Do Tires Really Impact Your Gas Mileage?
Can tires affect gas mileage? This is a common question that many people have. You’ve probably heard from family and friends that tires have an impact on fuel efficiency, but is this true?
First off, your car’s manufacturer invested a lot of time to find out the ideal wheel and tire package for your car. While you may want to add aftermarket rims and tires, keep in mind that this can affect your fuel mileage. It’s important that the size of your tires match what your manufacturer suggests if your goal is reducing fuel usage and to save money. Keep this in mind when considering buying an aftermarket wheel and tire package.
Tire Pressure Is an Important Factor When It Comes to Tires Influencing Fuel Economy
You can consult your owners manual to find out the recommended tire size for your car. The manual also likely tells you how much air pressure your tires should have. Proper tire inflation improves fuel economy and helps you get closer to the manufacturer’s suggested miles per gallon. If your car has a tire pressure sensor that displays an alert on your dashboard when your tires are low on air, be sure to pay attention to it.
Your driving habits are also important to consider. If you’re accelerating fast and braking promptly, this affects MPG. If your goal is to keep more cash in your pocket and prolong tire life, driving more efficiently and less aggressively is a smart choice.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that the gas stations you visit offer gas with different octane ratings. For efficient vehicle performance, fill your car up with the octane fuel recommended in your owners manual.
This is not related to tires, but a quick tip to maximize your fuel efficiency and reduce the chances of an early car repair is to go to a mechanic for an oil change every 5,000 miles or three months, or you can do it yourself. You may be able to go a bit longer than this depending on what type of oil you have in your car. Synthetic oil doesn’t need to be changed as often as regular motor oil.
Can Tires Affect Gas Mileage? It’s All About Rolling Resistance.
The main way that tires alter your car’s fuel efficiency is through rolling resistance. Rolling resistance refers to energy that’s lost while your vehicle’s tire is rolling. The primary reason for the energy loss is the tire’s slight deformation as it rolls. Ideally, the tires on your car should roll as easily as possible to minimize the amount of energy that’s lost.
As a tire on your car rolls with the vehicle’s weight pressing down on it, the tire’s shape changes constantly as it goes through cycles of deformation and recovery. Think of rolling a soft rubber ball on the floor while applying a bit of pressure. You’ll likely be able to see the shape of the ball changing as you move it on the ground. Once you stop moving it and allow the ball to relax, it goes back to its normal shape. This is sort of what your tires are doing while you’re driving around town.
Basically, rolling resistance measures the amount of effort that your car has to use in order to make the tires move across the ground. Tires with a lower rolling resistance rating use a smaller amount of energy to help your vehicle move. Many manufacturers also use special tread designs and materials to minimize how much gas your car has to use to propel your vehicle down the road.
That’s a long way of getting to the answer you’re looking for. So, to give it to you simply, the answer to the question, can tires affect gas mileage, is yes.
Answers to Some Common Questions
Now that you know how to answer someone if they ask you can tires affect gas mileage, let’s look into some other common questions. There are a lot of myths about tires and fuel economy. Let’s quickly answer some of the more frequently asked questions.
Will New Tires Improve Vehicle Mileage?
It’s possible that putting new tires on your vehicle could improve your fuel economy. It’s likely to be a small difference unless you buy tires that are specifically designed to have low rolling resistance. For example, this tire by Bridgestone is designed with unique technology to offer better gas mileage.
What Type of Performance Improvement Can I Expect from Low Rolling Resistance Tires?
Typically, you can expect between a zero to 3.5 percent improvement in MPG, and the number changes based on your driving style. While this may seem like a low number, when you consider that you’re putting thousands of miles on your tires every year, the savings can add up over time.
Do Worn Tires Impact Mileage?
Worn tires usually have lower rolling resistance than brand new tires, resulting in slightly better performance. This is because there’s less tread to flex. Generally, even if you put new tires on your car, it will take a little bit of driving before the tires perform optimally.