Tire Pressure: Seeing the Light on a Cold Truth

Tire Pressure Cold TemperatureDoes 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.