Tire pressure loss occurs in cold weather for a variety of reasons. The most common being cold air, which causes the tire to contract, which in turn reduces the amount of air inside of it. In addition, moisture in the air can condense on the tire’s surface and cause tire pressure to drop. This triggers the vehicle’s TPMS (tire-pressure monitoring system) light to turn on. Furthermore, if you live in or travel to a high-altitude location, tire pressure decreases with every additional meter of altitude. As a result, it is critical to routinely check and maintain the inflation levels of all four of your tires.
Generally, when temperature decreases by 10°C (50°F), tire pressure drops between 0.07 to 0.14 bars, or 1 to 2 pounds per square inch (PSI).
There are several places you can find tire pressure recommendations on your vehicle:
Inflating your tires according to your manufacturer’s recommendation helps maintain good traction and handling on slippery, icy or wet surfaces.
As tire pressure tends to drop with temperature changes in cold weather, it is imperative to check your tire pressure often, usually every two weeks. Here are some simple tips to help you stay safe and maintain your tires during cold weather:
Yes, it is highly recommended to check tire inflation levels regularly. As the weather gets colder, you may see your TPMS light illuminate more often than usual. This is likely due to the temperature dropping overnight, which in turn decreases your tire’s PSI or bar. That said, that is not an excuse to become complacent when it comes to tire maintenance in cold weather. Air pressure should be checked at least every two weeks. Furthermore, tires may look fine visually, but a tire can be underinflated before it’s visibly noticeable. It’s always a good idea to also check your tire for premature wear and tread depth while checking inflation levels.