How Tires Affect Your Gas Mileage

Nov 2, 2007

Your tires – where the rubber meets the road.

And when it comes to saving money on gas, there’s a lot of opportunity to get better milesge from your tires. Here are some tips for getting better mileage with your tires.

1 – Proper Inflation

It’s been estimated that up to 50% of people are driving around on underinflated tires. While tires that don’t have proper air pressure in them are unsafe, you will also lose 2% of your gas mileage for every 5 pounds per square inch (psi) of pressure that you are below the manufacturers recommended pressure. The reason is that if your tire isn’t inflated properly, there’s going to be more tire touching the road, causing more friction, which reduces gas mileage.

How can you tell if your tires are underinflated? Well, if they look flat they probably are, but it’s not always possible to tell if your tires are properly inflated just by looking at them. In fact, it’s actually quite difficult. What you need is a tool called a tire pressure gauge that you can get from any auto parts store and even your local Walmart or Sears – they’re not expensive. Also, some gas station hoses will have one of these tools built onto them so you can check your pressure when you fill up.

When you’re filling up one tire, make sure you check the rest to make sure that all your tires are properly and evenly inflated.

2 – Type of Tire

Some tires have specialized purposes – like snow tires. Snow tires are really good at driving through snow, but they do so at the expense of gas mileage. If you put snow tires on for the winter, make sure you get them off in spring.

Also, using steel belted tires can help you improve your gas mileage by up to 10%.

And when you’re buying tires, try to fine a tire that has a low rolling resistance.

Wide tires and studded tires will both significantly lower your gas mileage.

3 – Alignment & Balance

Make sure that your wheels are properly balanced and aligned. While this isn’t really something you can do at home without specialized equipment, your local auto repair shop can easily do this for you. Keeping everything aligned and balanced means that your tires will roll as freely as possible, helping you consume less gas.

While there are a lot of things you can do to save money on gas, make sure you don’t neglect looking at improving your tires since they’re the only part of your vehicle that actually touches the road.

Author: Gary Ruplinger is the owner of and the author of 61 ways to save money on gas which is available at absolutely free.

How Tires Affect Your Gas Mileage