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Losing Pressure

Your tires support the weight of your vehicle, right? Well they don't! It's the air pressure inside them that actually supports the weight. Maintaining sufficient air pressure is required if your tires are to provide all of the handling, traction and durability of which they are capable.

However, you can't set tire pressure...and then forget about it! Tire pressure has to be checked periodically to assure that the influences of time, changes in ambient temperatures or a small tread puncture have not caused it to change.

The tire pressure recommended in your vehicle's owner's manual or tire information placard is the vehicle's recommended cold tire inflation pressure. This means that it should be checked in the morning before you drive more than a few miles, or before rising ambient temperatures or the sun's radiant heat affects it.

Since air is a gas, it expands when heated and contracts when cooled. In most parts of North America, this makes fall and early winter months the most critical times to check inflation pressures...days are getting shorter...ambient temperatures are getting colder...and your tires' inflation pressure is going down!

The rule of thumb is for every 10° Fahrenheit change in air temperature, tire pressures will change about 2% (up with higher temperatures and down with lower). This means that light-duty, standard-pressure tires (typically inflated to 30-50 psi) used in applications on cars, vans and light trucks will change by about 1 psi; where heavy-duty, high-pressure tires (typically inflated to 80-100 psi) used in applications on recreational vehicles, busses and trucks will change by about 2 psi.