Can changes in altitude affect your tire pressure?

Yes, actually. Altitude changes can affect the pressure in your tires, though admittedly the change is minimal. Still, any change in tire pressure is a change worth noting because it's the tire pressure itself that carries the weight of your vehicle. So if you live in a mountainous area, or if you plan to drive through one soon, you'll want to pay attention.

As you reach new heights, the air up there tends to thin out. Which means the atmospheric pressure weakens. And no, atmospheric pressure and tire pressure are not the same thing. The air in your tires does not thin out. The difference is in the way your tire pressure gauge reads the pressure within, as it is designed to read ambient atmospheric pressure. Because ambient pressure increases as you go up in elevation, tire pressure would appear to increase. And as you descend, it would appear to decrease.

You can read our full report on this topic: "The Influence of Altitude Changes on Tire Pressure." And, as always, it makes sense to have a working tire pressure monitoring system and an air pressure gauge at all times.

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