The recent winter storms in Southern Idaho have proven that no matter how prepared you think you are, the weather can force you to change your plans and make you think twice about what you think you know.

Wind, rain, ice, and snow don’t just have an effect on the roads. The internal components of your car can be affected by the elements and temperature fluctuations. Two issues you might encounter when you start your car on a chilly morning are a dead battery and a tire pressure warning light on your dash. Cold weather can drain your battery 30 to 60 percent if left sitting, even overnight depending on the age of your battery. If you already have an old or problematic battery, the cold will only worsen any symptoms of failure.

Tire Pressure Light in the Winter is Confusing to Many Drivers

The other issue that plagues pretty much every vehicle in the winter is the TPMS system. The Tire Pressure Monitoring System tells your car when the air gets low in your tires. You should never ignore alert lights on your car, but the TPMS light could be Mother Nature messing with your car.

Credit Canva
Credit Canva

Don't Freak Out Idaho: Low Tire Pressure Light On? You Aren't Alone

If your car tires look fine and you haven’t had issues before, there’s a good chance that the TPMS is showing a code because when the temperature outside gets low the air in your tires moves slower and becomes dense (it basically shrinks the molecules). This can cause tire pressure to drop by about 1 PSI (pound per square inch) for every 10-degree temperature drop. If you parked your car with 35 PSI at night when it was 40 degrees and got in the next morning when the temperature was 25 degrees, you could see a drop in PSI big enough to trigger a sensor.

Kool 96.5 logo
Get our free mobile app

The good news is that a TMPS light caused by cold weather can fix itself by driving the car. As the wheel moves so does the air which will help warm it up. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the air in your tires if a light comes on. Be aware that adding air to a cold tire could cause the PSI to get too high when the wheel warms up. Grab your tire pressure gauge and see how low the tires are. If it’s only a few PSI low it may fix as you drive around. If the air pressure is extra low or doesn’t fix while driving you may need to take your car to a shop to have it looked at.

Disclaimer - this article is not meant to help diagnose car issues, only to help advise of the reasoning behind a common winter issue. If you have vehicle problems you should seek advice from a professional.

RELATED STORY: Here’s Why You Need To Check Your Vehicle Wheelwells In The Winter

The Essential Written and Unwritten Idaho Winter Laws

You need to be prepared for Idaho weather and these are the most important written and unwritten laws you should follow.

Gallery Credit: Credit N8

30 Things People Do When it Snows

More From Kool 96.5