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TPMS FAQ: All You Need To Know About Low Tire Pressure In Cold Weather

If you’re experiencing low tire pressure in cold weather, don’t despair—you’re not alone, and there’s a good chance your tires are still in perfect condition.

Read on to learn all you need to know about your TPMS system and how to handle low tire pressure in cold weather, or contact your local TIRECRAFT to speak directly with a tire care specialist near you.

Why Is My TPMS Light On?

Your Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS) tells you when your tire pressure is too low to drive safely. That said, it is no replacement for manual tire pressure checks, and the TPMS light can come on inaccurately due to:

  • Malfunctioning TPMS sensors—Most have a lifespan of 5 to 10 years, dictated by the life of the onboard battery in each sensor, and they are prone to damage over time.
  • Ambient temperature changes—As temperatures drop, air molecules slow down and huddle together, resulting in low tire pressure in cold weather.
  • Recent tire services—Tire changes and rotations can trigger TPMS sensors, in which case you may need to reset or calibrate your system.

If your TPMS light stays on even after you’ve topped up your tire air pressure, get in touch with your local TIRECRAFT to book a deeper diagnostic and TPMS recalibration service.

Why Am I Experiencing Low Tire Pressure In Cold Weather?

Many drivers who detect low tire pressure in cold weather assume that air must be escaping from a hidden crack or puncture, but that’s not always the case.

As it gets colder, the air inside your tire condenses, which means it takes up less space and creates less pressure, even in perfectly healthy tires.

In fact, tire pressure can decrease about 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10 degrees the temperature drops.

Should I Add Air When I Detect Low Tire Pressure In Cold Weather?

Driving your vehicle in cold weather will increase the temperature of your tires, which can cause air pressure to increase by 3-5 PSI. However, this is likely not enough to bring your tires back into the optimal range. Accordingly, for optimal performance, we recommend filling your tires most of the way, leaving just enough space for the air to expand after a few minutes of driving. Aim for 3-5 PSI short of the ideal level on cold days.

What Are The Risks Of Driving With Low Tire Pressure In Cold Weather?

If you detect low tire pressure in cold weather, it is absolutely worth taking the time to find an inflation station.

Even if your tires are in perfect condition, driving with low tire pressure in cold weather can lead to:

  • Increased stopping times
  • Poor handling
  • Poor fuel economy
  • Reduced tire life
  • Uneven wear
  • Increase risk of tire overload/failure

Will My TPMS Sensor Reset On Its Own?

After inflating your tires again, some vehicles will reset on their own after 10 to 15 minutes of driving. However, some will require manual resetting, which could involve a simple push of a button, or a more comprehensive recalibration with special tools. Whatever the case may be, your local TIRECRAFT can steer you in the right direction.

To find a tire care specialist near you, use the Find a TIRECRAFT Tool.