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Toyota Prius Tire/Wheel Questions



  • As with all things in life, trade-offs exist. You must choose between low-resistance and high fuel efficiency or better road grip and low fuel efficiency. Personally, I relax, plan to leave early for work, drive at reasonable speeds through snow and ice, use standard tread tires, and have no problems on ice and snow on steep grades in the mountains.
  • I am reading to decide what tires to buy. I read on this forum that the AC really means Heat, Air conditioning and Ventilation. I notice that when I use the Auto Climate mode and the AC icon is lit, I get better MPG, close to 48 combined with 80% driving at 70mph
  • turristurris Posts: 1
    I own a 2006 prius,I replaced my first set of tires GY Integrity at 35.000 miles filled with nitrogen,with BFGOODRICH traction t/a,at moment i'm losing 50to60 highway miles per tank,it's got be the tires.
  • riposteriposte Posts: 160
    Maybe they're being replaced with this new model?

    Bridgestone Introduces LRR Ecopia EP100 Tire at Chicago Auto Show
    11 February 2009

    Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BTAO) officially launched the Ecopia EP100, a low rolling resistance tire which provides drivers with improved fuel economy without sacrificing wet handling performance.

    The Ecopia tire line targets fuel efficient vehicles, including hybrids and electric vehicles and will be used in original equipment and replacement applications. The new Ecopia EP100 is the first aftermarket product in the Ecopia tire line for the North American market, and is a summer replacement tire fitment for popular fuel efficient, hybrid and electric vehicles including the Mini Cooper, Toyota Prius, Honda Civic Hybrid, Nissan Versa, Toyota Corolla and a selection of other conventional vehicles.

    Available in H- and V-speed ratings, the Bridgestone Ecopia EP100 has a UTQG of 400AB and will be offered in six different sizes ranging from 14-16 inch. The tire will be available in March in the first phase of a two-phase rollout in 2009.

    The Ecopia EP100 incorporates Bridgestone’s NanoPro-Tech materials technology which controls the interaction between polymers, filler materials and other rubber chemicals used in the manufacture of the tire. (Earlier post.)

    Design elements in the Ecopia EP100 include 3D Cut Circumferential Ribs to help reduce irregular wear and lessen road noise. Consistent Surface Contact, through a special tread block design, improves wet and dry handling and reduces irregular wear. Interconnected Rib Blocks enhance wet performance and help reduce energy loss. High Angle Lateral Grooves are incorporated into the Ecopia EP100 to help avoid hydroplaning.
  • I just purchased new tires for my 2007 Prius, BF Goodrich Traction TR 185 / 65R15 88T. Gas milage dropped from an average of around 52 mpg to around 45 mpg for a typical tank. Formerly, driving 60 mph the car got 55 mpg or so. Now it gets 48 mpg. I'm looking for suggestions for another set with lower rolling resistance.
  • snead_csnead_c Posts: 64
    Some drop can be caused by the new, stickier tread which will improve with age. Was the previous tire size 55 or a wider 65?...wider could also impact. Finally, check your air could be too low...try f42/40 or f40/38 if the sidewalls and your comfort allow. also has lots of info that might help.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I am the happy owner of a 2010 Prius 4. Yesterday I noticed that the car was missing one of the 4 plastic wheel cover that cover the alloy wheels. Now that the wheel cover is missing I had a good look at the alloy wheel and it looks nicer, IMO, than the wheel without the plastic cover. Since the wheel cover costs anywhere from $60.00 to $90.00 each, I was wondering what do this wheel covers do? If they are there for "beauty" they do not hold a candle to the "naked" alloy wheels. I can see purchasing 4 center caps and removing the three remaining plastic wheel covers. Of course if the wheel covers serve a functional purpose that might change my thinking. I've Googled the issue and have found little evidence to support the functional hypothesis. Any thoughts/knowledgeable replies greatly appreciated. Other that this issue we love the car. It meets and exceeds all of our expectations.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Sorry I meant "than the wheel with the plastic cover"!!

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    Because the Prius has relatively small tires, it's easy to scrape the wheels against even a low curb when parallel parking. The plastic covers protect the most vulnerable part of the wheels: the rims.

    If you can assure yourself you'll never scrape a curb, you can remove them without losing any functionality.
  • A Toyota engineer told me that the covers represented an aerodynamic benefit resulting in about a two percent increase in fuel economy. Thus, I don't agree that their only functionality is to protect the allow wheels.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Thanks for the replies. I'm going to test the hypothesis that the covers provide an aerodynamic benefit. My wife came up with a solution to our problem. We lost one wheel cover. So, I purchased one new wheel cover from Their price was $15.00 cheaper than our local Toyota dealer and included shipping. In addition, I purchased four center caps because we like to look of the alloy wheels without the plastic covers. Over the next couple of weeks/months I will be observing mpg with and without the wheel covers to see what the data says. I guess I can "splurge" on the center caps using the money I'm saving driving the Prius relative to the Explorer the Prius replaced!!

