Chilly Air, Empty Tire?
Chilly temperatures don't just usher in a warm bowl of soup and heated blankets, but that pesky tire pressure light. Did you know that temperature affects the density of air? Warm air causes air to expand. Air molecules are spaced out, filling your tire.
As temperatures become cooler, the air molecules contract, bringing the molecules closer together, like a pack of pups huddling to stay warm. Air molecules' contraction causes the air to become denser, preventing them from spacing out and filling up your tire.
So, don't worry, you aren't likely to have an air leak in your tire every winter.
Do you find that your tire pressure light is on in the morning but off by the afternoon? That is because the coldest time of the day is sunrise. The cold air drives the air molecules to contract, lowering the overall air pressure in your tires. Driving your car will cause friction and some heat, and may or may not turn the light off. If the temperature outside rises enough, it causes the air molecules to expand, filling up space and raising your tire pressure, potentially triggering the light to turn off.
If you find your tire pressure light on, you need to check the air pressure in your tires and ensure that the PSI matches the factory recommendation.
Driving too long on tires with air pressure below the factory recommendation can weaken the tire's sidewall and wear out the tires' outer edges, causing them to go bad sooner.
Driving with tires that are overinflated (air pressure is above factory recommendation) can cause the center tread to wear out, resulting in your tires going bad sooner.
Under or over, inflation runs the risk of causing your tire to pop, so make sure every winter to check the air pressure and not over-inflate.