How Cold Weather Affects Your Tires

January 26, 2021 Published by Leave your thoughts

There are a few things you should know about cold weather and your tires to keep your vehicle running smoothly. While most newer vehicles have internal sensors that will let you know when something’s wrong, here are some common tire pressure issues in Lubbock, TX and what to do about them.

Cold weather tire don’ts

Here are a couple things to avoid regarding cold weather and tires:

  • Don’t ignore constant pressure drops: If the pressure keeps dropping, even after you’ve filled the tire back to its recommended setting, you probably have a leak in the tire. This can be slow, only becoming noticeable over a matter of days, or fast, being noticeable by the end of the day. You will need to get your tire patched or get a new set of tires if that’s the case.
  • Don’t overinflate your tires: You might think it would be a good idea to counteract the natural pressure drop that happens in cold weather, but overinflating your tires can have unintended consequences on your vehicle’s performance. Stick to the suggested settings in your owner’s manual.

Cold weather tire tips

In the winter, your tires may become underinflated, meaning that your tire pressure is too low. This will affect your gas mileage negatively, costing you more at the pump. It can also affect the handling of your vehicle and make it harder to steer.

If your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, it should tell you when your tires are underinflated. Even still, it’s good to always have a tire pressure gauge in the car, both to double check what the computer is telling you and to check when you feel something’s off—even if the computer doesn’t register a problem.

Even the more inexpensive, manual tire pressure gauge is good to have in the car. Yes, most gas stations have air fill-up stations. And yes, those machines generally have tire pressure gauges on them. But they are notoriously inaccurate, so having one you can rely on will save you from having to wonder whether it’s right or not.

You should check the pressure of your tires at least once a month. The PSI should match the recommended settings in your vehicle’s owner’s manual (or the sticker located in the door jamb of your driver’s side door).

The best time to do this for an accurate result is before you start driving. If you check after you’ve been driving a while, the pressure will read higher due to the tires having heated up. For this same reason, if your tire pressure warning light is on when you start the car, but turns off after driving for a while, that likely means your tire is right on the edge of being underinflated.

Remember, with every 10-degree change in air temperature, tire pressure will change about 2 percent in either direction. In summer months, this means the tires may become overinflated. In colder weather, they can become underinflated. It’s especially important to check tire pressure at the start of winter, or whenever the weather starts to get cold.

If you’re noticing the effects of cold weather on your tires in Lubbock, TX, visit M & M Tire & Service Center today for your tire and auto repair needs.

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