How to Reduce Tire Pressure for Snow & Iceby Charlie Higgins
Reducing the tire pressure on your car might be necessary if there’s a lot of snow and ice where you live. By reducing the pressure slightly, you’ll have more traction because more rubber will hit the pavement. Keep in mind that tire pressure does tend to lower itself in winter at a rate of 1 PSI for every 10-degree drop in temperature. Try to follow the recommended PSI as indicated by the vehicle manufacturer, since having the correct tire pressure is important for your safety and can also improve fuel economy.
Unscrew the valve cap on the tire. Use the tip end of the valve cap to let air out of the tire by pushing down the little rod inside the tire valve. You can also use the tire pressure gauge to push the rod down and let air out.
Use the tire gauge to measure the amount of air you are letting out. As you let the air out, incrementally check the tire pressure using the gauge. Watch the PSI reading on your tire pressure gauge closely.
Stop letting out air once the gauge shows the PSI reading that you want. Make sure the reading is not beyond the limits of the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle. Repeat the process for each of your tires.
Check your tire pressure at least once a month. Usually tire pressure decreases naturally during the cold winter month, so you’ll probably have to add more air than take away. Don’t under-inflate your tires too much because you’ll run a greater risk for accidents, rollovers and tire explosion. Very under-inflated tires tend to overheat.
- Consider purchasing snow tires in the winter. These are made from rubber compounds that are more flexible in cold weather than normal tires.
- Check your tire pressure after major swings or dips in temperature.
Things You'll Need
- Tire pressure gauge
- Don’t release air from tires when the wheels are still hot.
- Don't deflate your tires unnecessarily. Tires with very low pressure make driving very unsafe. Refer to your car's manual for recommended PSI.
Charlie Higgins is journalist, editor and translator based in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has written for a variety of lifestyle and niche market websites, including International Food Trader, The Olive Oil Times, microDINERO, Sounds and Colours, Connecting Worlds and The Buenos Aires Reader.