Tire buying guides
In an age where fuel efficiency is not only a desired commodity but a necessity, it helps to offer every fuel maximizing component to a vehicle. One thing that aids in automotive fuel efficiency is the tires on which a car rolls. Unlike a wheel, tires actually flex and hold to the road through a contact patch.
The contact patch is the area of the tire that actually touches the road at any one time. It is also called the tire's footprint. This part of the tire has a great effect on gas mileage and fuel efficiency. In order to maximize gas mileage on any given tire, there are a few great tips to aid in the process. In terms of fuel-efficient tires, there are several quality selections available and appropriate for a number of vehicle makes and models.
Tips for Maximizing Gas Mileage
When you roll on your tires, there's a certain amount of resistance caused by the contact patch making actual contact with the road. As the tire rolls, it flexes into a small flat surface before rebounding back to its round shape during the rotation. Each tire is manufactured and tested to roll in a very specific way across a road surface.
If you're unaware of the pounds per square inch (PSI) that's ideal for your tires, you can find the information listed on the driver side door jamb, or you can refer to your vehicle owner's manual. If you're still in doubt, your local auto dealership will be able to help in the process. It's necessary to understand that different cars and tire models may call for a different air pressure based on the manufacturer's recommendations. Technicians at dealerships are certified by your automaker and know the exact, up-to-date specifications for your vehicle and the tires on it.
These specifications ensure that the vehicle weight does not overload the tire, creating an inefficient contact patch. Under-inflated tires create more resistance on the road due to a poorly performing contact patch.
Proper inflation of a tire is the key to maximizing gas mileage. Of course, engine efficiency is the key to gas mileage, yet in order to maximize the engine's potential, tires should be optimally inflated. Under-inflated tires will yield poor gas mileage results.
For the best results from your tires, ensure that they are properly inflated to manufacturer standards for your vehicle and make sure to also follow routine maintenance steps for optimizing your vehicle's fuel efficiency. Routine tire maintenance with tire rotations every 5,000-6,000 miles depending on the vehicle manufacturer's recommendations as well as proper wheel alignment and balance will help maximize fuel efficiency along with even tread wear and the life of your tires.
What Makes for Fuel Efficient Tires?
Fuel efficient tires are most often referred to as low rolling resistance tires, which are manufactured to get the most out of a tank of gas. The science behind low rolling resistance tires is quite impressive. There are many variables that create resistance when a tire rolls across the road. There are also various types of resistance that occur regardless of the size of the tire's footprint, based on various tread designs and their interactions with the road surface.
Fuel efficient tires possess a low rolling resistance, which is a classification given to tires after a series of resistance tests. These tires are designed and tested to offer superior traction on the road while also offering low resistance to the vehicle's motion as the tires roll. That low resistance requires less energy from your engine, and in turn, less gasoline.
These tests measure the variables that create rolling resistance, as well as the ways various tread patterns work in relation to surface contact. Nearly every major tire manufacturer offers several options within the realm of fuel-efficient tires or low rolling resistance tires. When shopping for fuel-efficient tires for a car, truck, crossover, or SUV, look for tires categorized as low rolling resistance tires.
Fuel-Efficient Tires Available
As mentioned, the big-name brands within tire manufacturing offer many fuel-efficient tires options. In fact, they produce these low rolling resistance tires within a variety of tire categories, from high-performance tires to non-studded winter tires. Regardless of what type of tire your vehicle manufacturer recommends for your car, you should find an appropriate fuel-efficient tire that will fit your car. Many original equipment tires already have low rolling resistance. Check with your vehicle's manufacturer to find out if the original equipment tires on your vehicle fit this bill.
Several tire manufacturers have developed fuel-efficient tire lines. The Michelin brand offers fuel-efficient tires appropriate for cars, trucks, and SUVs. Bridgestone also offers fuel-efficient tires in a few different tire models. Pirelli, Goodyear, Firestone, and Kumho are just a few of the brands that possess multiple tire models that qualify as low rolling resistance tires enabling maximum fuel economy for a variety of vehicle types.
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