When inflating your tires, you have to keep in mind the different factors that impact the conditions within after you take out the pump, such as filling your tires during colder weather.
Therefore, you may then wonder if it’s safe to fill your tires during cold weather. If you’d like to find out, keep reading this article to see what I learned!
Is It Safe To Fill Tires In Cold Weather?
It is safe to inflate tires in cold weather, and is actually recommended that you inflate your tires when they’re still cold. Manufacturers provide tire pressure recommendations based on calibrations made when the tire is cold (i.e. their internal temperature hasn’t been raised by driving). Additionally, low environmental temperatures also impact the air pressure in your tires.
If you’d like to learn more about inflating your tires when it’s cold, including why you should do it, how it affects your tires and more, keep reading for more useful facts and tips!
How Much Should I Inflate My Tires In Cold Weather?
Tire manufacturers make their pressure recommendations using measurements made on cold tires (most vehicles require a tire pressure of between 30 and 35 pounds per square inch (PSI)).
Therefore, it’s actually recommended that drivers fill their tires with air during colder weather.
Should You Put More Air In Your Tires When It’s Cold?
When putting air in your tires, you shouldn’t over inflate them. Rather, make sure you always stay within the manufacturer’s recommended range because they’ve already accounted for the cold.
However, you will probably find yourself having to inflate your tires more often during times when it’s regularly cold, such as during the winter.
As well, lower temperatures could bring your tire’s pressure below the recommended range, meaning you should always check to make sure you don’t deviate from it.
Additionally, it’s recommended to always use a gauge to read the pressure in your tires before you start driving in cold weather.
How Cold Does It Have To Be To Affect Tire Pressure?
Major tire manufacturers have conducted tests that looked into the effects of temperature on tire pressure and found that tires gain or lose about 1 to 2 PSI for every 10℉ ( about -12°C ) change in temperature.
This means that every time the temperature goes up by 10℉, the internal tire pressure also goes up by between 1 and 2 PSI and vice versa.
However, if the temperature doesn’t drop below this number, then your tire pressure won’t be significantly affected.
Is It Normal For Tires To Lose Pressure In Cold Weather?
As stated above, it’s perfectly normal for your tires to lose pressure or even go flat in cold weather, which manufacturers have accounted for when producing tires.
Tires deflate in the cold due to the pressure law, which states that inside a sealed area, the volume of a constant amount of gas is directly proportional to its pressure.
In other words, the pressure and volume of gas go up and down at the same rate, so if it’s hot out, the pressure increases and vice versa.
When temperature increases, the air molecules become more energized and they start moving around so the space between them is greater, which is what increases the pressure.
However, when the temperature is low, the opposite happens, which can be tested by checking an inflated ball ( football, basketball, soccer ball etc).
If you put pressure on a sports ball on a hot day when it’s been sitting out in the sun, it will feel more firm than usual, particularly more than it would be if it was sitting outside on a winter morning.
Does Cold Weather Hurt Tires?
Cold weather in and of itself does not harm tires, the effect comes from changes to their pressure but this is something you can control if you follow this guide closely.
What Happens When Your Tires Are Cold?
When it gets cold, you could notice that the tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS) starts alerting you or that the tires actually go flat.
This is due to effects we have already discussed, and you can avoid it by inflating your tires and checking their pressure when they’re cold.
What Is The Recommended Cold Tire Pressure?
Regardless of the environmental temperature, you should always keep your tires within the pressure range specified by the tire manufacturer, which you can locate by looking in the driver’s side door’s frame or by contacting the manufacturer.
For normal vehicles that don’t have to carry unusually heavy loads, the ideal tire pressure is between 30 and 35 PSI on each tire.
Should Tire Pressure Be Higher Or Lower In Winter?
Most people will tell you that it’s good to have lower tire pressure during winter because softer tires are able to grip the pavement better and improve traction. Nevertheless, you should always have tire pressure within the manufacturer’s recommended range.
Overall, don’t drive with either over inflated or under inflated tires under any circumstances, as you’ll be at high risk of tire blowouts and explosions.
However, if you feel you have to adjust your tire pressure, just aim for the lower end of the recommended pressure instead of outright going below it.
However, be aware that decreasing tire pressure to improve traction in snow ultimately does not work, and you’re likely to blow your tires as they generate a lot more heat when deflated.
Rather, you’re better off getting a set of snow or winter tires for better grip and traction on snow and ice, but the pressure should be kept within the range of a regular set.
To know more, you can also see our posts on how long do winter tires last, what is a tire sensor, and if winter tires can be used in summer.
It’s safe to inflate your tires in cold weather and it’s actually recommended that you inflate and check their pressure when they’re cold, before you start driving.
If it’s cold outside, you should check your tire pressure before you start driving to ensure it hasn’t fallen below the recommended range, which is between 30 and 35 PSI for standard vehicles.