How to Improve Your Fuel Economy

Burning through the gas in your car while attending to your daily activities can become frustrating. It may become rather annoying when you realize your tank is almost empty two days after you refilled. Here are some helpful ways you can improve your fuel economy, save money and make fewer stops at the gas station.

Remove Excess Weight

Remove unnecessary heavy objects to get rid of excess weight. Do not carry cargo on the roof of your car when possible, as all of that weight will drag down your vehicle and decrease fuel economy. You will save gas and money by removing your external cargo container when not in use.

Use Cruise Control

Using cruise control as you drive on the highway will be very helpful in improving your fuel economy. You will be able to save gas by maintaining a consistent speed, while taking pressure off the driver to maintain a speed that best preserves gas.

Drive Wisely

Driving sensibly will help you become more fuel efficient on the road. You waste gas when you speed, accelerate rapidly or slam on the breaks. Careful driving will prevent accidents from occurring, saving lives in addition to gas money.

Do Not Keep Your Car on Idle

Do not idle your car for long periods of time. Depending on the size of your car’s engine and how much energy the air-conditioning uses, idling your car can use anywhere between a quarter to a half gallon of fuel per hour. In the future, make sure you turn off your engine when you park your car.

Plan Out Your Commute

See if you can create a work schedule that avoids rush hour traffic. You may have to leave for your morning commutes a half hour earlier to avoid sitting in traffic, which wastes time and gas as you head home for the day.

Use Public Transportation

Use public transportation for your daily commute instead of your car, when possible. By taking the train or bus you will save gas and prevent wear and tear on your car.

Consider a Hybrid

A hybrid is a smaller and more fuel-efficient car that combines an electric motor and gasoline engine. When a huge portion of your car’s fuel runs on electric power, its fuel economy will dramatically increase. Hybrid cars are also great for the environment, because they release less carbon emissions into the atmosphere than vehicles that are solely powered by gasoline.

Increase Your Tire Pressure

Increasing your tire pressure can help your car get better gas mileage. To make sure you conserve as much fuel as possible, check your tire pressure every other time you fill up at the gas station.

If the tires on your car aren’t maximizing your tire pressure, look for quality tires at TreadHunter. At TreadHunter, we can help you find the best tires to help improve with your fuel economy. For more information on our fuel-efficient tire selections – contact us today!

5 Reasons Why You Need To Rotate Your Tires

tire road

Image via Pexels

By the end of this article, you will understand the meaning of the phrase: Healthy tires, healthy car. Tires must be rotated and inspected every 5,000 miles. You would not walk for months on end in sneakers with a hole in the bottom, would you? A tire rotation is the shoe repair your car needs to function properly.

Tire rotation is the process of changing the position of tires on a car. This necessary process ensures even wear on all of the wheels. During a professional tire rotation, the mechanic will not only rotate the tires, but also adjust the air pressure accordingly and examine the brakes.

On any vehicle, wheels will wear out varying on their placement. Since the majority of cars keep their engines in the front, the front tires bear more weight than the rear ones. Front wheel tires also experience extra wear due to braking and steering. This means rotations are an easy way to keep things running smoothly and avoid accidents related to tire pressure and tread.

Two Processes, One Visit

Tire rotations can be done alongside oil changes, as a tire rotation needs to be done every 5,000 miles. Many companies offer a combination discount for oil changes and tire rotations, so be sure to check out local and national deals to help save some pennies.

Retain Warrantees

Tire companies have warranties for their products. It is important to read these agreements because tire rotations are required to keep the warranty valid. If your warranty is not valid, you will be spending more money if the tire fails unexpectedly. Further, replacing a tire can lead to wear issues on the other tires, especially if it is a different type than the one originally provided.

 

Spend Less On Gas

Speaking of money, the pressure checks during a tire rotation can help you save on gas, big time! According to Fuel Economy, you can improve your gas mileage by up to 3.3% by keeping your tires inflated with the proper pressure. Under-inflated tires can lower gas mileage by .3% per 1psi drop in pressure of all four tires.

Extend Tire Life

Another consequence of lack of rotation is underinflation. You cannot tell if a tire has the correct inflation just by looking at it, as a tire can be as much as 50% underinflated without looking flat. Underinflation leads to reduced fuel economy, poor handling, delays while applying brakes, and extra stress on tire components. Tire failure due to underinflation is also a cause of many accidents on the road.

Less Accidents

Low spots, bald spots, and low treads form when tires become worn out. These conditions cause the vehicle to lose traction on the ground. Tread’s purpose is to funnel water out from underneath the wheels. When the tire has low tread, the car can slide out of control. This is known as hydroplaning.

