Deflate Tires in Snow?

Reader question:

I’ve heard it suggested that letting a little air out of your tires increases the traction when driving in the snow, but this doesn’t make sense to me. You would think it would make you more likely to skid. Which is true?

Allen

Great question.

The basic idea is that you should just leave your tire pressure alone, especially if you aren’t an expert on tires. You don’t know the proper tire pressure for your wheels, and the wrong amount of pressure in your tires can cause all kinds of problems. Having tires that don’t have the right amount of pressure is more likely to lead to blow outs and accidents, even in the best weather conditions. While it’s snowing, you definitely don’t want to have this extra thing to worry about.

Even assuming an expert, it’s really hard to know if such a thing as letting the air out of your tires could actually help in this situation. Mainly it will depend on snow. As they say, the Inuit have three hundred words for every different kid of snow. This is because snow can vary, and you might have to take different measures for different kinds of snow. The thinner your tires are, the more easily they slice through shallower snow. However, if the snow is deep, it might be better to have thicker tires, which means lower pressure.

Regardless of what could be possible, you shouldn’t mess around with your tire’s pressure. If it makes any difference at all with the traction over the snow, it won’t make much of one, so it really isn’t enough to give you a boost in safety or ease of driving in harsh conditions. So, what’s the point. Another reason is that the pressure is less important in regards to traction than things like the rubber compound and the basic conditions in which your tires are.

Cheers,

Fashun Guadarrama.

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Austin Davis, consumer car repair advocate. "Hi there! I love to help people solve their car repair problems and I hope my site was helpful to you today. Thank you for stopping by."