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If your car is equipped with a tire pressure monitoring system (TPMS), you’ve probably faced the dreaded “low tire pressure” warning light (usually a picture of a horseshoe with an exclamation point in the middle!) Often, drivers see a sudden uptick in notifications when the weather turns chilly. This annoying and often ill-timed occurrence may have you wondering, what gives? And do I need to go fill up my tires?

“For every 10-degree drop in temperature, tire pressure decreases 1-2 PSI. PSI stands for pounds per square inch, and is a common unit for measuring pressure. “Cold shrinks – warm expands. It’s typical at this time of year for motorists to get TPMS warnings and then get worried about their tires.” In this case, what’s shrinking is the volume of the air, thanks to the cold weather. Thus, less air equals less well-filled tires.

To alleviate that annoying tire light, check your tire pressure monthly, before driving, when tires are cold. During this time, make sure all tires are at the PSI indicated in your manual.