Hydroplaning is not the only risk, however. Did you know that according to The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, tire issues account for 1 of 11 crashes on the road, including tread separations, blowouts, and bald tires? Tire safety, and therefore tire rotations, play a big role in protecting you on the road.

There are a lot of tires out there. For the best deals on tires with top-notch service, order your tires through TreadHunter. Or, call us at (888) TIRES-55 (888-847-3755).

What Is A Tire Patch?

 

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Image via Wikimedia

When someone mentions the word tire patch, most people think of a piece of rubber used to patch a hole of some sort. However, a tire patch is actually surface area of the tire that comes into direct contact with the ground. As hard as it may be to believe, the actual tire patch of your tire is only a little larger than the size of your hand.

Is Bigger Actually Better?

So how shocked would you be to find out that bigger doesn’t mean better, when it comes to the tire contact patch of your vehicle? Most passenger cars have a narrower tire, which gives them better control, a smooth ride and traction in snowy, cold weather conditions. Narrow tires have a longer path, while wider tires, have a shorter path. This means wider tires, even though they have the same size tire contact patch, will have greater handling and responsiveness. This is why so many high performance cars have wider tires.

Increasing Your Contact Patch

The only way to increase the size of your tire’s contact patch is to actually decrease the air pressure in the tires and increase the overall weight of your vehicle, as it pushes down on the ground. This causes more of the actual tire to come in direct contact with the ground.

The problem is, this can open your vehicle up to an entirely new set of issues, such as:

  • Increased risk of hydroplaning
  • Loss of straight driving traction
  • Increased resistance from the pavement reducing speed and overall performance
  • Diminished fuel efficiency

The best thing to do is leave your tire pressure at the manufacturer’s suggested standards. You could get a lift on your car or truck. This would allow you to get a taller/bigger tire, thus increasing your tire contact patch.

As you drive, the amount of friction and force put on the contact patch shifts. If you are cornering, it shifts to the outside of the tire. As the intensity of the turn increases, so does the force put on that contact patch of the tire. The wider the contact patch is, the more it can hold on to and hug the road.

Remember the movie Pretty Woman? Julia Robert’s character talked about the Lotus being able to handle like it was on rails. Basically, she was referencing the aspect ratio of the tires, the contact patch of those tires and the low profile of the suspension and vehicle itself. Low and wide, means fast and tight, when you are talking about turns.

On the other hand, if you have a tire that is slender, well inflated and a properly broken in tread, you will see a smoother, more comfortable ride. You will also see better gas mileage and traction control in poor driving conditions, such as snow.

Never pick a tire style based on how it looks. Always learn what each type of tire and style actually does. Once you know what each style does, compare it to your driving habits. The biggest mistake people make when shopping for tires is that they compare it to the type of driving they would “like to do” verses what they actually do. Taking the time to figure out the best solution to your particular tire needs will not only save you money, but will make driving a much safer and more enjoyable experience.

Get all the tire help and advice you need from the experts at Treadhunter.

Tire Anatomy and Construction

To most of us, we think of a tire as what connects our vehicle to the road and what we hope never goes flat on an important day! Although that may be what we think, there is far more to a tire than that for which most of us give it credit. There are many components to a tire that work together to keep your vehicle connected to the road, and the construction of the tire makes a difference in terms of the quality and performance you can expect. Knowing these parts can help you to get the best tires for your vehicle the next time you need to replace them.

The Parts of a Standard Vehicle Tire

There are six main components of a tire. Starting on the inside, is a layer of rubber. In older types of tires, this used to be a tube; however, newer tires are created without tubes and are now made up of a butyl rubberized liner that is totally impermeable. Just like the rubber tubes of old they can still lose pressure,  but if you check the pressure on a monthly basis, you can easily keep it in the right range for your vehicle.

The next component of the tire is what is called the “carcass ply.” This is a series of fiber cables that are combined and then pushed into the rubber of the initial layer of your tire. These thin cables are typically a major component in the strength of the tire. On top of the carcass ply, are found the “beads.” These beads are responsible for keeping the inside parts pushed up decisively against the rim of your wheel.

The sidewall is the next component of a tire. These have multiple uses. First, they add height to your tire. Second, they offer protection from side impacts with objects such as curbs or similar firm objects. Third, they can also add style to how your tire looks. You will find the specifics about your tire located on its sidewall, such as the overall dimensions of the tire, how much of a load the tire is rated to carry, and the maximum speed at which the tires are rated to go.

“Crown piles” are the tire’s next component. This covers the gaps between the sidewalls, and is the base upon which the tread will later be built. The more rigid the crown piles on the tire, the better gas mileage your vehicle is going to get. There should be a bit of flex so that, as you drive, your ride is not stiff and bumpy; but it should also be strong enough to provide the proper support for a vehicle in your weight range. The crown piles will also bring a bit of lateral stability to the tire, keeping it strong all the way across.

