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Understanding the effect of cold weather on your tires

Key Points

Low temperatures affect vehicle performance, including tires.

Cold weather causes decreased tire pressure.

Rubber becomes stiffer in freezing temperatures, accelerating wear and tear.

Tires may produce more noise and vibration in cold weather.

Handling problems and reduced grip can occur when tires are too cold.

Cold temperatures affect tire durability and increase rolling resistance.

Cold weather Effects on tires

Pressure Decreases:

  • Cold temperatures cause air molecules to slow down and congregate, resulting in decreased tire pressure.
  • Loss of 1-2 psi for every 10°F decrease in temperature.
  • Low tire pressure leads to uneven wear and potential blowouts.

Wear and Tear:

  • Rubber becomes stiffer in subfreezing temperatures, accelerating tire wear.
  • Increased stress on treads and sidewalls due to road imperfections.

Noise and Vibration:

  • Rubber stiffness in freezing temperatures causes increased noise and vibration.
  • Driving over bumps or potholes amplifies these effects.

Handling Problems:

  • Cold tires experience increased rolling resistance, affecting responsiveness to steering inputs.
  • Insufficient grip on underinflated tires makes swerving or cornering difficult.

Tire Durability:

  • Colder temperatures lead to quicker tire wear and increased rolling resistance.
  • Tire replacement is recommended every six years, regardless of visible wear.