There are many reasons to be extra cautious when driving in the cold weather temperatures. While in the summer months there are more people on the road, with the visitors and travelers meandering around the roads, but in the cold weather months the cars that are on the road must be in top condition.
The cold weather brings ice, rain, fog, and a whole host of other weather conditions that make it more dangerous to drive than other times of the year. But, the cold weather also brings wear and tear on your tires, which can be a real hazard.
The air inside of your tires is a gas, and therefore is susceptible to the rules of physics about gas. In other words, during the hot weather the gas will expand and swell with increased temperature and during the cold weather the gas will contract.
The means that during the cold weather, the pressure in your tires is much lower than “normal”. In fact, the rule of thumb is that for every 10 degree change in temperature (in this case, decrease) you will lose 1 psi of tire pressure.
Here are some reasons to keep an eye on your tire pressure, especially during the cold weather:
- The lower the psi of your tires, the worse the fuel economy of your car. If your tires have a psi that is lower than recommended, the vehicle is essentially dragging along the ground rather than rolling. This causes the engine to have to work much harder to propel the car forward, and thus the decreased fuel economy.
- Your car will not handle as well if the tire pressure is too low. Your car is designed to ride on a specific amount of air pressure. The aerodynamics of your car are contingent on the tires being filled to the recommended amount. If the tire pressure is too low, the integrity of the car cannot be insured and the car will not be as safe to drive as designed.
- The tread of the tires will wear unevenly and you will have to replace them sooner than expected. When the tires ride too low on the ground, there is more friction than necessary. This friction is uneven depending on the weight change of the car and the tread of the road. The tires will need to be replaced as sections of them will become balder sooner than others.
The air pressure inside of your tires is what keeps your car up off of the road. Essentially, when your car is in motion, it is resting on rubber that is filled with air and the amount of air inside of the tires is directly related to the effective and safe operation of the car.