Are your tires flat, or is it just the cold?
Most drivers would imagine a leak is the cause of an under inflated tire, but there’s another reason, and it has to do with the weather.
When you fill your tire with air, you are actually filling it with various gases. The air that we breathe is made up of a mix of gases … mostly nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide.
When it’s warm outside, the gas molecules move around quickly inside your tire, taking up a lot of space and giving you proper tire pressure. However, when the temperature drops, the molecules slow down and stay closer together … causing the air to contract. Eventually, with extreme cold, like this liquid nitrogen that is 195 degrees Celsius, those gases will condense and turn to liquid
And liquid takes up a lot less space than gas. So your tire deflates.
But as you drive your car, the tires start to warm up from friction against the road, and the air inside starts to warm up … so the tires inflate once again.
If we take the balloon out of the liquid nitrogen, it will immediately begin to re-inflate themselves as the gases inside begin to warm and move around again.
When there’s a lot of fluctuation in the temperature, it’s important to check your tire pressure regularly. Underinflated tires increase braking distance and can affect your steering. It also results in poor gas mileage, costing you extra money every time you fill up.
Now that’s Cool Science!