Temperatures are dipping and so are car tires. Here's what's happening and what you can do about it

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It's the warning light no one likes to see, but more of them are popping up as temperatures go down.

"Some of them freak out and tell us they have an air pressure light on," Lee Mauldin, a Tires Unlimited employee, said.

That light is part of the 2005 federal mandate that says all new cars must have a Tire Pressure Monitoring System.

It alerts drivers to changes in tire pressure that can cause car problems.

According to national statistics, 1 in 4 cars drive on a tire that's at least 25% under pressure.

"You can destroy the tire, as well as it can blow out and you can have an accident," Chuck Wyckoff, Raffield Tire-Master's store manager said.

Under- or over-inflated tires can even affect gas mileage.

"For every one percent drop in pressure, gas mileage can lower about four-tenths of a percent," Wyckoff said.

During the past few days, Raffield Tire-Master and Tires Unlimited in Macon have seen an increase in drivers coming in to complain about tire problems.

"We've seen probably 20-30 cars per day," Wyckoff said.

"It's been a lot colder this year compared to last winter," Mauldin said. "We've seen a lot more cars with low tire pressure."

Workers say the recent arctic blast is causing temperatures to dip and car tires to go down with them, as moisture in the air of the tires constricts.

"With the cold weather, it causes the tire pressure inside the tire to decrease," Wyckoff said.

Though you can't prevent the bitter cold, there are ways to make sure you're staying safe on the road with properly maintained tires.

Every car has a perfect tire pressure point.

You can find that number on a sticker on the inside of your car door. For just a few dollars, you can buy a tire pressure gauge and check your tires yourself.

Wyckoff also recommends getting your tire pressure checked every 4-6 weeks.

He also says if the tire pressure light comes on, don't dismiss it.

It could be something serious, like a nail in the tire, which could cause you to have a flat tire if you don't address it.

Because air coming out of your tires can mean money out of your pocket and a riskier drive out on the road.

Follow 13WMAZ's Anita Oh on Twitter @anita_oh and on Facebook at Anita Oh WMAZ.

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