Winter Tire Pressure: How to Keep Your Tires at Optimal Levels
Cold temperatures and winter weather can be the biggest enemy to both a tire and a driver due to tire pressure and performance changes that must be monitored. The exact PSI level of your tire will depend ultimately on your vehicle specifications, but the general rule is for your tire pressure to be between 30 and 35 PSI in the winter. This allows your tires to remain at optimal levels for better safety, driving performance, and fuel efficiency.
How Cold Weather Affects Tires
When winter weather hits, the first thing you should do is check your tire pressure. As the temperature outside decreases, so does the pressure inside your tires. Every 10-degree Fahrenheit decrease in ambient temperature causes a 1-PSI drop in tire pressure. So if it’s 30 degrees one day and 20 degrees the next, that’s a 10-degree drop and, therefore a 1-PSI drop in tire pressure.
It’s important to keep an eye on your tires’ PSI because under-inflated tires can lead to several problems. For one, under-inflated tires are more likely to overheat and fail, which could cause you to lose control of your vehicle. Under-inflated tires also wear out more quickly and unevenly, so you’ll have to replace them sooner. Perhaps most importantly, under-inflated tires negatively affect your fuel economy—so not only will you have to shell out money for new tires more often, you’ll also have to spend more money at the pump. In fact, according to fueleconomy.gov, properly inflated tires can improve your gas mileage by3.3%.
What's the Best Tire Pressurefor Winter?
The ideal winter tire pressure for your vehicle will depend on what the manufacturer recommends. You can usually find this information on a placard on the driver’s side door pillar or in the owner’s manual. A quick internet search should do the trick if you can’t find it there. Once you know what the manufacturer recommends, inflate your tires to that level.
It’s worth noting that even if you do everything right as far as tire pressure is concerned, winter weather can still take its toll on your tires. That’s why it’s also important to regularly inspect your tires for any cracks or damage that may have occurred over the course of winter. And if you do notice any damage, don’t hesitate to take your car to a mechanic so they can fix the problem before it leads to an accident.
Keeping an eye on your tire pressure is crucial in the wintertime—but it’s not the only thing you need to do to make sure your car is safe. Regularly inspect your tires for any cracks or damage, and don’t hesitate to take your car to a mechanic at the first sign of trouble. By following these simple tips, you can help ensure that both you and your car make it through winter unscathed!