Do Tires Need More Air In Cold Weather?

What Should My Tire Pressure Be In Cold Weather? Roadway Ready
What Should My Tire Pressure Be In Cold Weather? Roadway Ready from


As the cold weather sets in during the winter months, it’s important to pay attention to the condition of your tires. One common question that arises is whether tires need more air in cold weather. In this article, we will explore the impact of cold weather on tire pressure and provide some tips to ensure your tires perform optimally during winter.

The Effect of Temperature on Tire Pressure

It’s a well-known fact that temperature affects tire pressure. As the temperature drops, the air inside the tire contracts, leading to a decrease in tire pressure. On the other hand, during hot weather, tire pressure tends to increase as the air inside expands. Therefore, it is essential to monitor and adjust tire pressure according to the prevailing weather conditions.

Why Proper Tire Pressure Matters

Maintaining the correct tire pressure is crucial for several reasons. Firstly, it ensures optimal traction and handling, which is especially important when driving on icy or snow-covered roads. Secondly, proper tire pressure promotes even tire wear, extending the lifespan of your tires. Lastly, it contributes to fuel efficiency, as underinflated tires can increase rolling resistance and result in higher fuel consumption.

Checking Tire Pressure in Cold Weather

It is recommended to check your tire pressure regularly, especially during colder months. Start by consulting your vehicle’s owner manual to find the recommended tire pressure. Remember that the pressure mentioned on the tire sidewall is the maximum allowed, not the ideal pressure for your vehicle.

Use a reliable tire pressure gauge to measure the pressure when the tires are cold. Cold tires refer to those that have been stationary for at least three hours or have been driven for less than a mile at moderate speed. Insert the gauge into the valve stem and press firmly to get an accurate reading.

Adjusting Tire Pressure

If you discover that the tire pressure is lower than the recommended level, you will need to add air. Most gas stations have air pumps that allow you to inflate your tires. Add air in small increments, checking the pressure frequently to avoid overinflating. Overinflated tires can lead to reduced traction and a harsher ride.

It’s important to note that adding air to your tires in cold weather can be a bit tricky. As the temperature rises, the air inside the tire will expand, potentially exceeding the recommended pressure. Therefore, it is advisable to slightly underinflate your tires in winter to compensate for this expansion.

Other Winter Tire Maintenance Tips

Aside from monitoring and adjusting tire pressure, here are a few other tips to ensure your tires are winter-ready:

1. Check Tread Depth

Inspect the tread depth of your tires regularly. In winter, it is recommended to have at least 6/32″ of tread depth for sufficient traction on slippery surfaces. If your tires are worn out, consider replacing them to ensure safety on the road.

2. Rotate Tires

Regularly rotating your tires promotes even wear and extends their lifespan. Consult your vehicle’s owner manual for the recommended rotation pattern and frequency.

3. Consider Winter Tires

If you live in an area with heavy snowfall and icy conditions, investing in winter tires can significantly improve your vehicle’s performance. Winter tires are designed with special tread patterns and rubber compounds that provide enhanced grip on snow and ice.


In conclusion, tires do need more air in cold weather due to the contraction of air molecules. It is essential to monitor and adjust tire pressure during winter to ensure optimal performance, traction, and safety. Remember to regularly check tire pressure, adjust as needed, and consider other winter tire maintenance tips for a smooth and secure winter driving experience.