Winter care

February 12, 2018

How the Cold Temperatures Affect your Car

  The winter is probably the worst time of year to experience car trouble. Winter poses quite a few problems for vehicles. It is important to bring your vehicle in for regular maintenance inspections. You might have noticed a correlation between temperatures dropping and the tire pressure light coming on. When the temperature undergoes fluctuations, tire pressure can change. Gasses expand when heated and contract when temperatures decline—so your pressure can increase in the summer and decrease in the winter. For every 10 degrees of temperature drop, your tires will lose 1 pound of pressure. When you wake up to an especially cold morning, it isn’t out of the norm that you might need to fill your tires.   Adequate inflation is necessary for maximum handling, traction, and durability as designed by the tire manufacturer. Basically, if you want your tire to do its job properly, you need to do yours by ensuring it’s inflated properly. After all, it’s the air pressure that supports your vehicle’s weight and not the tire itself. It’s best to keep an eye on your tire pressure throughout the winter. You should check the pressure in the morning before the tire has been run, before the temperature rises, and before it’s exposed to direct sunlight, as these might give you a false reading. Additionally, the act of driving affects tire temperature; tire pressure can increase by up to 5 psi in the first 20-30 minutes of driving before finally stabilizing.   Additionally, low temperatures can affect your tires’ rubber. The cold has a tendency of making rubber products more rigid and brittle, and tires aren’t necessarily the exception to this. Some ultra-high-performance summer tires run the risk of losing grip and cracking in cold weather. Tires can begin losing elasticity around 45 degrees. Make sure to check the tires regularly, so you can rest assured they are at the amount needed to drive on.