SouthFlorida.com
Hungry for a good conversation? Join our Facebook group "Let's Eat, South Florida" where our readers and writers share tips about restaurants, recipes and more.

Did your tire pressure light come on today? It's probably because of the colder weather.

David Selig
Contact ReporterSouth Florida Sun Sentinel

If the tire pressure light on your dashboard popped on today, you’re not alone.

Weather plays a large factor in your tire pressure, and a sharp drop in temperature — as we’ve experienced in South Florida — can cause your tires to underinflate.

“If your tire pressure has been set during the hot summer months, the first major cold wave will cause the air to contract inside your tire, lowering the pressure, thus setting off your [Tire Pressure Monitoring System],” the website AccuWeather writes.

Tire company Les Schwab says tire pressure “can decrease about 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10 degrees the temperature drops. It's not that more air is escaping your tires, but rather the air inside the tire condenses, taking up less space when it's cold. It's similar to how a cake, just out of the oven, flattens out a bit as it cools.”

So, even though our temperatures are still much higher than our pals up north, the sudden change can trigger that pesky light. It might go off on its own as the temperature warms up, but it’s recommended to check your tire pressure once a month anyway, so this might be a good time to measure the PSI and top them off with some additional air.

As Les Schwab says, “the TPMS light means your tires are at least 25 percent below the proper air pressure. This is a safety risk, especially if you’re carrying a load close to your vehicle’s max capacity. There’s a greater chance of tire failure, compromised handling and increased wear and tear on your tires. Your gas mileage could also suffer.”

So, make the most of that rare sweater day and find a gas station with free air.

David Selig is Senior Digital Editor at the Sun Sentinel. Contact him at dselig@sun-sentinel.com.

Copyright © 2018, South Florida
65°