With winter soon arriving, many drivers will get into their cars and see their TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) light turn on. This is the warning sign for low tire pressure, which although easily remedied, can be extremely dangerous. Most car manufacturers provide the ideal PSI for each tire on the driver’s side door frame and in the owner’s manual (usually about 35 PSI). But what is the lowest PSI that you can safely drive on? The lowest tire pressure that you should drive on is your manufacturer’s recommendation. Anything below 20 PSI is considered a flat tire.
What Affects Tire Pressure?
There are numerous factors that can affect your tire pressure but the two most common are air temperature and foreign objects:
1. Air temperature– The most common reason for low tire pressure is air temperature. Cold temperatures cause the air in your tire to compress, leading to a lower overall PSI. Although no air is escaping, your car can still suffer many of the same problems as a deflated tire.
2. Foreign Object- These can be nails, screws, rocks, or even glass which can puncture your tire and lead to a slow, drawn out air leak. Some of these foreign objects may be particularly small, making them difficult to locate.
What Happens If Your Tire Pressure Is Too Low?
Low tire pressure is an extremely dangerous situation that if left unresolved, can lead to blowouts and other accidents. When tire pressure is too low, the weight of the car puts the rubber under additional stress, creating heat that can melt your tires causing irreparable damage.
In addition to the possibility of accidents, low tire pressure can cause lower fuel economy. As your car drives on flatter tires, the surface area of the tire increases, creating more friction. To overcome this, your car must produce more power which consumes more fuel.
What You Should Do If Your Tire Pressure Is Low
The first thing you should do if you have low tire pressure is to try and find the source of the problem. If the source of your low tire pressure is the cold temperatures, then it is best to just add some additional air to the tire to bring the PSI back up to manufacturer recommendations. If the source of your low tire pressure is a foreign object, then you have a couple of options. If it is possible for you to patch your tire yourself, you should do so. If not, then calling a tow truck to take your car to the nearest tire shop is your best option. It is unsafe to drive on a flat tire so calling a tow truck is also the safest option.
Titan Towing Can Keep You Safe!
If your tire pressure is ever too low or if you have any doubts about your car’s ability to drive, Titan Towing can help you get your car to a certified mechanic in a safe way. Get in touch with us to stay safe on the roads!