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How to Inflate Tires in Cold Weather

by William Adkins

Properly inflated tires contribute to your driving safety by improving traction and handling. In addition, tires that are properly inflated endure less wear and tear and therefore last longer. It’s especially important to keep your tires at the proper pressure during winter months because of the likelihood of encountering hazardous driving conditions


Check the recommended tire pressure as stated by the manufacturer. If you don’t know the proper tire pressure, look on the tire manufacturer’s website.


Use a tire gauge to check the pressure in each tire frequently during cold weather, about once a week. Don’t forget to check the spare tire. When the weather turns cold, tire pressure will drop about one pound per square inch for each 10 degree drop in temperature.


Measure your tire pressure before you start driving. Tire manufacturer’s guidelines assume tire pressure is measured when the tires are cold, meaning they haven’t warmed up from being driven. If you measure the pressure after driving, you will get an incorrect reading.


Avoid deflating your tires in an effort to improve traction on ice or snow. This method does not work. Severely deflated tires generate a lot of heat and may blow out, causing an accident.


  • Add one PSI of pressure to the manufacturer’s recommendations if you keep your car in an enclosed garage that is warmer than it is outside.

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About the Author

Based in Atlanta, Georgia, W D Adkins has been writing professionally since 2008. He writes about business, personal finance and careers. Adkins holds master's degrees in history and sociology from Georgia State University. He became a member of the Society of Professional Journalists in 2009.

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