It happens every year as the weather turns colder. Drivers run the risk of their low tire pressure light coming on. Don’t ignore it – it’s a legitimate concern this time of year.

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Your tires lose about a pound of pressure for every ten-degree drop in the temperature. The 60-degree highs we enjoyed just a few days ago have been replaced with highs in the 30s, so that could mean a 3 psi drop in tire pressure.

Why? Remember your high school chemistry class? Colder air molecules move slower and take up less space, than warmer molecules. The smaller molecules don’t push up against the walls of your tires as hard. Result: lower tire pressure.

Under-inflated tires can hit your pocketbook hard. Officials say you can expect a drop of .2% for every psi drop in tire pressure.

Do you know what the proper tire pressure is?

In a previous life, I worked in one of those quick oil change places. As a result, I checked the pressure on hundreds of different types of vehicles. They all share the same tip – The proper air pressure is listed on the driver’s door frame. I never looked in an owner’s manual. Just open the driver’s door, look on the door frame, and you’ll see a sticker. That’ll tell you what the proper pressure is.


Simple! Then, every Kwik Trip has free air. At most of them, it’s a simple process. Enter the proper pressure on the machine (say, 35 psi), hook up the tire hose, and wait until the machine beeps. That’s the alert that the air pressure is good.

In the fall, it’s important to check the tire pressure every month through December. Then, it’s cold enough to wait until spring.

As the weather gets colder, remember to check your tire pressure... or hope for cheaper gas!

Do you have other cold-weather “to-dos”? Let me know by email here.

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