Tire pressure varies significantly with temperature because air takes up more volume at higher temperatures and less volume at lower temperatures. Being attentive to temperature when you check tire pressure will help you inflate your tires properly.
Each vehicle has a recommended tire pressure noted in the owner's manual and on the sticker typically found on the driver's door or door jamb. This recommendation is the tire's pressure in psi when it is cold.
Tire pressure will change by one psi for approximately every 10 degrees of temperature change. Lower temperatures lead to lower tire pressure and higher temperatures to higher tire pressure.
In addition to varying with the outdoor temperature, tire pressure is affected by the tires heating up with use. During the first 20 minutes you drive your car, the tire pressure will increase by about one psi every five minutes.
Tires should be inflated while they are cold, typically in the morning before you drive. If this is not possible, check the pressure and note how many more psi they need. Then check their pressure before you fill them and increase their psi by the amount noted in the morning.
Over-inflated tires are not in as much contact with the road and may cause a bumpy ride. Under-inflated tires cause unnecessary wear on the tire treads, loss of steering control, increased friction and lower gas mileage.
- Photo Credit Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Eric Castro
How Temperature Affects the Stretch of a Rubber Band
Many things in nature behave in fairly predictable ways, and predictability lets you make educated guesses about the world around you. For...
Effect of Altitude on Tire Air Pressure
Keeping your tires properly inflated reduces wear and tear on your car and saves gas. Unfortunately, any substantial change in altitude can...
What Is the Effect of a High Tire Pressure?
High tire pressure can have a negative impact on a car's performance, handling and comfort. It can also negatively affect tire life...
How to Inflate Tires in Cold Weather
Properly inflated tires contribute to your driving safety by improving traction and handling. In addition, tires that are properly inflated endure less...
How to Change a Toyota TPMS
A TPMS, or Tire Pressure Monitoring System, is a sensor that is often housed in the tire's valve stem. The Transportation Recall...