It’s that time of year again when the temperatures start to drop. One of the most important things to consider when winter driving is what happens to tires in cold weather.
In this blog post, we’ll talk about what happens to tires in cold weather and how you can drive safely during the winter months!
What Happens to Tires in Cold Weather
When the temperatures start to drop, the cold weather will cause a number of changes to occur with your vehicle’s tires. This includes a change in your tire pressure as well as your tires elasticity.
Drop in Tire Pressure
One of the most common changes that occurs to tires in cold weather is a drop in tire pressure. This happens because as the temperatures get colder, the air inside your tires contracts.
For every 10° F that the temperature outside drops, your tire pressure will decrease approximately 1 pound per square inch.
While this may not seem like a big deal, it can actually have a significant impact on your tires. Low tire pressure due to cold weather can cause your tires to lose their shape which can make them more susceptible to punctures and flats.
It can also cause your tires to wear down faster as under inflated tires have an increased contact patch with the ground. Under inflated tires also decrease your tires ability to brake and steer your vehicle effectively.
To help combat this, it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly during the winter months. You can do this by using a digital tire pressure gauge, checking your tire pressure at a gas station or by taking your vehicle to a local service station.
It’s also important to keep in mind that your tires may lose pressure even if you don’t drive your vehicle. If you live in an area where the temperatures drop significantly at night, your tires may lose pressure overnight.
The first sign that your tire pressure is lower than it should be is a tire that looks slightly flat. If you see this, it’s important to stop and check your tire pressure as soon as possible. This may not obvious to see however.
Another sign is getting a tire pressure warning light appear on your dashboard. This is a clear indication that your tire pressure is too low and you need to stop to check it and top it up.
Change in Tire Elasticity
Another change that occurs to tires in cold weather is a change in their elasticity. This is because as the temperature gets colder, the rubber in your tires will harden.
The change in elasticity and hardening of your rubber tires can have a number of impacts on your tires. It can cause them to become more brittle and susceptible to punctures as well as making them less grippy.
Cold temperatures can also cause your tires to dry out and crack, making them much more susceptible to tire dry rot. This can make driving in winter weather more difficult and dangerous as your tires will have less grip on the road. It’s important to take this into account when driving in winter weather and to drive slowly and carefully.
Tips for Driving Safely in Winter Weather
Now that we’ve talked about what happens to tires in cold weather, let’s talk about some tips for driving safely during the winter months!
First, if you live in an area with cold winters, it’s important to make sure that you have winter tires installed on your vehicle. Winter tires are specifically designed to perform well in cold weather and will provide you with much better grip and traction on the roads.
If you can’t afford winter tires, another option is to install tire chains. Tire chains will provide you with some extra grip and traction on icy roads, however they can be difficult to install and are not as effective as winter tires.
Our second important tip is to make sure that you’re regularly checking your tire pressure. As we mentioned before, the air in your tires contracts in cold weather which can cause your tire pressure to drop.
It’s important to check your tire pressure at least once a month to ensure that your tires are properly inflated, helping prevent flats and other issues. And if you’re driving in an area where it gets cold at night, consider checking your tire pressure before setting off.
Thirdly, you should avoid driving on icy or snowy roads if possible. If you must drive in these conditions, take it slow and be careful.
Avoid any harsh acceleration, braking or steering inputs as this will unsettle your vehicle and may cause it to lose traction and slide over the snow and ice. This is why if you are driving for extended period in cold temperatures, we would recommend fitting a set of winter tires to your vehicle.
To avoid these problems, it’s important to check the weather forecast before setting off on a journey and to plan your route accordingly. If the roads are likely to be icy or snow, it’s best to avoid them if possible.
Our final tip is to make sure you’re prepared for any eventuality by carrying a winter emergency kit in your vehicle. This should include items such as a shovel, ice scraper, extra clothes, blankets, food and water, and a first-aid kit. It is also a good opportunity to check the condition of your vehicles spare tire.
By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay safe on the roads this winter and avoid any problems with your tires!
Winter weather brings a whole host of challenges, and one of the most important is ensuring that your vehicle is ready for the conditions and that tires are in good condition.
Now you know what happens to tires in cold weather, from a decrease in tire pressure to the rubber becoming harder and more brittle. This can make driving in winter weather more difficult and dangerous, so it’s important to take these into account when driving in winter weather.
Installing winter tires or checking your tire pressure regularly are simple ways to prepare yourself for winter conditions. By following these tips, you’ll be able to stay safe on the roads this winter and avoid any problems with your tires!
We hope you enjoyed this article and found it informative. If you have any questions then please leave a comment below or get in touch via email or through social media and we will read and respond to every comment, email or question. Thanks for reading!
What should my tire pressure be in cold weather?
The ideal tire pressure in cold weather is around 30 psi. However, it’s important to check your owner’s manual or the placard on your doorjamb to see what the specific recommended tire pressure is for your vehicle as this can vary depending on the make and model.
Will my tire pressure return to normal if it’s cold?
Yes, as the weather warms up, your tire pressure will increase return to normal. However, it’s important to check your tires regularly to ensure that they are properly inflated as this can help prevent flats and other issues.