Open Road

When seasons change, check your tire pressure

As cooler temps arrive, many of us, who commute on a daily basis, start to prep our vehicles for cold weather driving. Depending on where you live, you might empty the beach gear from your trunk and replace it with a winter emergency kit and a snow shovel, just in case you get stranded. It's also likely that you replace your windshield wipers, have your oil changed, and have an overall tuneup.

Like millions of other drivers, you may take a quick look at your tires to see if the tread is good and only have them replaced if it looks like you're wearing thin. However, many drivers, who otherwise stay on top of car maintenance, may overlook checking their tire pressure as the weather gets cooler.

Cold Weather and Tire Pressure

If your car has tire pressure light, you may notice that it comes on more often in colder months. You check the air, adjust accordingly and continue on. The following week, the light comes on again. Is it a fluke? Most likely not. As the weather gets cooler and temperatures continue to drop, so does the air pressure in your tires. Generally, for every 10 degree change in air temperature (either hot or cold), the tire pressure will change about 2%, which means that standard-pressure tires may change about 1 psi. Doesn't sound like a lot, but when you consider the drastic temperature change between sweltering summer and frigid winter days, you may see a 4 to 5 psi loss. The more psi you lose, the more likely you are to face some challenges on the road. Here are some reasons as to why you don't want to skip out on checking your tire pressure this fall and winter:

The Dangers of Low Tire Pressure

When you first started driving and learned how to check the air pressure in your tires, the thought of overfilling your tire may have seemed like the worst mistake you could make. However, there rarely seems to be talk of what can happen if you don't have enough pressure in your tire (other than having a leak, which can lead to a flat). Don't know about the dangers of low tire pressure?
Here's what can happen:

Loss of Control: When tires are underinflated, they are unable to carry weight evenly and your steering can become less accurate. When your steering doesn't work as well as it should, you have less control over your vehicle and are more likely to be in an accident, which could actually put you at fault. According to Dallas car accident lawyer, Claire Tate-Rehmet of Tate Law Offices, PC, failure to fix an issue on your vehicle or to maintain your vehicle can make you a negligent driver and can make you responsible for any accidents you may be involved in.

Tire Blowouts: There's a flat tire and then there's a blowout. While each one can put a major damper on your commute, a tire blowout is more dangerous and more likely to injure or kill motorists around you.

Make it a habit of checking your tire pressure on a regular basis, particularly if your vehicle is not equipped with a low tire pressure indicator and don't forget to check the air pressure on your spare tire as well.

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