Deflategate: How cold temps impact your car tires

How can you reduce vehicle emissions, save money on gasoline and extend the life of your tires? Pima County Department of Environmental Quality suggests you check your tire pressure when there is a big drop in outside temperatures. Air contracts when cooled so there is a lot less air pressure in your tires when the days get shorter and temperatures fall.


For every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, tire pressure will change about two percent or about 1-2 pounds per square inch (PSI). A drop of around 5 PSI in the winter is enough to hurt vehicle handling, traction, gas mileage, and tire durability. An under-inflated tire “flexes” more when cornering and stopping, so you lose some of the performance and safety benefits built into the tire. Monthly tire pressure checks when the tires are cold, along with a special check when temperatures drop, will improve driving safety and save you money at the gas pump.

Where do you find the correct tire pressure for your particular vehicle? Don’t look for it on the side wall of the tire. That is the maximum amount of air the tire can hold. Every vehicle has its own ideal PSI which is usually printed on the inside the driver’s side door jamb, inside the trunk, or in the glove box and it can be found in the owner’s manual. Maintaining your tires at the right pressure will provide a smoother ride; reduce tire drag which wears tires out faster and causes the engine to burn more gasoline; save you money at the gas station; and reduce vehicle emissions for healthier air.


One thought on “Deflategate: How cold temps impact your car tires

  1. Haha… Just this morning the temp at my house in Tucson was 32 degrees. When I started my car to go to work the ‘low tire pressure’ alert was showing (with no flats, of course).

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