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How the Cold Affects Our Tire Pressure

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Save for our friends in the deep south (of whom we’re insanely jealous), we’re all currently experiencing some bitter cold and some super pesky snow that is showing no signs of melting. General Motors is reporting a widespread increase in the number of visitors to its dealerships who have been coming in this week with questions about why their tire pressure monitoring system lights came on. In response, GM is seeking to educate everyone on how the cold affects our tire pressure.

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Find out how the cold affects our tire pressure

Find out how the cold affects our tire pressure.

On average, every ten-degree-Fahrenheit drop in temperature equates to roughly 1 pound per square inch (psi) of lost tire air pressure, according to David Cowger, who is the global sub-system manager for tires at the GM Tire and Wheel Lab. But it’s not just the cold weather that’s causing you to lose some tire pressure. You must keep in mind that, on average, your tire will naturally lose between .25 psi and .50 psi each month, just because air naturally passes through rubber (albeit, slowly). When combined with cold weather loss, your tires can lose air rather quickly.

“So if you last checked your tire pressure a few months ago when it was 70 degrees and now it’s 20, a tire with a recommended psi of 35 could be down to 27 or 28 and set off the TPMS warning,” Cowger explained. “It’s very common when the first cold weather arrives.”

So if your tire pressure monitoring system light comes on this winter, try swinging by a gas station to give the tires a quick fill. The light should go off, and you should be good to go. If it doesn’t go off, then it might be wise to stop by a dealership or trusted mechanic for assistance.

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