Lower Tire Pressure for Winter Driving

chevrolet
blazer

#1

2000 Blazer 4wd, 235/70R15 Firestone Destination LE’s (All season truck). South Jersey is expecting 1-2 ft of snow on Saturday. I was wondering if lowering the tire pressure would help with traction?



A little background. The door sticker states 32 psi. I use about 36 psi in the Firestones for better steering response. I was thinking of lowering the tire pressure to 28-30 psi to get around at low speeds (<25 mph). Any thoughts would be appreciated.



Ed B.


#2

I would use the door sticker figure. Your vehicle is designed to handle deep snow and your driving ability is far more important that your tire pressure.

I live in a cold region with lots of snow, but drive a normal 2 wheel drive car with good winter tires.


#3

No. Lowering the tire pressure doesn’t make the tread width wider nor change the tread grip characteristics. It is what it is.

Tester


#4

I’m with Doc on this. Lower the pressure to that recommended on the door sticker.


#5

Keep in mind more tire failures occur due to under inflation vs over inflation.


#6

I was wondering if lowering the tire pressure would help with traction?

It can help, but not much and if you over do it, you can make things worse and unsafe on dry roads.

It is true that lower tyre pressure can in some conditions increase traction, but for the most part, that does not apply to modern passenger tyres.


#7

Pressure below recommended amounts helps in conditions where flotation is a benefit, such as soft sand, but on snow you do not want the tire to “float” over the top…rather you want the tire to bite down through the snow. You want exactly the opposite of the effect lower pressure creates.


#8

Thanks for all the suggestions, I’ll set the tires to 32 psi.

Ed B.


#9

If you have good tread and 4wd you are as good as any on the road, unless you are going to chains or grip cables, but if it is that bad they won’t be expecting you at work anyway. Also there is the occasional snow plow that keeps the roads more passable.


#10

My understanding is that lowering tire pressure is done in sandy/muddy situations (like to very low pressures) to increase the contact area, reduce the chance of getting stuck. In snow it’s often better to dig in, so it would seem you wouldn’t want to lower pressure.


#11

You don’t have to do that with 4WD, or really with any car.