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What’s Temperature to Your Tires?

Posted on September 22nd, 2015

Tires are a very important piece of your vehicle. Comparing them to the human body, the tires would be the legs that let you walk, jump and run every day. Without proper maintenance, your tires can’t meet the requirements to provide handling, traction and durability.

Tire maintenance is actually quite simple. It only consists of two things: tire pressure and tire rotations. Typically, tire rotations are done by your dealership or local auto shop and scheduled at specific intervals based on your tire type. This ensures equal wear and tear along the tire tread as the outer wall naturally wears out quicker than the inner wall. Tire pressure, however, cannot be something that you do once and then forget about it. It has to be checked periodically to assure the influences from temperature, time, and environmental elements hasn’t caused the pressure to change.

To find your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure, check the owner’s manual or the tire information placard usually located next to the driver side door. The number you see for tire pressure is measured in psi, or pounds per square inch, and is referencing the cold pressure measurement. What this is recommending is how much pressure should be in the tire in the morning before your car warms up from driving, also known as a cold start.

Since air is a mixture of gases (78 percent nitrogen and 21 percent oxygen with traces of water vapor), tires will expand when heated and contract when cooled. According to tire experts at Tire Rack, a rule of thumb to follow is for every 10° Fahrenheit change in temperature, tire pressure will change by about 2 percent. This means truck tires, which are inflated to 80-100 psi, will change by approximately 2 psi, while cars, which are inflated to 30-50 psi, will change by 1 psi.

For example, in many parts of the U.S., summer and winter temperatures change by roughly -50° F, which correlates to -5 psi in cars and -10 in trucks. Now, subtract on an additional 1 psi per month that passes and you’ll have a total loss of 10-15 psi in your vehicle! That amount of loss in tire pressure is significant enough to reduce your tires’ handling, traction and durability and your car’s miles per gallon.

So, what can you do to help remedy the changes in tire pressure?

  • Check your tire pressure every six months. This guarantees that your tire’s air pressure is checked when the days are cold, as well as when it is hot.
  • Under-inflate in the summer. You want to under-inflate on hot days because your tires will naturally heat up while driving. As we mentioned earlier, hot air expands and your perfectly inflated tires will now be over-inflated.
  • Over-inflate in the winter. Because of cold days, your tire pressures will be lower than you think. This is especially true if you keep your car parked outdoors.
  • Check your spare tire. This isn’t specifically talking about tire pressure, but it’s a very important tip for all drivers. Many drivers have developed a great habit of checking the tire pressures of those in immediate use, but often forget about the spare used in emergency. As a result, the spare is often vastly under-inflated and sometimes unusable in a crisis.

Tire and Temperature

Equal-Housing-LenderMuch like the relationship between your vehicle and its tires, Triumph Community Bank, a division of TBK Bank, SSB, strives develop the same level of affiliation with you. We can customize a loan with great rates and flexible terms to meet your budget, and provide fast, easy approvals — as well as pre-approvals so you can get more car for your buck. For more information, please visit or call (563) 344-3935. Member FDIC