Gauging Tire Pressure in Winter Weather

Often overlooked, your vehicle’s tire pressure has a significant impact on the performance of your vehicle and overall safety. Where too much or too little air increases the risk of accidents, it’s essential to gauge your car’s tire pressure regularly and account for the effects of temperature change during the winter months.

The Basics
Tire pressure, measured in pounds per square inch (psi), is the amount of air in a vehicle’s tires and relates to its ability to support the car’s weight and any passengers. Optimal psi can be found on your vehicle’s sidewall or in the owner’s manual and varies by make and model.

Your tires’ psi has a direct correlation to its lifespan as well as the overall vehicle performance. Too much and your tire will begin to round out along the corners and result in less of the rubber touching the ground. Not only will this result in less traction and shorter stopping distances, but maximum psi also causes exceptional wear on the middle of the tire which reduces its lifespan.

Underinflation has a similar effect on tires; the likelihood of an accident increases tremendously. If your tire pressure is too low, an excess amount of the rubber is in contact with the road resulting in higher friction. Subsequent overheating puts the tire at risk of a blowout and the driver at risk of a severe accident. In fact, tire blowouts kill over 500 drivers a year and are responsible for over 2,000 accidents. With this information in mind, we strongly recommend checking your car’s tire pressure regularly to stay safe on the road.

Winter Behavior
With winter upon us, it’s important to consider how temperature affects tire pressure and overall performance. According to automotive experts, a change in 10°F will cause your tire pressure to decrease by 1 psi. In New England where seasonal temperatures can differ as much as 50 degrees, the 5lb decrease in pressure will seriously affect your vehicles ability to handle inclement weather. While many drivers believe that reducing their tire pressure for winter conditions will result in greater traction, doing so actually reduces it. While driving can increase the temperature of the tires and fluctuate psi, your vehicle’s optimal psi is measured in cold pressure which is why it’s crucial you gauge the pressure when your tires are cold.

For additional information regarding tire pressure or anything relating to your auto needs, contact or visit the knowledgeable employees and technicians at Sanel NAPA today!

About Sanel NAPA
Since 1920, Sanel NAPA has been a leading auto parts, heavy-duty truck parts, and body shop supplies distributor with over 42 store locations throughout New Hampshire, Vermont, Maine, and Massachusetts. We deliver quality car parts, heavy-duty truck parts, automotive paint and body supplies, and tools and equipment that are durable, dependable, and long-lasting in order to provide our clientele with the best products and services possible. For more information, call (603) 225-4000 or click to find a store near you.

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