The final component of the tire is the tread. These are strips that are built up to help keep the vehicle on the road under a wide variety of conditions. You can purchase tires with treads that are resistant to punctures, heat, wear, and abrasion, allowing for a longer tire life for the price paid.

How each of these components is placed together determines the overall quality of a tire. Learning how these components rely on each other allows consumers to ensure they are getting the best quality tire available for their budget. If you are on the lookout for a new set of tires in the near future, take this newfound knowledge along when you go shopping, and make sure you get the best set of tires for your particular circumstances.

If you want to simplify the tire-buying process, you can even buy your tires online through companies like TreadHunter. When they arrive,  have them installed at your local tire store. This allows you to get the best tires no hassle or running around from place to place to find the best deal.

Fuel Economy and Your Tires

As a vehicle owner, we are always on the lookout for ways to stretch out our MPG to save a few bucks at the pump. As tire technology improves, one way that owners can improve millage and reduce fuel consumption is to switch to tires with a low rolling resistance (LRR).

fuel

Image via WIkimedia

How Fuel Consumption is Factored

Most of the factors that determine your vehicle’s fuel consumption are out of the owner’s control. Things like vehicle design, aerodynamics, weight, mechanical efficiency, and terrain determine how a vehicle consumes fuel. By practice some driving techniques that are proven to improve MPG, such as easy starts and stops, owners can gain a bit more out of each gallon of fuel.

Many owners are unaware of the role that their tires play in fuel consumption. The rolling resistance of the tires on your vehicle play a major factor in consumption, and with the introduction of low rolling resistance tires to the market, it’s possible to add additional fuel economy to your vehicle.

What is Rolling Resistance?

Without diving into complex, scientific details, rolling resistance of a tire equates to the amount of energy a tire consumes while rolling under a load. This resistance is influenced by the friction between the tire’s tread and the road surface, as well as the amount of energy consumed by the flexing of the tire’s sidewalls as the tire rolls over terrain. According to the Alternative Fuels Data Center, it’s estimated that anywhere from 5 to 15% of passenger vehicle fuel consumption is spent overcoming rolling resistance of tires.

Low Rolling Resistance Tires

Vehicle manufacturers have begun to move towards equipping new vehicles with low rolling resistance tires in order to help meet the government-mandated fuel economy standards while maintaining the all-around tire performance. The new technology of low rolling resistance tires has led to changes in rubber compounds, sidewall construction, and tread patterns used during manufacturing. Many dated studies will claim that ride comfort, stopping distance, and handling will suffer when using low rolling resistance tires, but as the technology continues to improve, the gap in performance and handling between low rolling resistance tires and a standard tire continues to close.

How Much Will I Save?

The current low rolling resistance tires can be expected to improve fuel economy by anywhere from 1 to 4 MPG. Depending on your driving, as well as type of vehicle and the price of fuel in your area, the savings from running low rolling resistance tires on your vehicle can be upwards of $400 in fuel costs over the life of the tire.

As with any tires, proper pressure is the key to longevity of the tire, as well as performance levels. When temperatures begin to drop, it’s important for owners to regularly check the pressure in their low rolling resistance tires to ensure that they are not operating the vehicle with underinflated tires. Driving with tires that are underinflated by 5-7 PSI will increase the rolling resistance by nearly 15%, which can cause any fuel benefits you are expecting from the low rolling resistance tires to be cancelled out.

Tire Pressure and Temperatures

Every make and model of tire will come with a recommended tire pressure to keep the tires filled at while under operation. Hours and hours of research by manufacturers determine the exact PSI (pound per square inch) that your tire will performance at its best at. Proper inflation allows the tire to provide maximum handling, traction, and durability on any surfaces or conditions that the tire is rated for. The air pressure of your tire is what supports the entire weight of your vehicle, so it’s improbably to frequently monitor to ensure for safe operation and maximum performance from your tire.

As temperatures change, tire pressure will fluctuate. In many areas, some parts of the year will bring very warm temperatures of 80 degrees and higher, while the winter months can plummet down into the 30’s and below. It’s important for the vehicle owner to understand how these temperature changes can affect the PSI within their tire and how to check to ensure that pressure levels are adequate for driving in different seasons.

The air that fills your tires is a gas. When a gas is heated, it expands, and when it is cooled, it contracts. When the temperature at night begins to drop, regular tire pressure checks should start up to ensure that the air in the tire has not contracted to the point of being unsafe to operate. It’s important to note that the recommended tire pressure for your vehicle is based on cold inflation pressure. It’s important to check tire pressure at different times of the day, as something like being in direct sunlight can cause the air pressure to change by a few pounds, which can possibly cause your vehicle to handle improperly.

