Yes, it is true: The pressure in your tires can fluctuate depending on the weather. This is not a myth at all and if you want to improve your tires' performance, you would do well to adjust the pressure in them. Maybe you're still wondering what the outside temperature has to do with your tires. Why would temperature affect the pressure index?
Well, it is about some physical effects. And you don't have to be a notorious physicist to keep your tires safe. What you really have to do is monitor the impact of the temperature on the tires to optimize the performance of your car. How is that connected? You have to read the post to find out the whole explanation.
Why Does The Tire Pressure Matter?
First things first. What role does the right pressure play in your tires? I talked a lot about this topic in the previous articles. However, it is not difficult for me to reiterate: the correct pressure in your tires is the crucial factor in the following aspects:
- improves or impacts vehicle traction;
-increases or reduces the rolling resistance;
-protects or damages the condition of the tires;
-reduces or increases fuel consumption.
These are just 4 major effects of correct or incorrect pressure in your tires. Now if you are still wondering why you need to adjust the pressure, know that you can leave it unadjusted. However, expect the negative effects that I just mentioned to occur immediately.
Many factors impact the pressure in your tires. For this reason, specialists recommend checking the PSI about once a month, at least. One of the influencing factors is temperature change. If you notice that your dashboard indicates different pressures in the morning and the evening, know that you are not imagining things. It's a phenomenon as real as possible, and let's see under what conditions it can occur.
Why Is Tire Pressure Changing?
The explanation is exclusively physical, no magic here. In cold conditions, air molecules become "lazy" as they move extremely slowly and stick to each other. Once they stick, they are grouped taking up less space. In reverse conditions, when the temperature gets hot, the molecules detach from each other, becoming extremely active, and taking up more space around them.
Relating this physical principle to your tires, you can deduce that as the temperature warms up, the molecules expand, leading to a slight pressure increase within the tire.
In the opposite scenario, the tire pressure drops slightly as the temperature drops. This is nothing but the result of air condensation inside the tire.
Both processes lead to either tire over or under-inflation. Inappropriate inflation brings about more fuel consumption and other negative effects you already know about.
How To Control Tire Pressure?
It is not necessary to remember these physical principles every time the temperature drops or increases. Matter-of-factly, you just have to remember that higher temperature equals higher pressure. In the same context, lower temperature equals lower pressure.
Being a responsible driver, you will account for these fluctuations. Don't forget that inappropriate pressure leads to a vehicle's performance decrease in conditions of acceleration, braking, or turning. Respectively, you put not only your life in danger but also that of the drivers around you as well.
Keeping Up With Tire Pressure Fluctuations
The season in which tires are most prone to pressure fluctuations is in the winter. In particular, the geographical areas where the temperature fluctuates below or above 0 Celsius are the ones that give drivers the most trouble.
Matter-of-factly, tires tend to have a slightly lower PSI in the mornings. In such cases, the drivers cannot do much, except start the road. The energy produced by the car during the ride turns into heat. This heat is usually enough to bring the tire pressure back to the optimal level. However, this scenario is not always so positive. In certain situations, you will have to take certain measures to ensure the optimal rolling efficiency of your tires.
Tire Pressure Issues In Winter
If the tire pressure is lower in the morning, your dashboard will definitely let you know through the TPMS indicator on the screen. Once you start the road, the TPMS indicator can go off, once your car produces heat and the air in the tires expands. If the TPMS light is still on after a fairly long journey, it means that the heat from friction with the road is not a sufficient measure.
In this case, you would do well to adjust the pressure in the tire up to the standards recommended by the manufacturer. Continuing on the road with under-inflated tires can lead to loss of control over the vehicle and severe damage to them.
Another symptom that suggests low tire pressure due to low temperatures is the unusually loud noise during the ride. Even if the TPMS indicator does not indicate pressure variations and the noise is disturbing, check the pressure at the first possible station. It could be that the tires are too under-inflated.
Do not ignore these symptoms and take action whenever they appear. Once you continue on the road, the car will consume much more fuel to set up the impacted traction and will be much more unstable on the winter road.
What Happens When The Tires Heat Up?
Fluctuation in tire pressure due to temperature change is actually a serious risk factor. Imagine that in the springtime, the tires have normal pressure in the morning. During the day, temperatures rise a lot, expanding the air in the tires. As a result, they over-inflate, which can lead to a flat tire or even a blowout at the most unexpected moment.
With a little luck, maybe a blowout won't happen. However, the risk is still eminent, because driving with over-inflated tires leads to a compromised grip on the road. The car becomes much too unstable on the road and a driver without sufficient experience can lose control of it.
Tire Pressure Issues In Late Spring/Summer
Specialists recommend visually inspecting your tires during the summer. Draw attention to their wear, because too much tire pressure usually brings about uneven wear.
The TPMS often indicates too high pressure. However, it reacts only after about 20 minutes after you start the journey. Do not forget that the friction of the tire with the road during the ride generates additional heat. If in this context, the tires have too much pressure before starting the road, the friction will add even more pressure. Respectively, it is mandatory to react to the TPMS indicator when it turns on and to adjust the pressure as soon as possible.
In such cases, you don't need to find a technical service center. You can regulate the pressure of the tire by yourself. All you have to do is remove the valve stem cap of the tire. After that, press the pin inside the valve down with a small tool so that it releases air. Do not let too much air out of the tire.
It would be good to check the PSI after each air decompression if you have such a tool. After finishing the whole procedure, don't forget to put the valve stem back in place.
Keep in mind that air decompression is not necessary on all 4 tires. Only one or 2 of them may have high pressure. Your TPMS will let you know which tires have high pressure. You have to correct those ones.
Keep An Eye On Tire Pressure Changing
I recommend you be proactive and have an attitude. The correct tire pressure of your car is one of the decisive factors that ensure a safe and smooth ride. If you feel that you do not understand the language of your car when the tires are over or under-inflated, do not hesitate to ask for help at the nearest technical service center. Your traffic safety is a priority. And your safety is directly proportional to tire performance and pressure variations.
In the same context, keep in mind that the life of your tires depends a lot on "thermal equilibrium". I think you know what I mean, but I will reiterate. The temperature balance on the tires refers to the rate of heat emitted by the tire in relation to the rate at which it begins to deteriorate because of that heat. Respectively, not only the weather temperature influences the tire pressure, but also the heat it emits during the ride.
Higher temperatures affect the texture of the tire. Other factors such as braking mode (aggressive or soft) or turning speed also influence the rate of heat that falls on the tire. If we add weather temperature to this list, we get a cumulative effect that affects tire pressure.
So don't neglect the impact of temperature on your tires for your safety on the road as well as to avoid premature degradation of your tires. Keep an eye on your pressure monitoring system to take action right away with the first sign of pressure abnormalities.