3. LOW TIRE PRESSURE
Have you noticed any of the above symbols or messages appearing on your dashboard recently? Its that wonderful time of the year when the weather is starting to cool down at night. As you are well aware from science class as a child, heat expands and cold contracts. The definition of “contracts” is to decrease in size, number or range. That means when the cooler air sets in at night it is typical for your tire pressure to decrease. On cars that are 2007 and newer, per federal law you have tire pressure sensors to alert you when your tire pressure is not at the correct PSI (pounds per square inch.) Some manufacturers began installing these sensors long before the government required them to. During this time of the year when we have temperature fluctuations from warm air in the daytime to cooler air at night these symbols and messages can drive people crazy!
If your vehicle has tire pressure sensors you may notice this light coming on and going off quite frequently until we have more consistent temperatures during day and night. The sensors are very sensitive and can trigger a warning light due to a very small decrease in tire pressure. If your vehicle has a tire pressure recommendation of 32 PSI and they are properly inflated, if the cool air at night makes them drop to 29 PSI then you may have a low tire pressure warning light on when you start your vehicle in the morning. For some people this creates panic because they think they may have a flat tire. While sometimes that is in fact the case, it is not unusual to see those warnings more frequently during this time of the year. If you happen to notice a warning on, inspect the tires, if none of them are flat and none of them look lower than the others, it is most likely a minor decrease in pressure and it will also most likely build back up both as you drive and as the temperature warms up during the day. I always advise people to trust your gut and use your common sense when inspecting your tires. If they look fine, chances are, they are fine. Of course, you could always swing by Brakes Plus for a free tire pressure check!
Tire pressure sensors although frustrating at times, are actually a very useful innovation. They help you to stay on top of keeping your tires properly inflated. Properly inflated tires increase fuel economy, tire life and most importantly safety. So remember the next time that aggravating warning light is displayed on your screen, the sensors do serve a good purpose, they were designed with your best interests in mind and consistent cooler weather will be here before we know it.