A general rule of thumb is to equate 1 PSI of change to 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Remembering that gases expand in heat and contract in cold, a 10 degree increase in the ambient temperature will result in a 1 PSI increase in your vehicle’s tire pressure. Inversely, a 20 degree decrease in the ambient temperature will result in a 2 PSI decrease in your vehicle’s tire pressure. In most parts of the country, average summer and winter temperatures vary by roughly 50 degrees. This means that your tires will fluctuate approximately 5 PSI throughout the year just from the changes in air temperature. Operating a vehicle in winter conditions while your tires are underinflated by 5 PSI will cause a noticeable difference in handling, traction, and performance.

Many people who live in colder climates will take advantage of having a heated garage, but this can actually place you at a greater risk of losing tire pressure as you are driving. Because the tires are kept at a regular temperature while in the garage, one they hit the outside air, which would presumably be much colder than inside the heated garage, they will continue to lose pressure at the 1 PSI per 10 degrees rate until they level out.

During the winter months, it’s very important for the safe operation of your vehicle to check tire pressure a few times a week, especially if the outside temperatures are fluctuating significantly during the daytime and night time. A small, pen-sized, tire pressure measuring device is all that is needed to ensure that your tires are at the optimum pressure for you to handle any conditions that the roads may present.

All Season vs Winter Tires: Which Do You Need?

More and more people are asking about winter tires after spending the previous winter slipping and sliding around the roads. At Treadhunter, our goal is to take the guesswork out of picking out a set of winter tires for your vehicle. Here are a few of the most common questions we’ve gotten over the years about winter tires.

Snow Tire

Image via Pixabay

Do I Really Need Winter Tires?

While there are many variables that can factor into this answer leaning towards “yes” or “no”, the general rule of thumb that we like to share with customers is to base your decision off the average winter temperatures. In areas where the average winter temperature is 45 degrees or less, a set of snow tires would be beneficial to put on your vehicle for the winter season. For those who enjoy a warmer winter, but may experience a bit of snow, standard all-season tires will probably be fine.

What Makes Winter Tires Different from All-Season Tires?

All-season tires are designed to handle all types of conditions, but are best suited to handle both dry roads and wet roads. When conditions change from wet roads to icy, slushy, and snow filled roads, winter tires will provide a significant boost in performance and handling to your vehicle. The reason for winter tires superior performance in winter weather driving comes from the special compound used in the tire that will remain pliable and “grippy” even as temperatures drop. All-Season tires may perform well during the first snowfall of the year, but as temperatures continue to drop, their compound will begin to firm up and provide less traction between the road and your tires.

Will My Four Wheel Drive Be Fine in the Snow?

While four wheel drive can help you pull out of your driveway without shoveling first, many do not realize that four wheel, or all-wheel, drive does nothing to help while braking.  Vehicles with four wheel or all-wheel drive help improve traction by sending power to all four wheels at once when you press the gas, instead of just two in a standard vehicle. The addition of winter tires to your four wheel or all-wheel drive vehicle will not only provide additional handling performance while braking, but will also make your vehicle stick to the road while accelerating or turning in wintery conditions.

Can I Buy Two Winter Tires for my Front Wheels?

By mixing winter tires with all-season tires, you are essentially giving your vehicle two different ways of controlling itself. When the front tires and rear tires are not working together, handling, control, and overall safety will decrease dramatically. If you were have winter tires on your front wheels, but not the rears, and hit the brakes, the rear tires would not have the same traction as fronts and may cause the vehicle to fishtail or spin.

In addition, your all-season tires would wear unevenly if they were pair with two winter tires, leaving you stuck with possibly needing to buy an entire new set of all-season tires in the springtime.

What Does the M+S Mean on the Sidewall? What about the “Mountain/Snowflake” Symbol?

Unfortunately, the M+S doesn’t stand for mountain and snow like the symbol does. M+S, or M/S, M&S, and MS, means that the all-season tire you have has been approved by the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association for use in mud and snow. These tires will provide some traction in light snow or ice, but not at the same level of performance as tires with the “mountain/snowflake” symbol.

Tires with the mountain/snowflake symbol carry an approval from the Rubber Manufacturer’s Association for severe snow service. These types of winter tires undergo rigorous testing by the RMA to ensure that they will perform well in blizzard conditions, as well as on icy and slushy roads.

Why Can’t I Just Use Winter Tires All the Time?

Unless you live somewhere that the yearly average temperature rarely rises 50 degrees, the softer rubber compound that winter tires are made from will wear much faster than a all-season tire will, due in part to the warmer weather that will make the compound even softer than it is in the wintertime. While winter tires are OK to use on asphalt and other roadway surfaces, they are built specifically to be driven on snow or ice, and will perform at their best in those types of conditions.