There are two things to consider when thinking about tires and their effect on gas mileage. The first consideration is wind resistance; the other is rolling resistance. Continue reading to learn how these two important factors can impact your vehicle’s overall fuel efficiency
Wind and Rolling Resistance
When a car is driving at higher speeds, it experiences higher wind resistance. This means lower fuel economy. Rolling resistance is the impact the road has on the tires, and how it affects drive-ability. If you change the features (size and width) of your tires, it will then influence the interaction it has with the road; thus affecting the gas mileage. This is where tire width can begin to influence gas mileage.
Many people believe by changing the height of a car’s tires, they can increase its fuel economy. This is not a reliable idea. You see, speedometers are specifically calibrated to the number of revolutions a set of tires makes per mile while driving. If the original set of tires is replaced, the calibration will be off and changes in fuel economy will be blurred.
Shorter tires will calculate at higher gas mileage because they will make so many more revolutions per mile. This negatively affects fuel consumption because it makes the car’s engine work at a higher rpm to achieve the same speeds. Taller tires will do just the opposite while still offering an inaccurate reading.
Tire Width and Gas Mileage
Tire width is one of the only tire size factors that can influence gas mileage in a positive way. For example, a narrow tire will have less wind resistance, rolling resistance, and weight; thus increasing gas mileage. If choosing a narrower tire, be aware that they can make the car’s handling characteristics more difficult to control. It is best to always install the proper size tires for your particular vehicle. A professional tire tech or mechanic will have no problem helping you figure this out. Also, keeping your tires fully inflated can improve gas mileage.
How to Check Tire Tread
What is commonly referred to as the “penny test” in the automotive service industry, is a simple and effective method of assessing a tire’s tread. And you really only need a penny to do it. Once you have your penny in hand, insert it into the groove of your tire. If you can see Lincoln’s head, it means the tread is low and it is time to replace your vehicle’s tires. It’s that easy!
Trusted Tire and Fuel Service in Indianapolis
Call Spitzer Automotive Services at 317-253-3331 for professional auto repair services in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are highly trained and ASE licensed mechanics with decades of experience servicing and repairing all make and model vehicles. We specialize in European and British auto repair and services, and offer those services at the most competitive prices in town.