Improving your fuel economy by keeping your tires in shape is one of the easiest methods of conserving fuel. One of the best ways to gain fuel economy through your tires is to purchase a good set of high mileage tires, since new tires will always outperform older worn out tires any day.
Tires can be the single most inefficient part of your drive train when they are not inflated correctly, but there are a number of other factors involving your tires which can cause a loss of fuel economy as well. First off you need to maintain the alignment on your car or truck in order to have the tires rolling correctly down the road. This is not only a fuel economy issue but is a safety issue as well.
If your alignment is off, the effects would be twofold. First, there will be an immediate loss of performance due to the added drag of your tires not rolling true to the proper angles on your car. And secondly, the long term effect would be the premature wearing of your tires causing loss of fuel economy. Left unattended, this condition could possibly even create an unsafe operating condition which can cause over or under-steering in a panic situation.
Another cause of tire problems can be worn out shock absorbers or struts. These can make the tire wear out in strange patterns called cupping, which can cause added drag resulting in reduced fuel economy. Attending to this condition immediately can save you excessive wear and tear on your tires and your budget.
A major issue that many drivers tend to ignore is the proper inflation pressure for their tires. This can be a tricky and confusing issue if you are not running the exact tire that came on your vehicle. If you are using the same tire then the actual place to look for correct tire inflation data is on the specification label on the inside of your cars door jamb. This is because the manufacturer has selected the proper tire for the characteristics which best suit the type vehicle it is on.
Major factors are calculated into a complex formula which takes into account major factors such as: maximum speed rating of vehicle and tire, vehicle curb weight of vehicle and load rating of tire, tread wear, traction, and temperature ratings. All of these plus many other factors are used to specify the best suited tire to your vehicles exact specifications. It is generally known in automotive circles that a 10 to 15% safety factor is built into this formula as well.
Make sure that all your suspension hardware is tight and in good working order. For example if you have a loose or cracked anti-sway bar then the car will not handle properly and added stress and wear can be forced onto the tire closest to the problem parts. Ball joints and tie rod ends can be worn, which may allow the wheels to fall out of alignment. This adds to wear and tear on your tires plus lowers your fuel economy.
Keeping the tires at their rated pressure is critical to help you achieve maximum fuel economy in relation to your tires. Keeping them inflated just at the rated maximum pressure will yield the best mileage and the safest and most comfortable ride.
Most experts agree that simply keeping your tires inflated to the correct pressure is the simplest way you can save on your fuel bills with the added benefit of increasing the safety of your vehicle.