How your tires can help you save fuel
Did you know that your tires have a big impact not only on how your car performs but your fuel consumption too? If you watch any form of motorsport, you'll know how important tires are to strategy and fuel-saving; this carries through into your road car too.
It's not just the type of tire that can impact your fuel consumption, though. Seemingly small things like being underinflated can significantly impact your fuel economy. If you're looking to get more miles from a tank of fuel, tires actually play a large part in this.
The type of tire matters
If you're the type of driver who likes a spirited drive in a fun car, tire choice is important because the right tires will give extra grip when you're pushing around a corner. If you're more concerned with economical driving and a comfortable ride, you'll want a tire with slightly different properties.
Tires built for efficiency and comfort (often called touring tires) are a great choice for long journeys. Not only could you see a reduction in fuel consumption but the tires will also filter the effect of small bumps in the road's surface, making for a smoother ride.
Performance tires, on the other hand, feature tread patterns and rubber compounds made for grip. This means improved responsiveness and handling on the road (or the track!) but the trade-off is often increased fuel consumption.
There are some tires that offer the best of both worlds, though. Take the Goodyear EfficientGrip Performance 2. Designed with fuel efficiency in mind, theses tires also offer great handling and braking performance in dry or wet conditions, just in case you come up against tricky conditions or just want to enjoy an exciting ride.
Get your pressures right
No matter what type of tires you have, you need to keep them properly inflated to get maximum fuel mileage. Underinflated tires can increase fuel consumption from anywhere between 0.6% and 3%*. The more underinflated your tires are, the more fuel you'll use.
To find the right pressure for your vehicle's tires, take a look at the sticker on the inside of the driver-side door (if not, check your handbook). Here, you'll find the correct pressures for your front and rear tires. Don't go by the maximum pressure reading on the side of your tire, always follow the recommendations from the manufacturer.
Time to get new tires?
If you're shopping around for new tires with fuel consumption in mind, there are a few things you need to look out for. The first is rolling resistance; this is the effort needed to keep a tire rolling. A high rolling resistance tire means your engine will need to work harder to keep your wheels moving. It's important to look for tires with low rolling resistance as this is one of the main things that will help you save fuel. To lower the rolling resistance of tires, manufacturers use advanced rubber compounds formulations and innovative tread patterns.
The next things to look out for is the weight of a tire. A lighter tire is going to reduce the overall weight of your car. While this difference might seem insignificant, your car's engine isn't going to be working quite as hard without that extra weight. Over tens of thousands of miles, this can make a huge difference to your fuel economy.
Rolling resistance and weight are two prime concerns for tire manufacturers. Goodyear, for example, is working to reduce rolling resistance by 40% and tire weight by 9% by 2025 — from a 2005 baseline — across its entire consumer portfolio.
If reducing your fuel consumption is important to you, you need to drive economically. This means going easy on your inputs; brake smoothly and accelerate gently, where possible. But you should also pay attention to your tires, as they have a serious impact on how much fuel you're using.