Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Do Overinflated Tires Save Gas?

Overinflated tires save gas?

What’s the truth about overinflating tires to save gas?

Let’s get right to it. Overinflating tires significantly above the recommended tire pressure shown on the tire pressure label in the driver’s door area WILL save gas by reducing the tires’ rolling resistance and get you better gas mileage. How much better? Maybe 10%

But there’s more to it than that. There are other factors to consider and they actually wipe out all the gas savings you get from overinflating your tires.

Overinflated tires save gas but wear out faster

When you overinflate a tire, the inflation lifts the inner and outer shoulders off the road so you’re driving on the center tread. Putting all the vehicle weight, traction/friction, steering/braking on the center tread, causes it to wear out MUCH faster. When gas prices go up, so does the cost of tires. Whatever you save in gas, you’ll spend on having to replace your tires more often.

Overinflated tires save gas but wears out your suspension much faster

This one’s pretty simple; the tire is harder when overinflated. So it bounces more on bumps and holes and transmits more movement to the control arms, ball joints, tie rod ends, and CV joints. These are expensive components and you’re wearing them out much faster by overinflating your tires.

Overinflated tires increase stopping distance

Again, this one is a no brainer. You have less tire contact with the road when you drive on overinflated tires. That means you have less traction to take off from a stop AND less stopping traction.

Overinflated tires causes more hydroplaning on wet roads

The tread blocks and sipes are designed to squeegee water off the road and pump it out to the sides of the tires. That’s what keeps the rubber in contact with the pavement. When you overinflate the tires and lift the inner and outer tread blocks and sipes off the pavement, you reduce the tire’s ability to remove water and that causes hydroplaning.

Overinflation saves gas but causes more wear and tear and makes you less safe.

Whatever gas savings you realize from overinflating your tires, will be minuscule compared to the added wear on your tires and suspension and the lowered traction and stopping ability.

©, 2022 Rick Muscoplat

Posted on by Rick Muscoplat


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