Tire Pressure And Temperature Change--What You Need To Know


When the weather warms up, people's thoughts tend to turn toward the fun and excitement that warm weather brings. For most casual car owners, that means thinking about long, sun-lit drives down a favorite stretch of road. Rarely does the summer driver consider their tires.

However, as the seasons change, so too does the air pressure in your tires. Experts suggest that, for every 10 degrees in air temperature decrease, you should expect a 1-2 psi drop in your tire pressure. The reasons for this are a bit difficult to understand--the problems with it are much easier to grasp.

Unstable Temperatures Make For Unstable Tires

The easiest way to understand your tire's air pressure is to think about the nightly low temperature. This serves as a baseline for your tires--particularly when automobiles are parked in driveways or on streets. Basically, your tires are going to maintain a pressure that is related to the lowest temperature that the car experiences.

For example, if you inflate your tires to the proper level when the air temperature is 70 degrees, and your nightly low temperature is 50 degrees, your tires will stabilize at a level 2-4 psi lower than your initial inflation. That's not such a big deal--particularly if you take this into account when inflating your tires initially.

During a seasonal change, however, temperatures tend to be much more volatile. It's not uncommon for a spring day to bring a daytime temperature of 70 one day, only to be followed by a 35 degree day. You could conceivably fill your tires during t-shirt weather only to park your car outside in 35 degree weather the next night. The resulting drop in your tire's pressure could cause major financial and safety risks.

Risks of Underinflation

Underinflation is a major problem for auto owners. In simple terms, your tires are designed to have a certain level of firmness when they grip the road and support your vehicle. When this support doesn't exist, certain problems develop.

First, the added footprint of your tire on the road causes excessive tread wear. That means the treads that allow your car to brake and turn effectively become ineffective much more quickly than they will under normal conditions. It also places too much pressure on the outside of your tires, increasing the likelihood of a blowout.

On top of that, low pressure increases the friction between your tire and the road. That makes it physically more difficult for your car to accelerate and roll--increasing the work load on your engine. Fuel economy and engine life are compromised as a result.

Most auto owners tend to think about their tires when ice and snow make driving difficult. By being diligent about your tire's inflation during all seasons, your safety and your budget will benefit. For more advice, speak with experts like XL Auto Service & Tires.


21 April 2015

maintaining the brakes on your car

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