Do ambient air temperatures affect tyre pressure?
If you closely monitor your vehicle’s fuel economy you may have noticed a slight increase in fuel consumption as the winter months roll in.
So what’s changed?
While ambient air temperatures affect vehicle performance in several ways, the most noticeable impact relates to your tyres.
Any significant drop in air temperature will naturally cause a significant drop in tyre pressure. And, because tyre pressure and fuel economy are directly related, you can expect to see an increase in fuel consumption if the air temperature drops and you don’t adjust your tyre pressures accordingly.
TEMPERTURE / PRESSURE RELATIONSHIP
As a general rule, you can expect a 0.1 bar drop in pressure for every 10ºC drop in temperature. This is particularly noteworthy for vehicles living in the interior parts of the country where ambient air temperatures can radically fluctuate.
To make matters worse, most vehicle owners typically check their tyre pressures at a fuel station – after they’ve driven for several kilometres and the tyres are warm.
"As a general rule, you can expect a 0.1 bar drop in pressure
for every 10ºC drop in temperature"
Meaning, it’s not uncommon for tyres to be checked and inflated at +30ºC, only to see a radical drop in air pressure the next morning when ambient temperatures fall to just 10ºC.
The above example could see the tyre pressure fall by up to 0.2 bar.
This is why your vehicle’s tyre pressures should be adjusted in the morning. Preferably, before you drive.
Lastly, as ambient temperatures drop during the winter months, be sure to readjust your tyre pressures accordingly.
An aftermarket TPMS (Tyre Pressure Monitoring System) provides an effective way to closely monitor your tyre pressures in real time, and on a digital display. The system will also warn of any sudden changes in air pressure and potentially prevent further damage to the tyre.