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If you like your fuel economy, choose your tires carefully

7049 Views 24 Replies 16 Participants Last post by  72chevman
I was surprised and happy that I got over 60k miles out of the OEM Goodyear tires, but tire time came and I wanted some black wheels, so I went up to 17" wheels and put on some 205/55R16 Continental PureContact LS tires.

I'm not sure which piece of this setup is the biggest culprit, but my fuel economy dropped dramatically. In the middle leg of my commute where I used to routinely top 70 MPG on my last 25-mile average and where I've hit 80 MPG a few times, I struggle to top 60 MPG now. Hand-calculated tank averages are running 50-52 MPG, which, while still pretty respectable, is a big shift from the easy 55+ MPG I used to get. I doubt I'll see a 60 MPG tank with these wheels and tires.

The PureContact LS is listed an "Eco Foucs" tire and I have them aired up well above what's specified on the door sill. I guess there's something in the tread or tread compound or just that little bit of extra width that makes all the difference. It feels kind of like it did with the Goodyears when I was driving in the rain, which always ate into fuel economy a little.

Now, it handles great. The tires are slightly wider and the sidewall is stiffer and understeer isn't a thing any more. And it looks pretty sharp with the new wheels. But I really miss going 700 miles before the fuel light came on. I'm fueling up between 600 and 650 miles now.

So... choose carefully if you want to keep your fuel economy.
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You indicate the new rims are wider. Wider tires have more rolling resistance.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I went with RTX Black Widow wheels. I can't find any information about what they weigh, but it has to be a little more than stock. I was kind of surprised that neither the stock nor the custom wheels felt very heavy, but I'm not used to handling wheels without tires either.

Maybe I'll have the OEM wheels powder coated black and switch back in another 60k miles.
 

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My initial impressions are that I seem to have lost about ~3 MPG switching from my worn out MXM4 to PureContact LS.

But I went up a size on sidewall (40 to 45), so the speedo is off by 2-3 MPH too.

Hopefully it will increase as they wear in a bit; this was my first highway trip with them. I am EXTREMELY happy with the tires otherwise.
 

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Yes tires have a big effect on mileage however my OEM Goodyears had more road damage than any tire Ive ever seen. By the time I replaced them I had at LEAST 12 patches in them leaving me limping to a tire shop and costing $30 each time. Before these tires, I've only had to patch 3 tires in my life (I've been driving for 15 years).

After that experience, I dont care how much tires save on fuel, that fuel savings doesn't cover all those patches and lost time at work having to deal with flats all the time. If I could I would run 10-ply, Load Range-E, Light Truck tires on my ECO just to never have a flat again.
 

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...my OEM Goodyears had more road damage than any tire Ive ever seen. By the time I replaced them I had at LEAST 12 patches in them leaving me limping to a tire shop and costing $30 each time.
You might be a good candidate for a road hazard warranty :)

Seriously, I pay 15-25 $ per tire to add the warranty, and I'm pretty sure I'm getting my money's worth. It seems like, besides occasional 0-cost patches, I average one tire replaced per set due to some sort of hazard, whether it's one of my kids hitting a curb, or a nail in the shoulder (where it's unsafe to patch). I've had several tires replaced with the only cost being another 15-25 $ for the new warranty.

Doug

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Agree that it's probably the extra unsprung weight you're adding from the wheels, in addition to the added rolling resistance.

These 225 section tires on my RS stick like a mutherfunker but yeah, I'll never get those fuel economy numbers that you're talking about.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Seriously, I pay 15-25 $ per tire to add the warranty, and I'm pretty sure I'm getting my money's worth. It seems like, besides occasional 0-cost patches, I average one tire replaced per set due to some sort of hazard, whether it's one of my kids hitting a curb, or a nail in the shoulder (where it's unsafe to patch). I've had several tires replaced with the only cost being another 15-25 $ for the new warranty.
With very, very few exceptions, I've bought the road hazard warranty and without exception I've never regretted it. I don't think I've ever had a set of tires where I didn't have to have at least one of them patched and there have been a few sets where I've had to have a replacement. The value returned on the number of replacements I've had to have probably covers the cost of all of the tire warranties I've bought.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
If you spend money on new wheels when the original wheels on your car were perfectly fine, you don't really have a basis to complain about fuel economy.
I'm such a complainer, man. :dry:

I've never been one to mod cars much, especially for looks. I went back and forth a long time before I convinced myself to drop the money on the wheels. My wife asked me what finally got me to do it. I told her it's cheaper than a Camaro. Fuel economy is still a lot better than a Camaro too. :)


I'm OK with trading off some fuel economy for some frivolous fun and better handling. But I was surprised by how much impact there was on fuel economy. Not so much a complaint as a warning to others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Not near as much fun to drive tho...:eek:hmy:
You're not wrong.

I've driven high-performance Camros and Mustangs. They're a blast. Can't see me doing a 100+ mile daily round trip in those though. I've got a little extra money to drop on fancy wheels, but I don't have stupid money for double the vehicle purchase price and twice as much on fuel.

Everything's a compromise.
 

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Metal will always weigh more than rubber by a huge margin. Wider rims and wider tires, then just make the difference even larger.

The mileage you get from a really worn out tire will always be much better than a stock tire. Did they do an alignment as well? That could seriously
make that much difference if any angle was changed. The original spec is set for mileage I would think not handling.
 

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I just got my new tires yesterday (64K miles on OEM) and was talking to the sales guy about weight. I went with stock size tires while I looked at options. I would be interested in hearing your longer term report on MPG...My first full commute to work today I was at 57.1 which is still in my normal range.

If you could find the weight difference between stock and your new setup, Maybe you could find things to remove from the car to make up the diff.. just a thought..
 
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