Check Your Tyres For Better Fuel Economy

Petrol prices have been constantly rising for the past few years and before the world makes the shift to electric vehicles, prices are probably going to rise even further. One way to get the most out of the fuel you use is to check your tyres are at the correct pressure.

It's fairly common sense: If your tyres are under inflated at all, it increases the rolling resistance on the road, and requires burning more fuel in order to maintain speeds. The U.S Department of Energy goes so far as to claim that every one psi drop in pressure is equal to a 0.3 per cent drop in fuel efficiency.

It also works the other way: Over-inflating your tyres can improve your mileage, but with a significant safety risk - over-inflating reduces the amount of surface area that comes in contact with the road, reducing friction and improving fuel economy. But at the same time, it also reduces the amount of tread in touch with the road, which reduces the car's grip to the bitumen and results in a less secure ride.

The best option is to check your tyres are set to the correct pressure. You can generally find your tyre's required pressure on a metal label on the inside of the driver's door. Using the recommended pressure offers the best balance between fuel efficiency and on-road safety. And while tyre manufacturers recommend checking your tyres weekly to ensure the optimum pressure on the roads, doing it even once a month can make a huge difference.


    Yes, tyre pressures make a big difference, as does correct wheel alignment [both front and rear] and wheel balancing.

    A good tip is to replace the air in your tyres with nitrogen - it doesn't expand and contract with heat and cold as much as normal air, and doesn't leak through the tyre walls as quickly as air. I only need to top up my tyres once every 5-6 months.

      Where can you get Nitrogen from? Not at all petrol pumps? Also, to use nitrogen for the first time, do you first deflate tyres fully (empty them of normal air)?

        Nitrogen fills are done at tyre shops, it costs a little, but it's not too bad.
        The main benefit is it is a clean gas, where air has a lot of water vapour (air is 70% nitrogen anyway).

        I buy the best tyres I can afford (currently michelin, no sign of war after 60000 ks, and very quiet)
        Also buy tyres designed for your usage, ie don't put sports or cup tyres on a daily driver, they grip harder, but at the cost of fuel efficiency and tyre life)

        I generally run 40psi, loaded or unloaded and have not seen any signs of overinflation (a wear line down the middle of the tyre), however, ymmv.

    I actually pumped up my tyres last night. They were an average of 3psi under the recommended pressure, and that's after a couple of months.

    I've heard that you can safely fill to the "maximum load" tyre pressure without worrying about it being over-inflated, even though you're not travelling with a full load - can anyone confirm?

      If you mean what the manufacturer recommends for on the tyre placard, then those recommendations are still too low.

      I run 40psi in all my tyres (Mitsubishi Magna), and 30-35 in a smaller car (Hyundai Getz). You get better traction, longer life, and more even wear, at the expense of a slightly harsher (but barely noticeable) ride.

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