Winter is a perilous time of year. While it brings with it its fair share of happy times, it also carries with it concerns about treacherous roads and the risk of road accidents. According to statistics provided by the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 13-18% of all weather-related crashes occur during the winter season, either due to icy pavements or the presence of snow and sleet. Winter can also harm the state of your car, particularly the components that bear the most strain while driving, such as your tires.
Even if it is equipped with the most reliable parts, cold weather can harm your car’s tires in a variety of ways. Don’t let tire concerns add to your already existing list of winter woes this season. Prepare by learning how winter and your car’s tires are related, and what you can do to avoid such incidents.
Tire Pressure Loss
Loss in tire pressure is a serious concern that could lead to car accidents if left unattended. Unfortunately, severe temperatures have a propensity to wreak havoc on tire pressure, reducing your optimal driving capacity. While high temperatures might cause the tire to inflate and burst, cold temperatures have the reverse effect. Your tire contracts and loses air pressure as a result.
Every tire has a recommended PSI or pounds per square inch. It pertains to the amount of pressure that your tire should reflect. This pressure should be optimally maintained for your tire to sustain traction when driving. Did you know that every 10-degree dip in temperature can cause your tires to lose nearly 1-2 PSI? That’s why, it is recommended that you check your tire pressure regularly and make sure it is adequately inflated to enjoy a hassle-free drive this season.
Checking tire pressure also requires some forethought. It is recommended that you check the tire pressure several times throughout the day, such as once in the morning before your first drive of the day and again later in the day when the temperature has significantly increased. Some newer vehicles are equipped with a tire pressure sensor that detects deviations from the recommended air pressure; nevertheless, if you own an older model, manual checks are the way to go.
Affects Rubber Elasticity
Were you aware that in cold temperatures, tires can lose roughly 45 degrees of elasticity? Aside from air pressure, changes in rubber elasticity are a valid concern during the winter season. Cold weather can make rubber fragile and rigid, causing it to crack or break. This is especially true for high-performance tires, which many of us use throughout the summer. If you reside in a snowy area, avoid high-performance summer tires and switch to winter tires as soon as the season begins. This will guarantee that your tires have sufficient traction when driving.
As a caution, you should keep your car tuned up and well-maintained before winter arrives. To avoid unexpected problems while driving in cold weather, make sure your radiator has an adequate amount of antifreeze. Being prepared and diligent during the cold season will ensure that you are well-equipped to deal with any curveballs that winter may throw at you.