Tire Pressure In The Summer – Increase Or Decrease? (Explained)

The temperatures outside can have large effects on the pressure in your tires.

In this article, we’ll discuss what happens to your tires in hot weather and how you should adjust your tire pressure to avoid blowouts and other issues.

Let’s dive in!

Do You Need Higher Or Lower Tire Pressure In The Summer?

In the summer, your tire pressure should be kept at the PSI recommended by the manufacturer of your car. Summer weather means you may need to decrease pressure in your tires rather than increase it, but always make sure the PSI in your tires matches what your car requires.

Should You Adjust The Tire Pressure During The Summer?

There isn’t a rule stating that you need to change your tire pressure just because the weather has become warmer.

No matter what time of year it is, it’s important that your tires stay as close to the recommended level of pressure as possible. This helps to avoid unexpected issues like blowouts, increased wear and tear, and flat tires.

You shouldn’t adjust the tire pressure to the max psi indicated, stay below that to be on the safe side. You can determine the air pressure levels in your tires by measuring the PSI.

Although summer weather can increase the chances that you’ll need to lower the air pressure in your tires, there is no guarantee that will always be the case.

Tire pressure changes with the temperature, meaning it can change on a daily or even hourly basis.

According to the United States Department of Transportation, it’s a good idea to check the pressure in your tires at least once per month all year long. That should be done before you start driving for the day in order to get the most accurate reading.

How To Check The Pressure Of Your Tires

Before you begin checking the pressure on your tires, you’ll need to be aware of the recommended PSI (Pounds Per Square Inch) for your vehicle.

If you take a look at your tires, you will see a PSI-related number. This is the maximum PSI that is recommended for your tires. It isn’t always the number that is ideal for your tires.

To find the ideal PSI for your tires, open the driver-side door and take a look at the sticker placed on the inside of the door by the manufacturer.

This number is the one you want to aim for.

Next, it’s time to check the pressure on your tires. Follow these steps to check the tire pressure:

  1. Make sure you have a tire pressure gauge. These can be obtained at most automotive stores or stores with automotive sections quite inexpensively.
  2. With a gauge in hand, find the valves on your tires. These should look like small stems coming out of your tires. This should be the only thing sticking out of your tires.
  3. Find the cap on the valve and carefully remove it.
  4. Check your gauge to make sure that the white stick is pushed all the way inside the covering.
  5. Insert the valve into the hole on the rounded side of the gauge. This will cause the numbered white stick to push out of the covering, showing the numbers on the stick.
  6. Read the gauge starting at the lowest number. The highest uncovered number is the pressure of your tire.
  7. Compare your reading to the PSI recommended by the manufacturer. If the number on your reading is lower, you will need to add more air to the tire. If the number is higher, you will need to remove air from the tire.

How Does Warm Weather Affect Tire Pressure?

The temperature in general can have large effects on your tire pressure.

As the temperature changes, the pressure in your tires does as well.

High temperatures raise tire pressure. Low temperatures cause the tire pressure to decrease.

For every 10 degrees of change (in Fahrenheit), the pressure in your tires will increase or decrease by 1psi.

While that may not be a big deal in milder areas with smaller changes in temperature, it can cause some real problems in areas where the temperature fluctuates greatly.

For example, desert areas like Nevada or Texas can have extremely hot days and very cool nights.

The rapid changes in temperature can mean it’s more difficult to keep your tires at the recommended PSI.

Lower temperatures – and therefore a lower PSI – can result in issues like wasted fuel and struggling with getting the car to respond quickly.

Meanwhile, higher temperatures bring a higher PSI and greater risks of flat tires, blowouts, and more.

What Is The Right Tire Pressure For Really Warm Weather?

At any temperature, the correct tire pressure is the one indicated by the manufacturer of your vehicle.

This level of pressure has been tested by the manufacturer to ensure efficiency and safety in a wide variety of situations.

That is also why you’ll likely see a difference between the recommended PSI and the maximum PSI that you’ll find directly on your tires.

As I’ve mentioned, the PSI changes in relation to changes in the temperature. Keeping your tires at that recommended PSI all year long will decrease the chances of problems along the road.

How Do Extremely Warm Temperatures Affect Tires?

Any increase in temperature can raise the PSI of your tires. The higher the temperature becomes, the higher the pressure in your tires will be.

In places where the temperature only rises by 10 or 15 degrees, your tires will only gain about 1 PSI.

Typically, that isn’t going to be enough to cause major damage to your tires.

That said, summer weather in some places may cause the temperature to rise by 20 degrees or more.

If the pressure in your tires begins to rise by 2PSI or more, it increases the chances of dangerous levels of over-inflation.

When over-inflation happens, you may notice problems with the way your car drives. Braking may become more difficult, and your tires may be more likely to be punctured by objects on the road.

Because of that, it’s extremely important to check your tire pressure regularly when you expect large changes in temperature.

Can Tires Explode On Warm Summer Days?

Tires can explode when they spend too much time in an over-inflated state.

If you normally keep your tires at the ideal PSI – but forget to check them on a particularly hot day – it is unlikely that you will experience a tire blowout.

However, PSI that isn’t checked regularly can result in the tires becoming worn down by over-inflation.

When your tires become worn out like this, there is more of a chance that a blowout might occur.

People can often confuse a blowout with a flat tire.

In both cases, the tire does end up flat. However, a blowout is more of a quick explosion, while a flat tire describes a slower leak that happens over time.

Essentially, tires can explode on hot days, but it only tends to happen when an over-inflated tire has been ignored for too long.

As long as you check the PSI on your tires regularly and maintain the recommended level of air pressure, a blowout is unlikely to happen unless there is something on the road capable of causing that damage.

Final Thoughts

For new car owners, tire pressure can seem like a complicated thing.

There are so many different maintenance aspects to remember, it can be very easy to forget that your tire pressure needs to be tracked as well.

Don’t fret if you’ve forgotten to keep track of your tire pressure in the past.

As long as you check the pressure regularly and maintain the correct PSI, you’ll be on the right path to keep your tires in good shape for as long as possible.

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