Winter driving hacks is something everyone needs in extremely snowy winter needs, whether it’s covering your windshield with a rag or side mirrors with plastic bags, we tend to take all measure to make our lives a step easier in winter.
One of the hacks you have probably heard of is, “Deflate your tires for better traction in the snow”. Should you be deflating your tires for winter? Let us get behind the logic and why you should or should not be following this hack.
Traction is the friction that occurs between two surfaces. For our cars, tire traction is the friction between the roads and our vehicle’s tires. The greater this traction, the better grip the tires will have on the road. Greater traction will give you better driving control. While it’s true that our cars need more traction in snow, to avoid sliding and for safer driving. Now when people suggest you have your tires deflated for winter, they are saying it through this logic.
But it is not that simple. Though true that deflated tires will give you better traction, believe it not, they can give you “too much” traction. Extra traction is a good thing when you’re driving in snow, but it becomes dangerous when you are on plowed roads. Deflated tired will cause the engine to overperform as the rolling resistance will increase.
Risk of Deflating Tires
Deflated tires are the cause of tire failures, loss of control, and irregular wear. Low tire pressure can lead to:
Increase Break Time:
Deflated tired increases stopping time and can cause the vehicle to slide easily on slippery roads and pavements.
Due to the increased tractions, the rolling resistance will increase between the road and the tires. To keep the vehicle moving steadily, the engine will need to overperform to compensate for the power loss due to over-traction.
The more friction the tires of your vehicle have to bear, the shorter their life span will be. Due to the greater surface area being exposed to the roads, the greater surface area will be impacted and faced with damage. This will lead to more repair costs and more tire replacements.
How to Check Tire Pressure?
Now that you have got a grasp on why deflating your tired for winter is a bad option, you will want to keep your tire pressure in check. Even though a small deflation might be hard to detect by yourself, it could impact your driving and your tire’s lifespan significantly. To keep you equipped with knowledge that will make your life easier in winter, let us walk you through how you can check the pressure of your tires.
Step 1- Look for Your Vehicles Recommended Tire Pressure
By going through your vehicle manual, check for the recommended tire pressure. For most passenger vehicles, the recommended tire pressure lies somewhere between 30 – 50 PSI.
Step 2- Use the Tire Pressure Gauge
Without a tire pressure gauge, measuring tire pressure by yourself can be impossible. We suggest you invest in this tool as it is worth the money. You can get a tire pressure gauge from big box retailers. If you are looking for a cheaper option, you can go for a pencil-style gauge. A digital tire pressure gauge will be pricier, but it comes with ease of use.
Step 3- Unscrew the Valve Stem Cap
The next step is to locate the valve stem cap. On your wheel, you can identify it by looking for a silver, blue, green, or black cap. Just take a close look from an outsider’s view and you will identify It easily. Now using a screw, you can unscrew the cap for the next step.
Step 4- Attack Pressure Gauge to Valve Cap
Following the instructions that come in the Pressure Gause manual, attach the gauge to the cap. If the hissing sound does not stop upon attaching, you’re attaching it wrong. Re-adjust it until the hissing stop.
Step 5- Measure the Pressure
Again, using the pressure gauge manual, read out the tire pressure measurements. Is it lower than the recommended? Higher?
Step 6- Replace Valve Stem Cap
Replace the valve stem cap properly and repeat the above steps for each tire.
In case your vehicle tire pressure or lower or higher than the recommended pressure, we suggest you drive your vehicle to the nearest air pump and have them adjusted accordingly. This can save you tire replacement money, and unpredicted accidents and can extend the life of your vehicle tires.
Even though there is a lot of misconception around this topic, deflating your tires’ during winter is a hack you should be skipping. You should not reduce the tire pressure, mainly because it works by handling only the traction issue while exposing you to a handful of others. There are a lot of hacks that can help you with the traction of your tires. If anything, you should be making sure that your vehicle’s tires are not deflated for the snowy roads.