Everyone takes care to check their tire pressures regularly but not many know that used tire pressures are affected by temperature. Here we will discuss in detail about the effects temperature poses to have on tire pressures and what you need to do about it.
The main reason that tire pressure changes with respect to temperature is because air expands and occupies more volume the higher the temperature and a lower volume at a cooler temperature. So if you pay attention to your prevalent ambient temperatures whilst checking tire pressures, it will help in making sure your tires are inflated properly.
Every vehicle’s owners manual has in it a recommended tire pressure. It is also usually mentioned on the driver’s side door or door panel. Keep in mind that this recommended pressure is applicable at a normal temperature of around 70 degree Fahrenheit.
A good rule of thumb to remember is that the tire pressure changes by one degree for roughly every ten degrees of change in temperature. So if the temperature drops by ten degrees, the pressure in the tire will drop by 1 PSI, and if the temperature picks up by ten degrees, the tire pressure will go up by 1 PSI. The reason why tire pressure is so critical is it affects your vehicle’s overall drivability, ride and handling. Having excessive amount of air can result in a rough ride while too low of an air pressure will lead to overheating of the tire, especially in the case of more frequently used tires. Both situations can lead to incidents.
Apart from the tire pressure being affected by ambient temperature, it is also affected by usage, as the tires heat up the more they are used, whether it be driving long distances or traveling at high speeds. In the first 15-20 minutes of driving at normal speeds, tire pressure goes up by roughly 3-4 PSI.
Temperature’s effect on tires mean that they should be inflated while cold, which is usually the case in the early morning, right before you set out for your daily commute. Remember that tires with too much inflation are not fully in contact with the road as the center of the tire expands out more than the sides. Similarly, an underinflated tire’s sides are more in contact with the road than the center. Either condition leads to premature wear on the tire’s tread which in turn leads to shorter tire life and added risk of incident while out on the roads.