If you’re like me, your heart sinks a little every time you hand over cash to pay for gas. It’s a shame gas costs more than a typical gallon of milk, but thankfully, with advances in technology our cars have seen a dramatic increase in gas mileage.
Short of going out and buying a more fuel-efficient car, there are many things you can do to improve your current vehicle’s gas mileage. One way to get better gas mileage that you might not have thought of before is the place where your car meets the road—the tires.
Tires are ideal candidates for improving your gas mileage, primarily because of a thing called “rolling resistance.” Basically, the more resistance, the harder your car has to work; and the harder your engine works, the more gas it guzzles. As your tires roll forward, the “rolling resistance” will vary depending on two things: air pressure, and the amount of tread.
Check Your Tires’ Air Pressure
For an immediate improvement in gas mileage, check your tires’ air pressure. The optimal air pressure for your particular car will be outlined in your owner’s manual, or sometimes on a panel located on your car door.
If you find that the air pressure is a little low—and if you haven’t checked it in a while (or ever), it’s likely quite low—inflating them to the proper level can improve your fuel economy by as much as 25%. This is because an underinflated tire has more “rolling resistance.” There’s more rubber pressing up against the road, making it harder for the tires to turn.
Don’t Overinflate Your Tires
When people first hear that they can get better gas mileage by properly inflating their tires they sometimes go overboard and overinflate their tires. Be careful not to overinflate your tires. They were designed to perform at a specific air pressure. Overinflating them can cause them to wear down more quickly and unevenly, shortening the life of the tire.
Overinflated tires can also affect your car’s safety. If the air pressure is too high, it increases your chances of having a blow-out, which can be dangerous. Additionally, overinflated tires will cause the edges of the tire to extend above the ground, reducing the overall traction of the tire and putting you at risk of hydroplaning.
Consider Buying Fuel-Efficient Tires
Tread is an essential part of how fuel efficient your tires are, because it adds resistance.
Many years ago, when gas was cheap and cars were big and full of muscle, tire companies didn’t really pay too much attention to fuel economy. Tires were designed to be safe: deep rivets with plenty of tread. You see, tread may make your engine work harder, but it comes in handy when you have to break suddenly, or when you’re driving in rain or snow.
Now that everyone is much more concerned with gas mileage, the engineers who design tires have looked for ways to improve fuel economy without sacrificing tread. The results are technologically advanced, fuel efficient tires.
Fuel efficient tires utilize better tread designs and improved rubber compounds, which combine to lower the rolling resistance. At the same time, the amount of tread is kept at a level that is safe for your car.
Gas Mileage Savings that Start Where the Rubber Hits the Pavement
Your tires do so much for you—they help you navigate your car in hazardous weather conditions, and they make sure you stop in time. On top of all of this—if you take care of them through proper inflation—they’ll even save you money at the pump.
So the next time you’re in line at the gas station, consider buying a cheap pressure gauge. Your wallet will be happy you did!
Have Your Own Tips on How to Get Better Gas Mileage?
Share your tips in the comment section. If you have any friends that could use this information don’t forget to share this article on Facebook and Twitter.