vehicle’s handling capabilities, which can become dangerous during snowy weather. Deflated tires may also produce additional friction, which can make your tires more prone to blowout.
The good news is, if you’re vigilant about checking your tire pressure and keeping your tires properly inflated, they should handle properly.
If you’re at all concerned about driving your car in snowy weather, you can also ask the team at your dealership’s tire center about outfitting your car with a set of snow tires. Contact us to learn more!
Learn More About How Cold Weather Affects Tire Pressure
If you want to talk more about the question of does cold weather affect tire pressure, contact Faulkner Auto Group. We’ll be happy to chat with you more about tire health and maintenance. We can also help any Mechanicsburg, Trevose, and Harrisburg area customers who need to have their tires checked, rotated, or balanced.