Every year, when the temperatures fall, my tire pressure light goes on. Why? Well, when the temperatures dip the air compresses in the tires which cause low tire pressure. The weather plays a big part in tire pressure. While hot weather can make your tires over inflate cold weather can cause them to be dangerously underinflated. The first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure. This seems to happen to me around October/November every year. My solution, I head to my local dealership and have them adjust the tire pressure for me.
Most vehicles should have a tire pressure between 32 PSI and 35 PSI. To find out what is recommended for your vehicle you can check the owner’s manual or ask your dealership. I have all my routine maintenance done at our local dealership so when my light turns on I simply pull in the quick service bay and have them take a look. Usually, takes me about 15 minutes and I’m back out on the road.
If you have a new vehicle there should be a placard located on the driver-side doorjamb behind the seat. It lists the proper inflation pressure for each tire, including the spare tire if your car has one. The numbers on the doorpost are the recommendations from the vehicle’s manufacturer. If your car does not have a placard, the correct tire pressure information may be found in your owner’s manual or from a dealer’s service department.
The biggest reason to keep your tires properly inflated is safety. Driving on severely underinflated tires, or those overinflated well past their maximum inflation pressure can cause a blowout while you are driving, resulting in loss of vehicle control.
Keeping your tires at their recommended pressure will also give you the best tire balance for a smooth ride, control, best tire life, and fuel economy. Driving on underinflated tires costs about 0.2 percent in efficiency for each one pound of pressure they are under the recommendation, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). If you’re 10 pounds low, you’re giving up 2 percent of your fuel economy. Tire underinflation will also lead to significantly accelerated tire wear and damaging heat buildup.
Be careful to not over inflate your tires as well. An overinflated tire will increase wear on the center of the tire, affect your vehicle’s handling, create a harsher ride, and potentially reduce your braking efficiency. Though some claim you get better gas mileage with higher pressure that little amount of better gas mileage will cost you more in tire repairs/replacements.
These are just a few reasons why you should keep your tires at the proper pressure. Any time you are in question, stop by your dealership and ask the service center your questions.