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Temperature swings in Billings could leave your car tires underinflated

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Posted at 5:14 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-18 19:14:13-05

BILLINGS — During the last 24 hours, temperatures have dropped about 42 degrees F in Billings, meaning your car tires could be low on air and cause you trouble on your Wednesday morning commute.

“The best advice I would have is before you get in your car in the morning, just walk around it and kind of visually look at the tires on it and make sure that everything is okay before it’s too late and you feel a pull," said Mark Anderson, co-manager at Staley's Tire and Automotive in Billings.

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Stayley's Tire Co-Manager, Mark Anderson, speaks with MTN News about tires and how they're impacted by cold temperatures.

Snow started falling across the Billings area Tuesday afternoon. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your car tires will lose about one PSI of air, Anderson said. The swing in temps in the last 24 hours means your tires could be about four PSI low.

Underinflated tires mean less traction and a more dangerous ride, Anderson said.

Cars carefully make their way across the overpass in Billings on a snowy Tuesday afternoon.

“If your tires are low, then it doesn’t handle like it should. So then you can get a little sway action there if it’s too soft. Then in the winter too, you want it properly inflated to whatever the door placard says that tells you what the pressure should be. That’s just for the best handling and everything for the tire," Anderson said.

It's not just safety that's at risk when a car has low tires. An underinflated tire can also wreak havoc on your pocketbook if you drive on it for too long, Anderson said.

“A lot of customers will come in and say, well I only drove on it for a few blocks. But as the tire rubs together, it turns to powder on the inside. So then it’s not repairable if that happens, because the inner liner gets compromised and won’t hold air," Anderson said.

RELATED: Q2 Billings Area Weather: Falling temperatures with snow showers Tuesday