Reduced gas mileage after tires rotated.

julietjjulietj Member Posts: 15
edited May 2014 in Toyota
Immediately after I had my fairly new tires rotated & balanced on my 2003 4Runner, I experienced a reduction in gas mileage of 2 mpg, the steering seems a little sluggish, and the car just doesn't handle the same. I asked the tire shop about it, and they insisted that nothing they did would result in any of these issues. It seems to me that they could, and I wonder if I should press the issue with them or go somewhere else.


  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Did the shop keep the tire pressures the same?
  • julietjjulietj Member Posts: 15
    Good point.
    I don't know. The guy who answered the phone pretty much bulldozed right over me with his "no, all they did was take the wheels off and put them on again, and nothing they did would cause that" remark.
    I could call them back, or save myself the trouble and just check the pressure!
    It should be at the pressure on the door frame panel, right? Not the one on the tires.
  • steverstever Guest Posts: 52,454
    Right - the number stamped on the tires is just the maximum. The recommended amount will be on the door jamb or on a label in the glove box.
  • julietjjulietj Member Posts: 15
    Seems like low tire pressure could be a cause for all the problems I'm experiencing ... I'll get that checked.
    Thanks for your help!
  • motorbuffmotorbuff Member Posts: 4
    Lower tire pressure will contribute to lower gas mileage. Whenever tires are rotated, however, the tires are moved from a wheel where they have "worn in" to a wheel where they have to "wear in" again. The only thing rotating tires does is help to wear your tires out evenly. It actually costs some miles off the entire set of tires and that means it also initially costs a little more fuel until the tires get "worn in" to their new locations.

    Economically, it is easier to assimilate the cost of replacing two tires than it is to assimilate the cost of replacing all four. If you have found a brand and model tire that you are satisfied with, replacing two tires at a time costs less each time and is a quick and easy maintenance chore. The tire installer will move your tires from wheel to wheel at that time if you want, usually without charge. In particular, front wheel drive cars in the northern tier states benefit by always replacing the front tires with new tires and moving the existing front tires straight back to the rear tire position, discarding the two rear tires which should be down to their tread wear indicators.

    If you want to save tires to their longest possible overall mileage and save fuel, do not rotate your tires unless you are replacing half of the set.

    Here in New England, I have replaced two tires every other year, always putting the new tires on the front and having the front tires moved to the rear. It has never been necessary to buy snow tires even though we live on a very steep street in a very hilly region. Our front wheel drive tires are always brand new or one year old at the onset of each winter. AWD has been a thought, but the additional expense has been avoided and a savings in tires and fuel realized by using a replacement schedule based upon best overall economy and best tire safety for wintertime conditions. :)
  • julietjjulietj Member Posts: 15
    Turns out all four tires were 4.5 to 5 psi under the recommended amount. That could also have contributed to the road vibration I was feeling through the steering wheel. The tires are less than 6 months old ... I've never been good about having tires rotated, and was scolded in the past for not doing it ... so here I am trying to do the right thing, and it backfired on me?
    Funny thing, I got better gas mileage from them when they were out-the-door brand-new.
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