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Tire Pressure in Winter

Inspecting the tires is important. When the temperature drops, air contracts and as the molecules get closer together, the reduction in volume causes tires to lose their pressure. Before you know it, your tires are underinflated.

From oil changes to sparkplug replacements, most vehicle owners understand that regular maintenance is necessary to keep their vehicle roadworthy. Often, tire maintenance is often viewed as lower priority leaving something as important as tire pressure all but forgotten. A tire can be as much as 50% under inflated before it is even visibly noticeable.

Under inflated tires greatly increase braking distances and can dramatically affect steering and handling. Additionally, under inflation can cause irregular wear, meaning your tires will wear out a lot quicker and cost you more money in the end. In a worst case scenario under inflated tires can overheat, which sometimes causes blowouts, so be sure to check the tires regularly.

Vehicles with under inflated tires get poorer gas mileage than vehicles with properly inflated tires. Under inflated tires put more tire surface in contact with the road, causing more rolling resistance and friction with the road. The result is poor gas mileage and higher fuel costs. Depending on how often you fill up, that can lead to hundreds of dollars over the space of a single year.

Check your tire pressure regularly during the winter months. Most new vehicles come equipped with Tire Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) but if you drive an older model vehicle, you will need to take it upon yourself to remain vigilant. As the temperature drops from day to day you may find that tires that were fine yesterday are underinflated the next day. Keep that in mind if the TPMS warning light flashes on an especially cold morning.

To achieve proper tire pressure, use the inflation pressure guide recommended by the manufacturer. You will usually find this information in your owner’s manual, on your vehicle’s doorjamb, or on the inside of the glove box door. If you notice anything with the tires or your vehicle, make sure to bring it in as soon as possible so we can inspect it for you.


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