Deflating tires to drive on ice, snow can be dangerous trick, experts say

8:54 p.m Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2018 Community News

Some drivers say they have a trick to keep from slipping and sliding in ice and snow -- they let some air out of their tires. 

Experts say it can help, but it can also be dangerous. 

Ralph Creamer of Dayton said it's a technique he started using years ago on the job. 

"I answered calls and I lowered the tire pressure and that helped me out," Creamer told News Center 7’s Rachel Murray. "It gives you good traction and I would recommend it if the snow is deep enough." 

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Under-inflation works by increasing the surface area of the tire - increasing the area where the rubber meets the road. 

"If you deflate it, the center goes in and it makes the shoulders more pronounced as a footprint on the snow," said Mark Breining, manager of Grismer Tire in Dayton. 

Breining cautions that low tires can be hazardous. 

Low tires create too much tire sidewall flex which makes steering sloppy and it could ruin your tires. 

"If a tire runs consistently below 25 percent of its recommended pressure, it is considered a run-flat over a period of time and should be replaced," said Breining. 

The drag created by under-inflated tires will also hit you in the wallet by decreasing gas mileage. 

If you are considering this tactic check with a professional first. 

Buying quality tires is an even better option than under-inflation, according to Breining.