Off-Road Tires and Fuel Efficiency | Rolling Big Power

Off-Road Tires and Fuel Efficiency

Off-road tires are a vital piece of equipment for driving on rough terrain. They improve your vehicle’s capability and make it safer to operate, making off-road driving more enjoyable. These tires were designed specifically to excel in mud, sand, snow and dirt. But how do they stack up against street and highway driving? Do off-road tires affect gas mileage?

Off-road tires can have a substantial impact on a vehicle’s fuel efficiency. The larger size and added weight of off-road tires increase rolling resistance, which causes the vehicle to use more fuel. Additionally, the aggressive tread patterns of off-road tires reduce the tire’s contact with the road, further decreasing fuel economy.

According to various studies, tires account for 15 to 25 percent of the mpg penalty at low speeds and 20 to 35 percent at highway speeds, with off-road tires known to take an even larger chunk of power in all situations than street or all-terrain tires. This article will discuss the specific ways in which off-road tires affect gas mileage and provide tips on how to improve fuel economy when using these types of tires.

Off-Road Tires on Paved Roads

Let’s look at how off-road tires operate on paved roads. Off-road tires have deeper treads and larger voids than street tires. This is done to improve traction in mud, sand, and snow. However, on paved roads, these features can cause the tires to hydroplane more easily. Hydroplaning occurs when a tire rides up on a film of water, resulting in a loss of traction. This can be dangerous, especially at high speeds.

Off-road tires are also typically heavier than street tires. This extra weight can reduce fuel efficiency. Additionally, the larger voids in off-road tires can allow dirt and rocks to collect, which can further reduce fuel efficiency.

So, how do off-road tires affect on-road performance and fuel efficiency? The answer depends on the specific tire and the conditions in which it is being used. In general, off-road tires will provide better traction on rough terrain, but they will also have a higher risk of hydroplaning and reduced fuel efficiency on paved roads.

That said, it’s important to note that off-road vehicle enthusiasts are aware of these issues, and that they typically know that they are trading fuel efficiency for off-road performance.

How Do Off-Road Tires Affect Gas Mileage?

Off-road tires affect gas mileage in a number of ways:

  • Increased rolling resistance: The larger size and added weight of off-road tires increase rolling resistance, which is the force that opposes the motion of a tire as it rolls on the road. Increased rolling resistance requires the engine to work harder to move the vehicle, which consumes more fuel.
  • Reduced tire contact with the road: The aggressive tread patterns of off-road tires reduce the tire’s contact with the road. This also increases rolling resistance and reduces fuel economy.
  • Additional weight: The added weight of off-road tires also contributes to decreased fuel economy.
  • Tire pressure: Typically, off-road enthusiasts will air-down to increase contact patch, which in turn provides better traction on uneven terrain. However, lower tire pressure leads to a decrease in fuel efficiency. Learn more about off-road tires and tire pressure.
toyota 4runner in desert

Tips for Improving Fuel Economy with Off-Road Tires

If you must use off-road tires on paved roads such as streets and highways, there are a few things you can do to improve fuel economy:

  • Keep your tires properly inflated: Properly inflated tires reduce rolling resistance and improve fuel economy.
  • Avoid hard acceleration and braking: Hard acceleration and braking also increase rolling resistance and reduce fuel economy.
  • Drive smoothly: Driving smoothly reduces the amount of energy wasted in the form of heat and friction.
  • Consider lighter-weight off-road tires: If possible, choose lighter-weight off-road tires. This will reduce the overall weight of the vehicle and improve fuel economy.
lexus gx470 in desert

In The End

In the end, it is evident that off-road tires have a notable impact on fuel efficiency due to their larger size, increased rolling resistance, and aggressive tread patterns. While off-road tires are essential for navigating challenging terrains, it’s important for vehicle owners to be mindful of the trade-off in fuel economy. By implementing the tips and recommendations discussed, drivers can mitigate the effects on gas mileage while enjoying the benefits of off-road capabilities.