It's the time of year in Colorado when the low tire pressure light loves to light up your dashboard. This orange and yellow caution light can make some drivers nervous around the Centennial State, especially if you don't understand what it means.

Why does your low tire pressure light come on in the morning when it's cold in Grand Junction? Should you add air to your tires if you know a cold snap is coming? Let's take a closer look.

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The Low-Pressure Light In Your Vehicle

Low Tire Pressure Light
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Winter temps can drop into the teens and single digits on Colorado's Western Slope. Colorado's Front Range experiences winter temps at or below zero a couple of times a season, so we all get to see the low tire pressure light.

This caution light shows up on your vehicle's dashboard in the shape of a tire with the tire tread at the bottom. An exclamation point is placed in the center of this symbol. It's meant to look like a sagging tire low on air.

Why Extreme Cold Triggers This Caution Light

Science is the reason this caution light comes on more frequently during the winter months in Colorado, as cold air affects the pressure inside your tires.

For every 10-degree drop in outdoor temperatures, you can expect your tires to lose about 1 pound of pressure. If temperatures fall 30 degrees overnight, you can probably expect the tire pressure in your car to drop about 3 pounds of pressure by the following morning.

Adding Air When It's Cold Outside

Should I add air to my tires if I know it's going to be cold overnight? The answer is - maybe. It's important to remember that temps will rise during the day. As your tires warm back up in Colorado, the air pressure increases. If your tires are under two years old, the odds are that your pressure will return to normal as the outdoor temperature increases throughout the day.

If your tires are old, they may leak, requiring you to add air after a cold snap. This can be super annoying and was the sole reason I purchased new tires after last winter ended. So far this year, I have never had to add air after a cold spell.

Always keep a tire pressure gauge in your vehicle during winter to stay on top of the correct tire pressure and drive safely to your destination.

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