Car owners spend billions replacing tires on their cars each year. While car wheels today are durable than in the past three decades, most require replacement every four years due to wear. Millions of replacement wheels are bought each year and every time car owners replace their wheels, they must select among wheels that differ in style, price and many performance factors.

The purchased wheels affect both the journey comfort, vehicle management and appearance as well as traction and fuel efficiency.

The Impact of Car Wheels On Fuel Efficiency

Wheels influence a car’s fuel efficiency through rolling resistance. The shape of the tires changes constantly as they roll under the weight of the car and experience repeated recovery and deformation cycles. The available mechanical energy to turn the wheel is changed into heat in the process and dispelled from the wheels. Extra fuel is needed to replace the lost energy.
A combination of variations in wheel design, dimensions, construction and material features lead to different tire rolling resistances and how car wheels impact fuel efficiency.

• Less power is needed to move small wheels than larger ones, which translates to better fuel efficiency and improved mileage. Nevertheless, in motion, more energy is needed to turn small wheels to cover the same mileage as the large wheels. Thus, large tires are fuel efficient when traveling than the small ones.

• At constant size, steel tires are heavier than alloy ones. Therefore, to decrease the weight of tires and achieve a better fuel efficiency will require changing a steel tire to an alloy tire.

• Increasing a car’s tire size will require the usage of a low-profile wheel, like decreasing the sidewall height, to pay for the increased size and maintain the original tire diameter as well as the original load capacity to reduce any adverse effect on fuel efficiency.

• The level of inflation affects fuel efficiency. Under inflated tires increase rolling resistance. Thus, keeping adequate inflation is vital.

• Tread design also affects rolling resistance. Deep tread leads to high rolling resistance and ultimately low fuel consumption.

• New wheels have a high rolling resistance and thus are fuel efficient than worn out ones.

Thus, proper maintenance of tire to perform as intended in relation to all features is critical as it determines how car wheels impact fuel efficiency.