Car Road Trip

What Causes Low Tire Pressure (And The Solutions)

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You may constantly be getting low-tire pressure alerts but can’t tell why.

This article is going to discuss four main things that could be causing the low tire pressure on your vehicle:

  1. Cold Temperatures.
  2. The vehicle’s tire sensor.
  3. The rims
  4. Small tire leaks

1. Cold Temperatures

Cold temperatures will definitely affect the tire pressure, especially if you are driving in winter. 

What causes low tire pressure in winter?

Air usually contracts when cold thus causing the tire pressure to drop.

On the other hand, high temperatures cause the air to expand thus rising the tire pressure, especially when you are driving.

It is recommended that you fill back your tire pressure to the vehicle’s manufacturer’s recommendation whenever the tire pressure drops. 

Check out the Tire Pressure Guide: What is the Proper Tire Pressure For Vehicles?

2. The vehicles tire sensors

Sometimes you will notice that the vehicle keeps warning you when the tire pressure is down.

But when you look at the tires, they all seem to have the proper tire pressure.

First, I would recommend you get a tire pressure gauge to measure the tire pressure just to be sure.

I consider the tire pressure gauge a must-have car accessory because you will also use it to remove air from the tire when it is over-inflated. 

It also comes in handy, especially if you do lots of driving or when you are going on long road trips.

Read more about the Best and Must-have Road Trip Car Accessories.

Secondly, check if the tire sensors have a problem.

You will definitely need to have them checked and probably replaced.

It is worth noting that these tire sensors use batteries that last for only a certain period of time.

So, what this means, is that the battery may die and thus cause the sensors to stop functioning properly.

You may also like: How to Start Overlanding on A Budget (Overlanding Tips for Beginners.

3. The rims could be the problem

Rims may also be the cause of your frequent inconsistent tire pressure.

There are two ways rims affect tire pressure:

  • Temperatures.
  • Rim leaks.

You may also like this List Of The Best All-Season Performance Tires.

How temperature affects your rims

Since rims are made of different types of metals (aluminum, alloy, or steel) they tend to be affected by different temperature changes.

This is because metals expand when hot and contracts when cold.

Rims could hence be the reason why you may be experiencing low tire pressures during the cold/winter season.

The tire pressure will go down in such conditions, as the rim contracts.

Therefore, getting a good set of wheels that will not contract more during the winter season is recommended.

Note:
I would recommend getting a different set of winter rims for your winter tires. 

Not only are they great for the tires, but also save you money in the long run, and promote a good driving experience.

See also: 4 Best Tesla Model 3 Tires (According to Model 3 Owners).

I’ve heard many stories of drivers who had to constantly refill their tires two to three times a day during winter.

However, changing the rims helped solve the problem.

Rim leaks

When your tires leak air around the rims this can definitely result in consistent flat tires. 

Some of the reasons why you may be experiencing rim leaks are:

  • Damaged wheels and tires.
  • Damaged valve and bead.
  • In between the bead and rims may have settling water, dirt, or debris.

This means that you will certainly need to have it fixed immediately.

NOTE:
The wheel damage could be caused by very bad potholes.

Additionally, hitting a curb or a hard object can also damage the tire bead thus causing the tire to leak air.

4. Tire damage

The most common tire damage is nail punctures which cause the tire to leak air slowly.

This can be extremely dangerous, especially when driving for long hours on the highway.

How to spot leaks on your tire

  1. Listening closely to hear where the sound of the leak may be coming from.

The leaking sound is usually a hissing sound.

When you hear more hissing sound at a certain part of the tire, place your hand around that area to feel the exact spot.

  1. Spray soapy water onto the tire and the edges of the rim.

After spraying it with soapy water, monitor and give it time (about 5 minutes) for the best results.

If you see some small bubbles coming out, then that’s where the tire is leaking.

  1. Put the tire inside the water.

A leaking tire will release bubbles once it is dipped inside the water.

This will help to clearly see where exactly the tire is leaking.

If you do not see any tire leaks (in like 5 minutes), turn the tire over and check the other side.

Related: How to Choose the Right Tire Size and Wheels (A Complete Guide).

Effects of driving with low tire pressure

  1. It causes the tires to wear out prematurely. 

This means the tires will wear out faster than expected.

  1. It causes the car to drag.

When the tires have low pressure, the vehicle will strain to move because of the drag.

  1. It is bad for the fuel economy.

When you are driving with low tire pressure, the vehicle will use more fuel because it requires more energy to move.

  1. Affects the driving experience.

You will definitely feel the difference when driving with a low-pressure tire, especially on a highway.

The only time driving on low-pressure tires is recommended is on rough terrains – sand, rock, mud.

Check when to ignore the vehicle’s recommended tire pressure.

  1. It is not good for road safety.

Driving with a low-pressure tire exposes you, your passengers, and other motorists to risks of getting into an accident.

Additionally, this renders the vehicle incapable of fast response in case of an emergency because of its reduced stability.

You might also like The best tires for electric cars (regular VS. special EV tires).

How long can you drive with low tire pressure?

It depends on how fast the tire is losing air. If the tire is losing air at a faster rate then, you won’t go any far.

But if it is a slow air loss, compare the pressure with your vehicle’s recommended tire pressure.

If it is not far from the vehicle’s recommended tire pressure then it will most probably get you to your next destination and have it filled up.

But to save you this stress and hassle, I would highly recommend you get a portable air compressor and tire puncture kit, such as the ones listed below:

  1. AstroAI Air Compressor Tire Inflator

It can inflate your tire in under 5 minutes from 0 to 35 PSI.

It is also very convenient, easy to use, and portable. 

Check out its current price on Amazon.

2. AstroAI Digital Tire Pressure Gauge

This tire pressure gauge gives you accurate tire pressure. 

Check out its current price on Amazon.

Another great alternative to the above tire pressure gauge is AstroAI Pencil Tire Pressure Gauge (10-75PSI).

Check out its current price on Amazon.

Hey, I’m Rose. I’m passionate about electric cars and clean energy. My adventurous spirit and journalistic pursuits make each day fascinating and far greater. I consider traveling not just about the grandeur moments, but the little elements that transform the whole experience.