Do Tyres Affect Fuel Economy?

Purnika Anand
Est. Reading Time 3 mins

With gas prices skyrocketing due to various reasons, you might ask yourself what you can do to reduce fuel consumption. One of the most overlooked solutions is to ensure that the tyres of your car have the right air pressure. Studies have shown that a set of factors regarding tyres can reduce the consumption of fuel as it reduces rolling resistance.

Know about Essential Tyre Care Tips

What is rolling resistance you might ask. Simply put it is the measure of the force applied at the axle in the direction of travel that makes the tyre roll. Rolling resistance is unavoidable, but it can be reduced. Factors that affect rolling resistance are the amount of friction between the tyres and the road surface, the weight of the vehicle, gravity and inertia, and air drag. With government regulations stipulating that manufacturers make vehicles that are fuel-efficient, they often offer low-resistance tyres as stock.

What are the things you can do with regards to your tyres to improve fuel efficiency?

1) Reduce Carrying Weight

This is the easiest solution as it just requires you to remove any excess weight that you might be carrying in your car. Remove unnecessary things you have in the boot, backseat or on top such as a Roof Luggage Carrier. The less the car weighs the lower the pressure put on the tyres which in turn reduces the rolling resistance.

2) Tyre Structure

Depending on your budget, you can also swap the stock steel rims which are heavier for obvious reasons with lighter alloy wheel rims which can further reduce the car’s resistance. If you are replacing your tyres, get ones with thinner sidewalls and narrower tread depths as they weigh much less than stock tyres. Avoid using wide and chunky off-roading tyres if don’t regularly drive off-road as they significantly decrease fuel efficiency.

Read more: Summer Car Tyres Care

3) Tyre Air Pressure

Underinflated tyres can have a detrimental effect on fuel consumption by as much as 10 percent. It also increases the rate at which the tyre wears out as more of the tyre is in constant contact with the road. Tyres with low pressure have increased rolling resistance causing your car to expend more fuel to move. But luckily, this is one problem that can be fixed quickly as all you have to do is take your car to a gas station or garage with an air pump and get them filled to the optimal level. Check your tire pressure at least once a month and do not just depend on the tyre pressure monitoring system as they only alert you when the air pressure reaches 25 percent below where it’s supposed to be.

4) Tyre Size

For in-city driving where you have to constantly face stop-and-go traffic, small tyres with a small circumference and less surface area are better as it is easier to get smaller tyres moving than larger ones. Larger tyres are more suitable for highway driving as they take less energy to cover the same distance and thus improve fuel efficiency.

5) Wheel Alignment

A vehicle where the wheel alignment is off is harder to steer and your car has to work extra hard to compensate for this which results in more fuel consumption. Rectify this issue by correcting your wheel alignment when you take your car in for servicing.

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