Checking tire pressure on a Toyota.

Tire pressure and why it matters

In Tires & Wheels by HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire

Are any of your car’s tires looking lower than normal? You may have a flat tire, or it could have something to do with the outside temperature.

As winter approaches, it’s important to keep an eye on your vehicle’s tire pressure. 

This is especially true if you are planning to travel long distances for the holiday season or winter vacations.

Tire pressure is one of the items our automotive technicians check when performing a digital vehicle inspection.

Why does tire pressure decrease?

When outside temperatures decrease, the pounds per square inch (PSI) does too. So, all four tires appearing a bit deflated is probably related to the drastic weather change.

If one tire seems lower than the rest, you may have a tire puncture. When performing tire repairs, we follow guidelines from the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association. 

Keep in mind that not all tire injuries are repairable. Depending on the location and angle, the tire might need to be replaced. We can’t patch punctures on the sidewall or inner or outer shoulder. 

Continuing to drive on a flat tire can lead to more tire damage.

Signs of low tire pressure

One way you can tell if you have low tire pressure is if the sidewalls are wider at the bottom. 

Handling problems is another indicator. For example, if the pressure is really low, the sidewall could roll more as a vehicle is turning. The braking may be impacted, as well.

You might also notice more tire wear if there isn’t enough air.

A lot of cars today have a tire-pressure monitoring system (TPMS). You should check your tires if the TPMS light (which is the symbol with an exclamation mark) turns on.

Bad TPMS sensor shown on scanner.
Bad TPMS sensor

Low tire pressure and flat tires can trigger this warning light. It can also appear if a TPMS sensor has a bad circuit board or battery.

If any of your car’s tires appear low or if they look OK and the TPMS light is on, have an automotive expert or autoshop look into the issue. 

The correct amount of air in tires

You may be wondering why the amount of air in a tire matters. Well, it can play a role in the tire’s lifespan.

Tire pressure guidelines for Pilot Sport All-Season 4 Tire.
Tire pressure guidelines on tire sidewall

There shouldn’t be too much or not enough air in a tire. Too little air can cause the outer edges to experience premature wear. Excessive air can eventually result in damage to the tire’s center.

The right amount of pressure varies among vehicles. This information can be found on the tire sidewall or the door jam on the driver’s side. In general, it can range from 32 to 36 PSI.

Toyota Camry tire information placard.
Tire information placard on Toyota Camry

Tire pressure should be inspected regularly. We recommend getting your own tire pressure gauge. After you check the air in a tire, remember to replace the valve stem cap. 

If you aren’t sure how to check your tire pressure or you need a refresher, take a look at our article and video.

Sometimes, drivers will add Nitrogen to their tires. This enables the tire pressure to remain more consistent. Due to the temperature change in fall, the pressure should be adjusted.

HomeTowne Auto Repair & Tire is an authorized Michelin and BFGoodrich tire dealer located near Dumfries, Virginia. Automotive repair services are performed on all makes and models, including oil changes, brakes, alignments, inspections, and computer engine diagnostics.