AUSTIN (KXAN) — Puffy coats, hot chocolate and a roaring fire. There are a lot of great things that come with Old Man Winter’s arrival, but one really bad thing — flat tires.
On crisp mornings, you might hop into your car and notice the tire pressure light is on. For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tire pressure drops by one-to-two pounds per square inch, or PSI.
Why does it happen?
Air particles are constantly moving around in our atmosphere. When they move around quickly, the air gets warmer. When these particles move slowly, the air gets colder. Air pressure is the energy that is released when these particles collide.
When they collide quickly, air pressure is greater. When they collide less often, when the air is colder, air pressure drops. This change is what’s happening inside your tire.
When the air pressure is low in your tire, more of it actually touches the road. This creates greater friction, causing the tire to heat up, which can create premature wear and tear on the tire.
According to DMV.org, there are some things you can do to prepare for the pressure drop. You can overinflate your tire by two-to-three PSI, so that when the pressure drops it doesn’t go flat. You can also fill your tire with nitrogen gas, which isn’t affected by the drop.
Just because the pressure drop is normal, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t double check your pressure if the light goes on. If you haven’t checked your tires in awhile, you can’t be sure if the weather or a nail is causing the drop.
On average, tires lose about 1 PSI per month. According to experts with HowStuffWorks, you should check your tire pressure monthly, preferably in the morning.