If your tire pressure warning light seems to be going off more during the winter, it’s probably not your imagination. Air contracts when it’s cold, causing tire pressures to drop between one and two psi for every 1-degree decrease in temperature. Your tires could be 5 to 10 psi lower on a 24-degree day than they are on a 74-degree day—which means they could be lower than required for safe operation.
One mistake drivers sometimes make is to inflate their tires to the psi rating printed on the tire sidewall. But that rating is the tire’s maximum inflation pressure. To get your vehicle’s recommended psi rating, check the sticker located on the door jamb of your driver’s side door. Recommended tire pressures should also be printed in your owner’s manual.
Checking your tire pressure and adding air as needed is a quick and easy way to help ensure your safety while traveling. Properly inflated tires keep the optimum amount of tread contacting the ground, giving you better control of your vehicle, along with reducing the risk of flat tires, damaged wheels, and even blowouts.