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Will Narrower Tires With Taller Sidewalls Return, To Improve Fuel Economy?



  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    a Dodge Ram in a parking lot, and it is like the 3rd one I have seen in a couple of weeks with totally bald tires. Nobody who bought those things thought for even one second about how much it would cost to replace 19" or 20" tires, LOL. $300 apiece at least, I bet.

    Why does a pick-up truck need to ride on 20" rims with 275 mm tires?

    Why does the new 4-cylinder Venza (latest Camry wagon) coming this fall need to ride on 20" rims with 245 mm tires? Think how much gas these two could be saving with appropriately-sized tires.

    And among pick-ups, Ram is far from the only offender, it is just the worst.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,605
    Nobody who bought those things thought for even one second about how much it would cost to replace 19" or 20" tires, LOL. $300 apiece at least, I bet.

    I just looked up replacement tires on Tirerack. The Ram actually comes standard with a 245/70/R17 tire, which I guess isn't too over-the-top these days. Cheapest replacement tire they had was $110 apiece. The 275/60/R20 is optional though...and not as expensive as I thought it would be. Starts at $138 apiece.

    Of course, that's the cheapest of tires. Tirerack's most expensive 275/60/R20 is $234. In the 245/70/R17, they go up to $195, but that's for a deep-groove, off-road type of tire. Their equivalent of the $234 20" tire is "only" $181.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Right, and that is $234 at TireRack, a discount internet tire distributor. Not what you would get at your local name brand tire store, although a place like CostCo would probably get close.

    You figure, $234 for the tire is about $280 out the door including tax, mounting and balancing, tire stem, and disposal fee. So my $300 estimate wasn't too far off. Thanks for clarifying that they had 20" rims, I couldn't remember if it was 19 or 20. :-)

    The only reason the Ram came with 20" rims was to make the whole thing look as menacing and bad-[non-permissible content removed] as possible. Now Ram owners are paying the price for THAT little folly...

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    To replace the 20 inch tires that come on the Supercharged Range Rovers costs just under 2,000 dollars after mounting and balancing and that is what the service department charges the sales department.

    Oh and those tires will most likely last less then 25,000 miles.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Are they run-flats, or what?

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Nope Land Rover doesn't do runflats as most of their vehicles come with full size spares or at least the option of a full size spare.

    They are just really big tires and are 4x4 performance all seasons with a low tread wear rating. The OEM tires are 318 bucks from tire rack but that is a lot less then what our parts department charges us.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Actually, if you change the aspect ratio, isn't that somewhat like changing the car's axle/differential ratio?

    Changing the tire diameter is effectively changing the gearing. If you keep everything else the same, changing the aspect ratio will accomplis that. As a very rough rule of thumb for metric sizes, adding 20mm to the tread and subtracting 5 from the aspect ratio will keep the tire diameter the same.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Maybe your parts department should get them from Tire Rack. ;)
  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    hehe oh I think they do sometimes but they will still charge us more.

    The parts department makes most of the money at a dealership. Service is second and then sales always gets the shaft. Most sales departments at mass market dealers don't' even make a profit and some operate at a loss continuously.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,459
    although my fusion has what i consider to be some fairly wide tires for a vehicle of it's size, 225x50x17, the tread blocks are pretty narrow. the 225x55x16 tire on my mustang puts a lot more rubber to the road.
  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,120
    "...the 225x55x16 tire on my mustang puts a lot more rubber to the road."

    That's counterintuitive. Are you sure about that?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,605
    Those mammoth, oversized truck tires are one thing that makes me leery of getting a newer truck. I just don't want to incur that expense...although at the rate I drive, the tires will probably dry-rot before they wear out!

    When I got the 255/70/R15's on my Silverado back in early 2006, I think the tires were around $375 delivered, from Tirerack, and the local mechanic charged something like $100-125 to mount & balance them, do the valve stems, etc. It was around $500 total, I remember. I thought it was pretty pricey at the time, and started regretting that I didn't just put the stock 235/75/R15's back on. I think that would've only saved me about $40-50, though. I might just put the stock size tires back on the next time around. The wider tires seem to help a bit with hard cornering...not that I do that on a regular basis in this truck! But they also seem to react a bit more noticeably to imperfections on the highway, such as the ruts left by heavy trucks.

    Next time around is probably a long ways off though. In the 2 years and 3 months since I got those tires, that truck hasn't even gone 10,000 miles.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Not all "225"s are created equal. Tread width of a nominal size can vary between manufacturers and even model, and be affected by the width of the rim it's mounted on. The stock 225/50-16 Bridgestone S-02 on the early S2000 is as wide as most 245/50-16s.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,669
    Tire widths have gone up in order to compensate for uncontrolled increases in curb weights, so as to keep handling constant. If these automakers would just take weight loss seriously, tires could get smaller again, a triple benefit to car owners when you consider (1) the decreased cost of replacement, (2) the fuel economy benefits of lighter vehicles, and (3) the fuel economy benefits of smaller tires.

    The sharpest-handling car I ever owned personally wore 195 mm tires. An '02 Celica. That thing cornered on rails. Of course, it helped that it weighed only slightly more than 2400 pounds. The '04 RSX I owned later was less sharp, despite wearing 205s. Of course, it also weighed 300 pounds more. Even tires like the stock 225s on the S2000 are probably overkill, put there to look good (in person and for specs on paper), when 205s or 195s would serve just fine in such a small, light, low car.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • british_roverbritish_rover Posts: 8,476
    Ehh the 225s on the S2000 are probably necessary. The S2000 originally had a snap oversteer problem and I wouldn't want to drive one with even smaller rear tires that would be overwhelmed more easily.
  • bumpybumpy Posts: 4,435
    Actually, the cheesy all-season true 225s on mine slide out steadily before the suspension gets wound up tight enough to snap out. Less grip, but also less risk.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,459
    there is a lot less 'open space' in the mustang tires than the fusion,although they are the same width.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,704
    I have been putting a bit more air in my tires, it says a maximum of 40, so I have been putting 35 in. It has made a world of difference, the dealer normally puts 30 in, and that is just too low, it feels spongy. With 35, it feels more grippy, and hugs the road better.

    I think more cars these days have bigger rims, only because they look better. I truck with small rims, doesn't appeal as much as a truck with nice big rims to go along with them. But, replacing them is more expensive, if you get the cheapest model to replace them, then its only sooner you'll have to do it again. I have 08 Pontiac G6 with Hankook optimo tires on them, I have seen this tire with like 42k miles on them, and they seem to wear pretty good. I don't see me having a problem, because I lease, so I will be no where near that mileage, and I don't drive hard. Keeping tires rotated helps out so much. Having slimmer tires could help getting better mileage.
  • raychuang00raychuang00 Posts: 541
    There's good reason for this: narrower tires compromise handling and braking, since there is less "tire patch" for contact on the road.

    Better solutions include changing the tire tread design to reduce rolling resistance and eventually doing away with the inflated tire completely (remember Michelin's unusual non-pneumatic tire design from a few years ago?) to drastically reduce the unsprung weight of the tire-wheel combination.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,403
    narrower tires compromise handling and braking, since there is less "tire patch" for contact on the road.

    Gee you'd think I was slipping and sliding all over the road with the 165/75-13s on my Fiat Spider. Like most roadsters of the day it's handling was precise and predictable because the cars were light and well-balanced.

    As gas mileage becomes more important cars will be built smaller and lighter, and will provide great handling, braking and safety using narrower, taller tires.
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