How Your Tyres Can Impact Fuel Economy

There is not a driver in the country who isn’t at least remotely interested in improving the fuel economy of their vehicle. But did you know that the tyres you are using have a great deal to do with this? Sure, there’s a bit of science involved, but when it comes to fuel economy, if your vehicle’s tyres are not meeting certain requirements, you will eventually notice it at both the pumps and your wallet.


So, how do you fix this? Below we share a handful of helpful tips on how you can improve the fuel economy of your vehicle just with the tyres you ride on. These come from your J&C Auto’s mechanic Redcliffe.

1 – Air Pressure

Have you ever wondered why tyre manufacturer’s stamp suggested tyre pressure figures into the sidewalls of your tyres or the automobile manufacturer’s stick a decal somewhere obvious on your vehicle with the same information? That’s because they are trying to help you get the most out of your tyres. For example, if you are using tyres on your vehicle that is as little at 8 psi less than the recommended tyre pressure, rolling resistance is increased by as much as 20%.


Here’s a quick physics lesson for you. Rolling resistance is the relation of fuel required to move a stationary object. The more resistance your vehicle has, the more energy is required to move it. Tyres filled to the proper air pressure have far less resistance than those that have deflated from that level. You can fix this by simply checking the tyre pressure monthly and adjusting when needed. You may not see a difference in your fuel economy instantly but will show over time for sure.

2 – Tyre Tread

Tyre tread is sort of like the teeth of your tyres that bite into the bitumen or surface when the road conditions are not perfect, but continue to give you a safe ride as a result. However, the deeper your tread, the more fuel you will need to move forward. Tyres with next to no tread are bald and depending on where you live, driving on bald tyres is not safe. However, slicks that have low tread profiles can improve speed and fuel economy. The road conditions you travel will direct your tyre tread needs.


For example, if you do a lot of off-road travelling or the roads you use are unpaved and rustic, the old dirt track … you will need tyres with chunky tread designed to grab onto this type of surface. The downside here is that your fuel economy will spiral into the dumps as a result. Your best bet is to stick to paved roads and use conventional tyres that are designed specifically for the type of driving you do and where you drive.

3 – Tyre Size

Physics tells us that small tyres on small wheels are easier to move forward on a vehicle which translates to low energy needs. This is good fuel economy. But large wheels are better in the long run for highway driving as smaller wheels force your engine to work harder to maintain a steady speed. It is not uncommon for drivers to switch tyre sizes on their vehicle but that is not always a good idea.


Again, we refer to the decals that appear on your vehicle or information in the owner’s manual from your car manufacturer. They recommend specific tyre sizes for your vehicle for a reason. They have conducted extensive research and tried various combinations of tyre sizes on your vehicle during the development stage. Once your vehicle hit the assembly line, the correct tyres for it had been chosen.

4 – Wheel Type

This is where you have to consider the weight of your tyres. It is of particular importance if you are going to switch sizes of tyres. Should you do this, keep in mind that alloy tyres are lighter than steel tyres. That is, provided the alloy wheels can carry the load you typically put on your wheels. Yes, the load capacity is clearly noted and your choice should factor this in as your top priority.


Also, consider the size of the tyre that will fit your new wheels. That’s because a lighter wheel with a wider tyre is going to increase your rolling resistance. Since that is the item that directly impacts fuel economy, your wheel type/tyre size combination is crucial. Again, stick to what the manufacturer suggests and see if there is a combination that works best for your vehicle and driving style.

In Conclusion

Tyres play a huge role in how your vehicle performs. If you want to save on the amount of fuel it uses, follow the suggestions noted above. For more assistance with your vehicle, see your motor mechanic at J&C Auto’s. Contact us today at (07) 38831900 for car repairs and maintenance.

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