Has your tire pressure light come on yet? It has for a lot of us. The rapid turnaround of the weather is zapping your tire pressure.
Cold weather has caused problems for Coastal Bend drivers the past few days. In fact, auto repair shops have been swamped with flat tires.
Local gas stations and tire shops like Banuelos Tires and Wheels are one of many businesses that are benefiting from this week's frigid weather.
"It has been pretty steady for us. Cooler weather usually brings down the pressure inside the tires, and we get a lot of tire pressure lights coming on, and we have had a lot of flat repairs also," said Banuelos Tire and Wheel Manager Roy Tavarez.
The recent brutal cold snap is causing tires to deflate, and that becomes a safety issue.
"It is very much a safety issue. The car is not going to stop the same, steer the same, and, in emergency situations, it is not going to react the same. The tire pressure need to be looked at," James Mathis Exxon owner James Mathis.
You can typically find the specific pressure for your vehicle's tires on a sticker on the inside of the driver's side door.
Most newer models have sensors right in the tires to tell you when the pressure is low, but it's best to always double check.
"The biggest reason to keep tires at the right pressure is because it increases the tire wear on the shoulder, which ultimately wears them out faster. And the bottom line to that is, you will feel it in your pocket," said Mathis.
Temperatures at the beginning of the work day this week have held in the mid-30's -- colder, with the wind chill. And for those who have to work in this weather - it's just a part of the job.
"It is tough, but it is the kind of situation that all the guys that work here are used to. So we just keep plugging along. We don't have a choice," said Mathis.
"You start moving around, and it is not too bad. If you are not moving around, you will get cold after a while," said Tavarez.
If your tire looks even a little flat, don't drive on it or you may end up having to replace the wheel.
So how does the weather affect your tires?
Most tires are inflated with air, although some dealers are now using nitrogen because the nitrogen molecules are larger than oxygen molecules. Seepage is thus reduced through the tire walls and where the tire meets the rim. Any moisture in the tire is also eliminated, which can affect inflation.
There is a basic relationship between the change in temperature and pressure. When the temperature outside the tire changes, it will affect the pressure inside the tire.
In the fall, the colder weather will significantly lower your tire pressure. 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 TPMS.
The TPMS alarm is more prone to go off if one of your tires is already slightly underinflated. In addition, cars that sit outside all night will be affected more by the colder weather than those kept in a garage.
To alleviate that annoying tire light, check your tire pressure monthly, during the morning, when tires are cold. During this time, make sure all tires are at the PSI indicated in your manual.
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