    Thanks guys,

  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    If the covers provide only a 2% benefit in fuel efficiency, I think you'd be hard pressed to measure the difference.
  • PF_FlyerPF_Flyer Pennsylvania Furnace, PAPosts: 7,717
    It may be difficult to measure because of variations in driving conditions, etc., but I sort of doubt the number. A 2% increase in mileage, applied across the entire population of cars would amount to a very large amount of fuel saved per year. I really don't think something as simple as a solid wheelcover is going to make that much of an aerodynamic difference. It certainly will make some difference (my gut is telling me a fraction of a percent) but 2% seems highly optimistic.

    In a wind tunnel on a dyno, MAYBE, but even then it doesn't seem to intuitively make sense. Let me know the next time you do any extended driving in those conditions ;)

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  • Can you use chains in snow and ice? Or should you get studded tires..Also in replacement tires, can you go a size larger than original?
  • I am curious about snow operation with the Prius also. I have had a 2008 model for two years, but only operated it in desert conditions (Las Vegas)... mostly dry with occasional rain.

    I recently bought a low mileage 2005 model that I have up in Utah (approaching snow time). The previous owner put a set of Big O's top of the line tires on it even though it only had 22000 miles on it.

    I am curious how these tires will fair in winter driving... I have heard good things about the Michelin Hydro-Edge in snow and slush, and of course there are the pure winter tires like the Blizzak and Xice2.

    I am quite curious as to what most of you folks do who live in the part of the country where there is that "white stuff."
  • 63pro63pro Posts: 15
    Hi, brand new to this forum, but your situation is also one of mine. I recently damaged a wheel cover on my new 2010 Prius via a car wash, and was pleasantly surprised by the good looking alloys that were underneath the covers. I wanted to put the center caps on, but found them quite expensive from Toyota. You mentioned you purchased center caps. If you don't mind, can you tell me where you got the center caps and how much you paid. My Toyota dealer is asking about $70 for for small plastic caps. Thanks for your help. :)
  • I do not believe that you provided enough information concerning your use of a vehicle in Utah. I live beside the I-70 at Vail Pass. I have never felt the need for either chains or studs. I bought a 2007 Prius and replaced the factory tires with an All-Season Radial from Big O after only 22,000 miles.

    My previous vehicle had AWD. I notice no less traction with my Prius. When I drove snowplow for CDOT, I usually had 20 vehicles in the ditch each shift on six percent grade in every snowstorm. I never had a problem with my vehicle. The people in the ditch were always driving at excessive speed for conditions. I climbed down an embankment to one car and felt for tread. There was none.

    The disadvantage of using chains is that you can only travel a maximum of 35 MPH. That is why you will almost never see chains on a snowplow. They need to be able to drive faster than that to keep up with the storms. Now, I drive the county buses. Again, never chains. The buses need to travel at highway speed to maintain a schedule.

    Studs are nice where state laws allow the use. Studs destroy roads. Only use them if you actually find a necessity for them. Parts of rural Idaho, for example, do not plow roads or salt down to pavement. However, my observations in Utah during a snowstorm were of excellent snowplow equipment, better than the equipment in Colorado.
    Road conditions were outstanding. Therefore, I would not invest in anything but an All Season Radial. If that gives you actual trouble at speeds of 35 MPH in one of your snowstorms, then experiment with Dedicated Snow Tires ~ studs ~ and chains or socks.
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I purchased the replacement wheel cover and the center caps for my 2010 Prius from The parts are used but more than acceptable. The center caps I ordered were actually for the 2009 Prius. They fit my 2010 Prius' wheels. They are metal and cost 12.99 each. I am still using the wheel covers because I doing a mpg test to see if there is any difference riding with and without the plastic wheel covers. I plan to switch over to the center caps this weekend. I'll keep them on the car for a couple of months. If I find no difference in mpg, I'll probably keep the center caps on the car.
  • 63pro63pro Posts: 15
    Thanks for your help and info. I know what to do now.
  • bob104bob104 Posts: 94
    Just got a set of Bridgestone Ecopia's installed on my 08Prius Touring. According to the readout I'm getting a good 2-3 mpg better than with the now-bald factory Bridgestone Turanzas. Perhaps a calibration error. I'll provide a better report after I carefully measure the mpg at the pump, but it's looking like this is a very good tire. They ride fine, a bit squishy on the corners, no experience with rain (this being CA), $535 for a set of four OTD in CA, a good $250 less than the Turanzas.
  • Thank you very much for your reply. My home is on the "bench" down in Utah County, so I do have a bit of hill to negotiate going to and from home. As I am on the West side of the street I do have a flat driveway which is a plus.

    When I went by the Big O tire store... to get information on the tires on my '05 Prius I asked them if they were something "special" for winter driving, but they said no it was just their top-of-the-line all season tire.

    I have been considering purchasing an extra set of wheels and mounting a pair of Michelin's Xice2 tires or possible the Blizzak's from Bridgestone. Either that or switching over to Michelin's Hydro-Edge tires and then taking the Big O tires down to my '08 Prius in Vegas.

    However it sounds like as long as I don't drive like a maniac that these Big O tires should work fine, thank you for your assistance.
  • Best wishes with the all-season-radials. Yesterday, one of our snowplows was crossing Dillon Dam and triggered the anti-terrorist barriers installed by the Denver Water Board, destroying the plow truck and sending the driver to the hospital, so sliding into the ditch in winter is not the worst that can happen to you in a snowstorm.
  • ronshronsh Posts: 1
    Did you finish your analysis of mileage - hub caps vs. center caps? Any difference? Did you end up using the center caps and ditched the wheel covers?

  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    I actually have not tested anything. The cold winter weather has put the MPG's in to a tailspin, so I decided to wait until the more moderate weather of Spring/Summer to switch off the plastic wheel covers for the center caps.
  • wshelbywshelby Posts: 1
    I purchased a 2002 Prius with 100,000 miles on it in August of 09. I got great gas milage.... averaging 42-44 on the highway and 45+ around town. I commute daily roundtrip 150 miles a day, freeway miles at 75 miles an hour. My milage has steadily dropped to 38-40 miles per gallon. This has been a gradual drop. I have not changed driving habits, or tires (I keep them at max air pressure). My car was serviced once after a yellow triangle warning. The dealer said I needed new spark plugs and they replaced a filter. The drop was already starting and it has continued after the dealer service. I have switched to synthetic motor oil but this started before that
    The only difference I can find is the weather has steadily gotten colder thru this time frame.
    Any tips out there? Am I missing something? Does some filter need changed? Is it the colder air? I am confused, especially since it has been a fairly gradual decline.
  • 210delray210delray Posts: 4,722
    It's not that much of a drop and I would think the colder weather is to blame. In what part of the country do you live?
  • biomanbioman Posts: 172
    Before last winter I purchased a replacement wheel cover and a set of wheel caps for my 2010 Prius 4. I was curious as to why Toyota put plastic wheel covers on aluminum alloy wheels. One hypothesis I had is that is had something to do with improving MPG. I waited until this spring to switch over from wheel cover to caps. Well, after abut 1000 miles I can say that the mpg's have not been affected in any measurable way that I could see. Since I like to look of the alloy wheels the wheel covers are in my garage when the Prius is on the road.
  • biglou5biglou5 Posts: 1
    One reply to this says "who ever told you Priuses are heavy is crazy". Well Priuses are heavier in the front of the vehicle than other compact cars. Hybrids have a gasoline engine, an electric motor, Heavier battery, and a transmission all supported by the front axle. Early Priuses came stock with and required required XL Tires (Extra Load). A tires weight capacity is effected by the size of the tire as well as inflation. Until 2004 Priuses came with 175/65/r14 xl tires with an inflation requirement of 35psi. The mistake Toyota made was that the extra load rating of the tire doesn't kick in until the tire is inflated above 38 psi. There is no difference between an xl tire and a standard load tire of the same size at 35psi. Because of this many Prius owners experienced the front tires going bald on the inner and outer edges at low mileage. This wear pattern is classic under inflation wear. (due to the weight of the car) Inflating the tires to 40 to 42 psi puts them at the weight capacity they need to be at to support the weight of the car, but Toyota never admitted to this error because Increasing the required air pressure would change the handling and stability of the car. They corrected it in 2004 by making 15 inch tires standard. The larger tires have a higher load capacity at 35 psi with out requiring an xl rating.
  • kirbs10kirbs10 Posts: 1
    are these 16" wheels? i was looking for replacements for my touring prius...
  • mbros2kmbros2k Posts: 71
    I don't get! I have a Prius with 17 in. alloys so this doesn't apply to me, but... Yesterday I saw a 2010 Prius with great looking 15 in wheels and complimented the owner and asked where he got them. I was floored when he said they were under the plastic wheel covers. I drove away thinking he was nuts until I did some research myself. How can this be? Why would Toyota cover up such hot looking rims and waste the money on plastic crap that looks like it was purchased from the Target auto accessories dept? If aerodynamics was the issue, it could be incorporated into wheel design. If protection from damage was intended, then no one would buy custom wheels in the first place. Toyota could have spent the money on DRLs or dual zone a.c. or any number of cheap upgrades. What am I missing?
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