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

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Comments

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    "...the 225x55x16 tire on my mustang puts a lot more rubber to the road."

    That's counterintuitive. Are you sure about that?
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,002
    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: 12,692
    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: 9,724
    there is a lot less 'open space' in the mustang tires than the fusion,although they are the same width.
  • bvdj84bvdj84 Posts: 1,721
    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: 16,636
    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.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,002
    Like most things in the automotive world, it's all about balance. Bigger isn't always better, but neither is smaller. Every car out there has a size that's "just right" for it, and naturally it's going to vary from car to car.

    I remember when most generic family cars back in the day came with a 75-series radial standard. For instance, the 195/75/R15's on my 1980 Malibu, or the 205/75/R15's on my grandmother's '85 LeSabre. My old '69 Dart had bias-ply tires that roughly equated to a 195/75/R14. With cars like this, it seemed like going down to a 70-series, but bumping up one, maybe two tread width sizes was all it really took to improve these cars' handling considerably, with little loss in comfort. But going down to a 65 or 60-series tire would just make it ride rougher without giving you any better handling. As for tread width, go too wide, and those tires will get downright scary in wet weather!
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,724
    which do you think has more tire patch? a 255 winter tire, or a 215 slick tire? :surprise:
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    Do you want to dig down to the pavement and skid or float on top of the snow and skid? :shades:

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  • Karen_CMKaren_CM Posts: 5,018
    A reporter from a large national newspaper is looking to speak to consumers who is delaying purchasing new tires or purchased cheaper tires because of the economy. If you’re interested in speaking to the reporter, please contact Chintan Talati at ctalati@edmunds.com with your daytime contact information no later than June 25, 2008.

    Community Manager If you have any questions or concerns about the Forums, send me an email, karen@edmunds.com, or click on my screen name to send a personal message.

  • wwwonewwwone Posts: 4
    Hi, I need expert advice please if you can. My car is a 5 speed stick. It seems to be geared a bit low - as I knew before I bought it - and as a result it's in top gear in no time. It could benefit from a 6th gear to drop the RPM and increase the MPG but it doesn't therefore I am trying to lower my final gear ratio via taller tires. I'm thinking I'd like to find a tire that fits my factory rims and fits reasonably well in my wheel wells. The current tires are Kuhmo 722's and they are ready for replacement. The spec on Kuhmos sized tires indicate they turn approximately 915 Revs Per Mile. I believe the factory rims are 14 x 5.5". Taller tires such as 65, 70, 75, 80, etc reduce the Revs Per Mile proportionally. I'd like to determine what is the TALLEST tire I can go with that will fit reasonably well without to much rubbing. I realize it will throw my speedo off but I am willing to accept that (I can use a GPS to determine the appropriate delta). The car has 21k on it and is generally used for light load commuting. The car is a 2009 Chevy Aveo LS 4 door sedan that we bought new really cheaply and things are very tight and we couldn't pass it up. For us it works. In warm weather I get mid to high 30's (34-38). In cold weather I get low to mid 30's (32-36). It has only one driver and I drive it sensibly. Thanks in advance for your advice!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    Try the Tires, tires, tires discussion too.

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  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I wouldn't go up to more than 165s, from the stock 160s, and then only if your current wheels accommodated that. The improvement in MPG and reduction in RPMs would be minimal, but in the direction you want. I'd accept a compromise, rather than a more radical departure from what the engineers who designed your car specified.
  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,724
    There are low rolling resistance which may provide the the same or similar benefit as changing to a narrower or taller tire.
  • samm43samm43 Posts: 195
    I wouldn't be surprised if VW carried over the taller 15" wheels from the days of war and poor roads. The bigger wheels did not get stuck as easily and they ride better.

    I do not like the direction the market has taken us with lower and lower profiles on taller wheels. So often we buy cars from manufacturers that insult our intelligence on a regular basis. They see a young man wearing his baseball cap sideways or backwards that has blinged out his Civic with tall wheels and lowered suspension, and the next thing you know they assume that's what the whole nation wants. The same could be said for the number of transmission gears race that is taking place lately. There is no need for 7 and 8 speeds and in many applications, even 6.

    As for the big wheels, hopefully it will be sooner than later that that fad wears off. The advantages of lower fuel consumption, more acceleration, longer tire life, less cost, easier balancing and better ride are all right there for waiting. Are you listening, Manufacturers?

    Sam
  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,186
    edited March 2011
    W-w-what? You mean this ISN'T this average car buyer?

    image

    I recall seeing an ad for the 1940 Plymouth offering 20" wheels marketed to rural customers to compensate for poor road conditions.
  • berriberri Posts: 4,202
    I'll gladly bid them a fond adieu also!
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    If you are disappointed in your run-flat tires and/or wish that your car had a spare tire, please email pr@edmunds.com no later than Wednesday, June 15, 2011 and be sure to include your city/state of residence and a few comments on the subject.

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  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    An Edmunds staffer just told me that 26% of new cars don't come with spare tires. I guess roadside service and "tire mobility kits" are all the rage now.

    How much does a tire and rim weigh?

    Now multiply that by thousands, and that's a lot of gas saved by lightening the load in the trunk.

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  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,724
    From what I have read, which could be completely off base, the spare in the well in the trunk was part of controlling the crush, if rear ended.
    If the back of the vehicle is designed to control the impact without adding a lot of weight, it probably is easier to justify the 'tire mobility kit'.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    I suppose most people use their cell for their mobility kit and even skip the Slime, but around here (and around places I like to visit), cell service is pretty spotty so a spare is nice to have.

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  • explorerx4explorerx4 Central CTPosts: 9,724
    Hope I don't jinx myself, but it's been a long time since I had an immediate tire problem.
  • steverstever Viva Las CrucesPosts: 40,817
    Me too (probably two years or more, and that's a long time for me). Better go check the spares and make sure they have air.

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  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,692
    I wouldn't buy a car with run-flats, and having no spare would be a significant strike against any model I was considering buying.

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

  • hpmctorquehpmctorque Posts: 4,205
    I agree. No BMWs for us, then.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 22,002
    How much does a tire and rim weigh?

    A couple years ago, I stepped on the scale with one of the wheels I had taken off my '79 New Yorker. I think it was around 53 pounds. That was for a 15x7 copcar wheel with a 235/70/R15 tire on it.

    I'd guess most compact spares are around 25-30 lb? I actually put a compact spare in my '79 New Yorker, not for the weight savings, but for increased trunk space. The full-sized spare was mounted far forward and to the left, and took a lot of space, while the compact spare could actually stand up on its side, tucked in by the rear quarter panel on the passenger side.
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