Dealing with Changing Tire Pressure During the Winter
Underinflated tires are a drain on your business. Low tire pressure increases fuel usage and wear. Follow these best practices to get optimal performance from your equipment.
Check tire pressure regularly
You can't check tire pressure with a visual inspection. Many tires will look properly inflated even if they're not, which is why it's important to check regularly with temperature changes. In the winter, check tire pressure weekly. The best time to ensure an accurate reading is before you operate the machine or three hours after shutting down. A general rule of thumb is that 10° F air temperature change correlates to a tire pressure change of 1 psi.
Measure tire pressure at the working temperature
Don't measure tires in a warm shop if you'll be working in the cold. Make sure you're taking accurate tire pressure readings in the setting that the equipment will be used.
Inflate tires with nitrogen
To combat pressure fluctuations, consider using nitrogen to fill your tires. There's no added risk of combustion or fire and it prevents ice crystals from forming that could hold open the tire's valve stem. When inflating your tires with nitrogen, continue to fill the tire to the manufacturer's recommended psi.
Slowly roll tires if they have been sitting for long periods in cold weather
When first using a machine after it has been parked, gradually move the machine at first. Cold temperatures can cause the contact surface of tires to go flat against the ground and this will allow the tires to return to their correct shape.
As temperatures warm, continue to keep an eye on tire pressure
Don't let your tires over inflate as temperatures increase. Faster, irregular wear can occur, shortening the tire's life. Measuring tire pressure regularly throughout any temperature fluctuation ensures you'll be working at optimal pressure.