Holiday travel may be over, but for many around the country, the cold weather is just beginning to settle in for a nice long stay. Winter means travel becomes more treacherous, especially for the part of your car most closely connected to the road—your tires.

Cold temperatures often cause warning lights to come on in newer cars indicating tire pressure is low. For every 10 degrees the temperature drops, your car’s tire pressure can drop by one to two pounds per square inch (PPI), the Boston Globe reports.

For instance, in the time between 85 degree days in the summer and 45 degree days in the winter, your tires could lose a minimum 4 PSI. To help avoid any issues, be sure your tires are inflated to the manufacturer’s recommendations, which can be found on the driver’s side door or in the owner’s manual. It is the PSI for which your vehicle was specifically designed, and may differ from what is on the tire itself.

Because people often typically check air pressure during winter, it also makes it a good time to check the age of your tires as well. Tread separation and blowouts, some of the most common causes of single- and multi-car crashes, are associated with aging tires, making it especially important to check during months when a blowout could leave you stranded.

The age of a tire can be determined by looking at the last four digits of a tire’s identification number, located where it meets the rim. If the tire was manufactured in or after 2000, when the format was introduced, the first two of those four numbers are the week of the year the tire was made and the last two indicate the year it was manufactured. For example, a tire made in the 32nd week of 2010 would have an identification code ending in 3210.

Most tire manufacturers recommend replacing tires every 10 years but instruct buyers to follow automakers’ recommendations if they suggest sooner. Most do usually suggest sooner, recommending replacements every six years. Also, remember spare tires age as well. Because they ideally never get used, they can easily slip past a recommended replacement date without much notice. This can cause potential issues because, again, age alone can impact tire reliability and safety.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 11,000 tire-related crashes occur each year. Especially during these cold winter months, be sure your tires will get you safely to your destination.

To see if a vehicle crash caused by aging tires could qualify for compensation, please contact Ben Baker, an attorney in our Personal Injury Section, for a free and confidential evaluation of your claim. He can be reached at 800-898-2034 or Ben also has written a book for lawyers about handling tire cases, titled Tire Litigation: A Primer. To order your free copy, visit

Boston Globe
Beasley Allen Report
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Ben Baker, Beasley Allen Attorney
Ben Baker

Ben focuses on product liability cases, especially vehicle crashworthiness.

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