Why Tire Pressure Fluctuates in Fall

No vehicle can operate properly without quality and well-maintained tires, and at Jerry Lambert Automotive, we’re here to help. Our wide range of tire sales and service offerings includes everything from basic tire mounting to inspection and rotation, with services available for numerous major tire brands on the market. 

One area that’s particularly important for tires, especially during the fall season we’re in right now, is pressure level. Tires that aren’t inflated properly will wear down faster and also cause potential vehicle issues. The fall is a curious period, though, one where outdoor temperatures fluctuate fairly significantly – and this can have an effect on your tire pressure. Here are some basics on this phenomenon and how to tell it apart from actual tire pressure issues. 

tire pressure fluctuation

TMPS and Temperature

For most vehicles on the road today, tires falling below a certain designated pressure threshold will lead to an activation of the tire pressure light on your dashboard, abbreviated TMPS (Tire-Pressure Monitoring System). While some people panic when this light comes on, assuming their tire is leaking air rapidly and will soon become flat, this isn’t always the case – it can often turn on after a much slower release of air that happens naturally over a long period of time.

In the fall, though, know that temperature might play a big role here. Temperature and air pressure are connected – warmer air expands and increases pressure. Because temperatures vary wildly between day and night during fall, often as much as 50 or 60 degrees Fahrenheit, you might see some big gaps here. 

Mornings

The morning is the most likely time for you to notice tires that seem underinflated. Your TMPS light may start turning on regularly during the morning periods in the autumn season, the result of a cool night lowering the pressure in your tires below the recommended level. In most of these cases, the level is sitting right below this threshold but has dropped temporarily due to the cold. 

Start Driving

So how do you tell if this is what’s happened versus if you might have an actual leak to be concerned about? Well, you start driving. In most cases, the heat from your tires hitting the pavement will increase the pressure back above the required level, and the TMPS light will go out. If this happens and the light remains off for the rest of the day, you know it’s likely a temperature thing. If not, though, and if the light continues to stay on during the day, this could be a sign that there’s another issue at play.

Checking Tire Pressure

If you want to be ultimately sure if any issues are taking place with your tire pressure, consider checking it yourself. This requires a pressure gauge from a hardware store, plus a knowledge of the required pressure levels in your car’s manual. Or if this is a hassle for you, bring it in to our shop and we can test your air levels easily. 

For more on how fall temperatures can mess with tire pressure readings, or to learn about any of our auto repair services, speak to the pros at Jerry Lambert Automotive today. 

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