Most newer cars are equipped with an integrated Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). These systems use sensor technology to alert drivers when tire pressure in one of the tires goes below a predetermined level. As many drivers have observed, it is not uncommon for the TPMS light to illuminate when cold weather settles in.
While predictable, this is not something a driver should ignore. The light comes on because air pressure decreases in frigid temperatures. Experts say that air pressure in a tire goes down 1-2 pounds for every 10 degrees of temperature change. For this reason, if you see the TPMS light come on when it is cold outside, you should be sure to check the air pressure of your tires. It is likely that you will find you need to add air.
There are many reasons why it is especially important to check the pressure of your tires when it is cold outside and to keep tires inflated to the manufacturer recommendations:
- Wear and tear on the tires increases substantially when the pressure is low
- Low tire pressure can make a vehicle sluggish and hard to maneuver
- Tire pressure that is too low can cause your tires to overheat, which could lead to a blowout
- Low tire pressure has a negative impact on your gas mileage and costs you money
It is important to check the pressure of your tires monthly. When checking tire pressure, wait awhile after driving the vehicle until tires have cooled, in order to obtain the most accurate pressure level.