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Gordon Rankin's Avatar
 
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Tires in cold states

This is not necessarily a 944 question but..
I have lived in California since 1959. I have driven in snow only 2 times. One of my daughters moved to Chicago and just bought her first car. This morning she found one of her tires flat, supposedly from the effect of the cold on the tire. Does this really happen ? or should she be looking for a puncture or a leak?

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Old 12-09-2007, 01:43 PM
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Has there been a dramatic temperature drop over the past two weeks?

I'm hard-pressed to believe that a properly-inflated tire would suddenly go flat overnight because of the cold, unless there was a significant drop in temperature. Plus, if it got cold enough to make one tire go flat, the other three would go as well.

It's possible that the one tire was already underinflated and this just finished it off, or maybe someone was bored and let the air out. However, I'd recommend looking for a puncture.

BB.
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Last edited by BeerBurner; 12-09-2007 at 02:30 PM..
Old 12-09-2007, 02:28 PM
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I have lived in ND most of my life and every winter the tires seem to lose some pressure. Dont really know the reasoning behind it and never bothered to check into it but it does happen.
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Old 12-09-2007, 04:13 PM
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The cold decrease the volume of air inside the tire (the mass remains the same). A properly inflated tire should only lose a couple PSI due to the cold weather. If her tire is flat there is more going on.

Speedy
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:04 PM
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Yeah, I’ve seen it up here in WI, probably a bad/weak seal at the bead (aluminum rims corrode from the salt). She could have them broke down and sealer applied.
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Old 12-09-2007, 05:32 PM
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although it was cold outside, it was just *really* cold on one corner of the car, causing just one tire to go flat..

heeeeere's your sign..


anywho, cold temps will cause a pressure difference... not a flat tire... especially not just ONE flat tire.. something else caused it to go flat.
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Old 12-09-2007, 06:24 PM
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+1 on 968rz - I was driving thru nebraska on the way to Colorado once a few years ago and after stopping for a meal late at night when the outside temp was below zero F. we started back driving and immediately had a flat. putting on the spare in the cold was not pleasant and when we got back to the truckstop they could find nothing wrong with the tire and so reinflated it and off we went. It never caused a bit of problem the whole rest of the trip. Its something about the extreme cold affecting the seal between the rubber tire and the metal rim. I don't know if its the rubber getting less rubbery in the cold?
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:01 PM
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extreme cold can make you lose 20lbs easy from summer temps, an already low tire can go flat as stated above. its just the mass of the gas....
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:17 PM
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it seems like this was a rather sudden problem though..

how long between the time she purchased the car, until it started getting cold?

what do you consider cold? -5C? -10? it hasn't reached much beyond -10C here - and that's not too cold if she's experiencing similar temps down there.....
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:29 PM
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Like by flat do you mean FLAT? Or just really low? There's a difference.

My snows on my Subaru went down about 15 psi over night once. I could see that happening. But that happened to all four, not just one.

I'd check for leaks or punctures though because thats strange that it happened to one tire, and that it happened so much and so quickly.
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Old 12-09-2007, 07:38 PM
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Thanks all. I'll let you know the outcome..
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Old 12-10-2007, 01:10 AM
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Winter has come to the Chicago area with vengeance. It seems we went from late September to winter within the last 2 weeks. It was cold a couple of days and there is snow on the ground. It has been in the upper 20's - low 30's during the day and in the 'teens' at nite.


Yes you do lose 'air' in the winter. Having said that; a tire going flat due to cold weather, I haven't seen it. I don't consider 20's and 30's cold either. Sub zero or low 'teens', that's cold.

One of two reasons already stated: a bad tire seal or a puncture.

Air contracts as the temperature gets cold; the molecules contract. It also expands in the summertime. You now see places like Costco or NTB that offer Nitrogen instead of air. It is more stable than air and it doesn't retain moisture (water).

Moving from CA to Chicago? Shouldn't it be the other way around. Winter will be an adventure for her.
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Old 12-10-2007, 07:16 AM
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FWIW--good friend of mine from Chicago told me that it's widely known there that you shouldn't add air to your tires when they are real cold since moisture in the valves freezes and causes leaks. Maybe that's what happened?
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Old 12-11-2007, 10:35 AM
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gtroth is correct. I have seen that happen too. Air can retain water. Water can rot tires, cause rust on the seal area and other fun stuff.
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:07 PM
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The PSI rating on your tires is for cold tires.
As the rubber heats up from driving the air inside them expands & the PSI increases - likewise, when cold, the air inside contracts & the PSI decreases.
Nitrogen is not suspectable to this thermal expansion/contraction & is now being used by most tire shops.
++ on the moisture in the air freezing & causing the valve to stick
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Old 12-11-2007, 12:20 PM
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Valve stem o-ring. Temps have decreased tire pressures approx. %10. We've had single digit (F) temps just 100 miles from Chi-town, and below zero a few nights.

More than likely the pressures were too low to start with. Just a guess here; should have been 40 psi but were at 30, then dropped to around 25-28? Or, the valve stem is shot in that one tire. Or, she picked up a nail/screw?

However, in the windy city you'll easily find a shop to replace the tire, wheel, and front end suspension for around $2500.
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Old 12-12-2007, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by looneybin View Post
The PSI rating on your tires is for cold tires.
As the rubber heats up from driving the air inside them expands & the PSI increases - likewise, when cold, the air inside contracts & the PSI decreases.
Nitrogen is not suspectable to this thermal expansion/contraction & is now being used by most tire shops.
++ on the moisture in the air freezing & causing the valve to stick
it is NOT any magic in Nitrogen
just no [or very little] oxygen or water
normal air is already 70+% Nitrogen

BTW what the heck is suspectable??
N2 sure will expand or contract in changing temps
temp/pressure gas law is not very effected by gas type
heat any gas and the pressure goes up

now water liquid [ cold ] vs vapor [ hot ] does have a BIG effect on pressure
Old 12-12-2007, 07:16 PM
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Ok so i didn't spell check, don't flog me
Nitorgen is just more stable than air because of the larger molecule & doesn't migrate thru the rubber as fast.
I must have been asleep in thermodynamics class during the gas pressure demo.
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Old 12-12-2007, 07:41 PM
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Finally got her to call me back. Problem was two fold. She had a nail in the tire that had broken off and the rim itself was bent to the point that it was leaking air. SHe had to replace the tire ( no rubber left) and got the rim bent back . All that for 85.00 in the windy city. This also cured a vibration in the front end.
The dealership also provided nitogen for all the tires.
Thanks all.

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Old 12-20-2007, 12:41 AM
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