A few weeks ago, I started thinking it would be nice to come up with a list of trusty tips for tire maintenance. It wasn’t because I think tires are that exciting or interesting, but because I had a tire pop on me while dropping my son off at school here in the Tri-Cities. Since it was 8:00 AM, everyone was working and roadside assistance gave me a three-hour wait time! I decided the best course of action was for me to change my own tire. Surprisingly, it’s not as hard as I would have thought, but the tire was pretty heavy to lift. After getting the tire changed and taking my vehicle to a tire shop to get new tires they gave me some tips on winter tire pressure maintenance and ensuring a safe and smooth ride. In other words, tips to help you avoid the headache of an unexpected tire change or even an accident.
First off, we have to be aware that as the winter chill sets in, it’s essential to pay extra attention to your vehicle’s tire pressure. Fluctuating temperatures can significantly impact tire inflation, affecting not only your car’s performance but also your safety on the road. Here are a nine more key points to keep in mind for maintaining optimal tire pressure during the winter months:
2. Check Regularly:
Regularly inspect your tire pressure, at least once a month, especially before going on long trips. Sudden drops in temperature can cause tire pressure to decrease, impacting traction and overall handling.
3. Manufacturer’s Recommendations:
Refer to your vehicle’s manual or the information placard located on the driver’s side door jamb for the recommended tire pressure. Cold weather can cause tire pressure to drop, so it’s crucial to adhere to these specifications to ensure optimal performance.
4. Underinflation Risks:
Cold temperatures can lead to underinflated tires, reducing their grip on icy or snow-covered roads. Underinflated tires also increase the risk of uneven wear, reduced fuel efficiency, and potential blowouts. Keep your tires properly inflated to minimize these risks.
5. Overinflation Awareness:
While cold weather often leads to pressure loss, occasionally, tires may become overinflated due to changes in atmospheric conditions. Overinflated tires can result in reduced traction, a harsher ride, and uneven wear. Monitor your tire pressure and adjust as necessary.
6. Tire Pressure Sensor Alerts:
Modern vehicles are equipped with tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) that alert you when tire pressure is outside the recommended range. Pay attention to these warnings and address any issues promptly.
7. Spare Tire Consideration:
Don’t forget to check the spare tire’s pressure as well. In case of an emergency, you’ll want your spare to be in optimal condition and ready for use.
8. Adapt to Weather Changes:
Be proactive in adjusting tire pressure as temperatures fluctuate. As a general rule, tire pressure decreases by about one pound per square inch (PSI) for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Be prepared to make adjustments accordingly.
By staying vigilant about your tire pressure throughout the winter, you not only enhance your safety on the road but also contribute to the longevity and performance of your tires. Make it a routine to check and maintain proper tire pressure, ensuring a smooth and secure driving experience in winter’s challenging conditions.
And for those of you who were wondering where tips 9 and 10 are, here you go: for optimal performance and wear, you should also regularly rotate your tires, about every 6,000 miles, and periodically check the alignment, especially when you notice the car drifting or pulling to the side on a flat, straight road. Each of these tips will keep your ride as smooth and safe as possible.
Safe travels! (by Cristal Garcia, paralegal at Anderson Law)