Cold Weather & Tire Pressure

tpms_display1Dear Tracy,
I have a new car that has several fancy features, including a tire pressure monitoring system. Since the cold weather has set in, I have been noticing that the TMPS light always seems to be on. A friend told me it’s not unusual for that to happen in cold temperatures, and not to worry. Is this true?
Mara W.

Dear Mara,
Your friend is partially correct, it is common for that light to illuminate in cold weather.  But you should not ignore it. The reason the light comes on is because air pressure decreases in frigid temperatures. Experts say that air pressure in a tire goes down 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. You need to check the air pressure of your tires, and most likely you will find you need to add air to them.

There are several reasons why it is important to check the pressure of your tires when it is cold outside and keep them inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendation:

– Low tire pressure can cause a vehicle to be sluggish and hard to maneuver
– Wear and tear on the tires increases substantially when the pressure is low
– Low tire pressure has a negative impact on your gas mileage and costs you money
– When the pressure is too low, your tires could overheat, which could lead to a blowout

It is a good idea to check the pressure of your tires monthly. Make sure the tires are cold when you adjust the air pressure to reach the most accurate pressure level.