Does it seems like you have been seeing your tire pressure monitoring system light illuminating a little more frequently lately? If so, you can probably blame one simple reason – the cold.
In order to understand how cold effects your TPMS, it is necessary to how your TPMS works. The system use sensors technology to alert drivers when tire pressure in one of the tires goes below a predetermined level. When tire pressure in one or more of your tires drops, the light comes on.
Since ambient air pressure decreases in frigid temperatures, the air pressure in a tire goes down 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. This is why drivers typically see the TPMS light illuminate more frequently.
It is important to check your tire pressure when the tires are cold. Why? Once you hit the road, friction will cause the tires to heat up, increasing the pressure within the tire. Checking the tire pressure after you have been driving awhile may give an inaccurately high pressure reading.
Proper tire inflation is always important, but it is especially critical in the cold winter months when weather conditions make driving more hazardous. Tire pressure is important because:
- Low tire pressure can make a vehicle handle poorly
- Tires tend to wear out much faster when they are not properly inflated
- Under inflated tires tend to overheat, which could lead to a blowout
- Low tire pressure reduces gas mileage and costs you money
Check the pressure of your tires monthly. In order to obtain the most accurate pressure level, wait until tires have cooled – about 30 minutes after parking – or check the pressure first thing in the morning.
Let’s face it, we tend to take our ride for granted. For the most part it is always there, ready to take us wherever and whenever we need to go. We only think about taking care of it when there is an obvious problem, like a flat tire or a dead battery. The problem with this approach is that it is not good for your car, and it can be very risky for the safety of you and your passengers. Why not make 2018 the year you resolve to make vehicle maintenance a priority? Regular auto and tire maintenance not only make sense for protecting and prolonging the life of your vehicle and tires, it also means you’ll be safer on the road.
Check Tire Pressure & Tread Depth
Make it a point to check your tire pressure at least once a month. You can find the proper pressure for your vehicle’s tires listed in your owner’s manual. Keep in mind that the maximum pressure is not the same as the recommended pressure. Don’t forget to also check the pressure of your spare tire.
You also should check the tread depth on your tires two or three times a year. The penny test is a simple way to gauge your tread depth. Hold a penny so you can read “In God We Trust” across the top. Insert it into five different sections of the tire and look at Lincoln’s head. If you can see the top of Lincoln’s head, your treads are excessively worn, and it is time for a new set of tires. If Abe’s head is covered to about the forehead hairline, the tread is in good shape and you probably do not need new tires.
Tire Balancing & Rotation
Tire balancing and rotation should be part of your regular service. Tire balancing provides a smooth ride and assures even tire wear by properly adjusting the wheel weight distribution around the vehicle. Tire rotation is an important maintenance step that will greatly extend the life of your tires. Manufacturers have specific recommendations, so it is advisable to refer to your owner’s manual tire rotation guidelines to ensure proper tread wear.
Stick to a Regular Maintenance Schedule
To keep your car running properly and performing at peak levels, it is essential to stay up-to-date with recommended regular maintenance services. Like us, our vehicles need regular check-ups to maintain good health and catch potential problems before they become serious issues. The following is a list of typical services – consult your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s recommended services and frequency.
- Coolant Flush and Replacement
- Oil Change
- Fluid Checks – Power Steering and Brake
- Brake Inspection
- Check Belts & Hoses
- Filters – Air and Fuel
- Battery & Cables
- Exhaust System
- Windshield Washer Fluid & Wiper Blades
Establishing a regular care routine allows you to drive with confidence knowing that you are traveling safely where ever the road takes you. You will also get to enjoy your vehicle and tire investment much longer.