And finally, if the vehicle is parked in the sun, the sun's radiant heat will artificially and temporarily increase tire pressures.
We put some of these theories to the test at the Tire Rack. First, we mounted two tires on wheels. We let them sit overnight to equalize and stabilize their temperatures and pressures. The following morning we set them both to 35 psi. One tire and wheel was placed in the shade while the other was placed directly in the sun. We then monitored the ambient temperatures, tire temperatures and tire pressures through the day. As the day's temperatures went from 67° to 85° Fahrenheit, the tire that was kept in the shade went from our starting pressure of 35 psi to a high of 36.5 psi. The tire that was placed in the sun and subject to the increase in ambient temperature plus the sun's radiant heat went from our starting pressure of 35 psi to a high of 40 psi.
In both cases, if we had set our tire pressures in the afternoon under the conditions of our evaluation, they would have been between 2 and 5 psi low the following morning.
Next we evaluated the affects of heat generated by the tire's flexing during use. We tried to eliminate the variable conditions we might encounter on the road by conducting this test using our "competition tire heat cycling service" that rolls the tires under load against the machine's rollers to simulate real world driving. We monitored the changes in tire pressure in 5-minute intervals. The test tires were inflated to 15 psi, 20 psi, 25 psi and 30 psi. Running them all under the same load, the air pressure in all of the tires went up about 1 psi during every 5 minutes of use for the first 20 minutes of operation. Then the air pressures stabilized, typically gaining no more than 1 psi of additional pressure during the next 20 minutes. This means that even a short drive to inflate your tires will result in tires that will probably be under-inflated by a few psi the following morning.
Add all of these together, and you can understand why the conditions in which you set your vehicle's tire pressures are almost as important as the fact that you do set it.