The short answer: yes! Here’s how to make sure your tire pressure is always right in cold weather
Maintaining correct tire pressure not only ensures optimal traction and grip on any road surface, it also gives you more mileage for your fuel and even reduces CO2 emissions. However, as soon as the temperature drops during cold winter months, it’s important to be vigilant of your tires’ inflation pressure. Once you‘ve prepared your car for winter and fitted it with winter tires, you also need to adapt your tire pressure checks to the seasonal conditions.
Let’s take a closer look at how cold weather affects air pressure and how you can effectively monitor it for maximum driving comfort.
As a rule of thumb, when the temperature decreases by 10°C, tire pressure drops between 0.07 to 0.14 bars or 1 to 2 pounds per square inch (PSI). Furthermore, if you live in or travel to a location where there is high elevation, tire pressure is further reduced with every added meter of altitude. For this reason, it’s important to regularly check and maintain all four of your tires’ inflation levels.
Not sure what your tire pressure should be? There are several places you can find it in your vehicle:
Inflating your winter tires according to your car manufacturer’s recommendation helps maintain good traction and handling on slippery icy surfaces, no matter the temperature change. Obviously, the same goes for all-season tires.
In short, yes, you need to regularly check the inflation levels. As the temperature drops in cold weather, you might notice your TPMS symbol illuminating more often than usual – particularly in the morning when the air is cold. This is most likely due to the temperature dropping overnight, along with the bar or PSI level. However, this is no reason to become complacent when it comes to maintaining your wheels. You should check the air pressure at least every two weeks. In fact, while your tires might look fine, a tire can be under-inflated before it’s visibly noticeable! When checking your tire pressure, you can also take a minute to check the condition and tread depth of your winter tires.
If you live in a region where roads often get covered in ice and where studded tires are allowed or necessary in winter, maintaining the correct air pressure is just as important as it is for non-studded tires. Maintaining the correct levels will provide maximum performance and safety. Poor maintenance can lead to premature stud loss.
As inflation tends to drop with the temperature in cold weather, it’s important to check tire inflation every two weeks. Here are some simple tips to help you check and adjust your tire pressure: