Properly maintained car tires save money on gas. I would like to leave this statement as it is: mysterious but incredibly promising. However, I’ll explain because I’m sure some of you want to pick up some money-saving tips and learn about the importance of tire maintenance.
Let’s start our lesson on the connection between wheels and fuel with inflation. By tire inflation, we mean the air pressure in each tire. The softer your tires are, the more rolling resistance there is between the road and the rubber, and the harder your engine will have to work to move your car. Needless to say, this requires more fuel! Making sure that the tires of your car are at the recommended pressure can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3 percent (based on DOE research). This adds up to savings of approximately $0.13 per gallon.* The info on recommended tire pressure can be found on a sticker in the driver’s side door jamb or in the glove box and in your owner’s manual. You also should make sure that your tires are inflated evenly, that they are not at the max pressure, and that they are rotated regularly.
Rotate regularly? Yes, rotating your tires is another way to keep your money in your wallet. Rotating tires approximately twice a year, or as often as specified in your car’s manual, will help spread tread evenly among all 4 wheels. This helps your tires last longer and, more importantly, ensures higher-quality rides and better car safety. Buying tires from places that offer free lifetime rotations can help make the rotation process inexpensive and hassle-free.
Alignment. Basically, wheel alignment consists of adjusting the angles of the wheels so that they are set to the car maker’s specification. The purpose of these adjustments is to reduce tire wear, and to ensure that vehicle travel is straight and true without “pulling” to one side. Improper wheel alignment can affect driving performance as well as cost you money. So, if your alignment is correct, you can be sure it is profiting you—because it decreases any resistance while rolling, which increases your gas mileage.
So make sure you take good care of your car tires. Well-maintained tires save money and are better for the environment too. Also, don’t forget: in cold seasons, with the arrival of low air temperatures, tire pressure has a tendency to drop, so check the inflation of your tires frequently with every significant drop in temperature outside your window.
*Based on $3.82 per gallon