It’s happened to many of us. Once you start the engine, the “low tire pressure” light comes on. But have you ever noticed that it happens more in the winter?
As the temperature goes down, especially with arctic air, the pressure in the tire goes down. Roughly 1-2 PSI per 10-degree drop. PSI stands for pounds per square inch. As the temperature outside gets warmer, the more pressure you’ll have in your tires.
When it comes to cold weather, individual gas molecules in the enclosed tired have less energy at lower temperatures. Less energy means the molecules aren’t moving around as much. This means less pressure on the walls of the tire. So the tire can slightly deflate.
The opposite is true with warmer temperatures. There’s more energy with the gas molecules. They’re moving around freely and putting pressure on the tire’s walls.
Knowing this, it’s no surprise that with this latest arctic air outbreak, you may have been seeing the low air pressure light in your car. It doesn’t always mean you need more air, just that your tires may need to be monitored.
Here are more winter tips that may be of use to you: If your locks are frozen, coat your key with a little hand sanitizer, the alcohol will help melt the ice inside the lock. Keep kitty litter in your trunk. It can be used as traction for your tires if you get stuck. If you put a little kitty litter in a few socks and leave it in your car, it can help absorb the moisture in the air that can fog your windows up. Speaking of fog, a great way to get rid of it is to use a chalkboard eraser. Also, don’t leave any liquids in your car overnight. It can aid in fog development.
We can’t forget the winter survival kit. No matter how new or well-running your car is, you can still get stranded. Make sure to have batteries and a flashlight, a cell phone charger, blankets, water, and non-perishable snacks. When traveling during winter, it’s best to let someone know where you’re going and how long it will take to get there. Sometimes friendly phone tracking apps can also bring peace of mind.