Low Rolling Resistance Tires...Which is Best?

Michigan05TDi

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May 26, 2005
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Michigan,USA
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Jetta,2005,Blue,Wagon,5speed
I am pondering a tire purchase and wanted to know which tire had the lowest rolling resistance. I know Bridgestone makes a "SPECIAL" tire for the Honda Insight which is worth 2 MPG or more over other tires. But as I search for data on this subject it almost doesn't exist. Even e-mails to Michelin came up short. I noticed a comment made by Ernie Rogers in a earlier post touching on this subject and stating he was looking at High Mileage Tires surmising that this equals lower rolling resistance...I don't draw the same parallel though it does have some validity. The only article I found that answers my questions with great limitations was put out by Green Seals Report.. http://www.greenseal.org/recommendations/CGR_tire_rollingresistance.pdf . You guys have any input. I personally am looking at the Michelin HydroEdge with a 90,000 mile warranty though I have no idea if it rolls nice or not?
 

GotDiesel?

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Pacific NW
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2001 Jetta GLS
The OEM tires--Michelin Energy, Conti Contact & Goodyear Eagle LS were all chosen for low rollng resistance.

I don't know if there's much more info out there than what you've already found...

You would think that high mileage tires with their harder compounds would also be low-rolling resistance tires but anecdotal evidence suggests otherwise.

You might check to see what Honda is using on their Accord Hybrid. I don't know what size they run, but perhaps that tire is available in a size that will work for you.

Keep in mind that all tires are a compromise of various different performance characterstics. The ultimate low rolling resistance tire would probably ride and handle like something off the Flintstonemobile.
 

ruking

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2003 VW Jetta, 5 M, Reflex Silver: 09 Jetta, 6 Sp DSG, Candy White: 12 VW Touareg, 8 Sp A/T, Flint Gray
Yes GotDiesel is right on. If you do a search you will get an interesting poll as to how long the tires last, mileage etc etc.You will probably also cross reference tire pressure and its relative importance. I still have the GY LS-H's with 56k and it looks good to go to 100-130k. Fuel mileage is a range from 44-62 mpg.

ADD ON:

TP's are 38-36 fronts and 36-34 rears. (app 85% of the 44 max sidewall PSI. PSI past 38 is a bit too harsh for my SOTP experiences. This TDI is run on reputedly some of the roughest roads in the USA.

Final disposition:

@ 112,300 miles, I pulled down the oem GY LS-H. Tread remaining was between 2-3/ 32nds (actually 2.75/32nds or average wear of 15,490 miles per 1/32nd of tread. New tires are Toyo TPT (by now an older generation tire) it is on track for 15/16k miles per 1/32nd and gets the range of mpg in my signature.
 
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PDJetta

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Someone here estimated a 1 - 2 MPG mileage advantage of the Michelin Energy tire over the standard tire. I did a quick calculation based on the price, tread life, and fuel savings (1.5 MPG I picked) as compared with a Michelin Hydroedge and the Hydroedge came out cheaper over the life of the tire. The tread life of the Hydroedge is about 35% greater than the Energy tire.

--Nate
 

ruking

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I would not doubt that at all. From a cost standpoint, it is truly all over the map. I think the best guide is to estimate and document what ones' results projected and actual would be. Of course one would select according to the plethora of factors one favors.

For example, not many folks (if the polls are any indication) would tend to get 130k from the oem tires, let alone GY LS- H's. So of course that would tend to make the cost per mile driven much different. Even for the same tire that say would tend to get 40k from GY LS-H's.

So in your case, for me it would be an absolute no brainer to get the M Hydroedge with a 90k warranty vs a M oem that has NO warranty and has been shown to get between 35-45k miles to a max of 95k. To boot it costs more than the Hydroedge.
 

SUNRG

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what about these tires? the Falken treadwear rating is better than the three OEM options (the OEM Michelin Energy's on our 04 Jetta Wagon are about shot at 40k). but how are the Falken's for rolling resistance / fuel economy? they're light too at ~18 lbs - which can't hurt economy. <ul type="square">FALKEN Ziex ZE-512
All-season performance. H-speed rated. Rated #1 by a leading consumer magazine.

195/65R-15 91H B
Reading the Tire Size

$44.00 ea. [<font color="red">+ FREE shipping from www.discounttiredirect.com = a measly $176 for 4 tires</font>]

Specifications:
Treadwear: 420
Traction: A
Temperature: A
Speed Rating: HR

Meets or exceeds original equipment speed rating.

[/list]
 

mrGutWrench

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(snip) (the OEM Michelin Energy's on our 04 Jetta Wagon are about shot at 40k) (snip)
__. It's amazing to me how we all get different results from different vehicles. I've just replaced my stock Michelins at 88K miles -- and I *could* have squeezed a few more miles out of them if I'd been prepared to take a chance.

__. Re the Falkens - I had a set on an RX-7 GLS-SE in the late '80's (replacing Pirelli's) and I loved them. I sold the car before I wore them out but they seemed to do most everything well.
'
 

ruking

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Yesterday I was quoted 420 for 5ea BFG Traction T/A-H from my local discount tire vendor (195-65-15's)or 84 ea installed. So indeed Falkens @ 44 per= 220 plus 60 for installtion 56 installed, is 280/420 is 33% cheaper?
 

Alster

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I have a 2003 Jetta Wagon GL 5-speed with 61,000 plus miles.
I replaced my original Continentals 195-15-65 with Falken ZX 512 195x15x65 at 43,000 miles.

The Falken tires are great and cost $55.00 shipped I believe from Discount Tire. After 17,000 miles I have plenty of tread left at least I should get 60,000-70,000 miles out of them.

I have all 4 inflated to Max sidewall indicated pressure of 51 PSI. They roll as good as the Continental's and are much quieter and corner much better. My overall mileage is 55.5 MPG. My last fill up was 57.9 MPG.

You should be as impressed with this tire as I am and your MPG will probably improve. Also with 51 PSI the wear is minimal and are wearing on all 4 evenly.

Alster
 

Clarky456

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TDI
1998 Dodge neon
No falkens!

I have used falkens for auto-x for a few years now, these are far from low rolling resistance! I currently run the ziex512s and lost a bit of efficiency, but the tires do fairly well in the road holding department. Sidewalls are extremely flexible and the build material is very soft leading to a much greater wear than advertised. Not sure how they got a 420 rating, my bridgestone potenzas lasted 4 years, there have been on for nearly a year and are almost shot! Invest wisely. Joe
 

RIP TDI

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No falkens!

What size were your Ziex 512s? The /55 and lower profile have a dramatically faster wear rate than /60 and higher. UTOG treadwear rating is lower, too. 512s in a 205/50-15 lasted 15,000 miles for me.
 

ruking

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I replaced my mich oem tires with GY triple treads and didn't see any drop in mpg.
Small change, GY Triple Treads are advertised at TireRack in 195-65-15, "H" rated.
 

tadc

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I changed from Stock Contis to Michelin Energy and noticed a 2-4 MPG drop. Disappointing.
 

myke_w

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I changed from Stock Contis to Michelin Energy and noticed a 2-4 MPG drop. Disappointing.
I think conti's all seasons use a pretty hard compound too. I used to run them on one of my gas a3 and they were stiff as all get out. seemed to last a while too.
 

ruking

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I changed from Stock Contis to Michelin Energy and noticed a 2-4 MPG drop. Disappointing.
I think conti's all seasons use a pretty hard compound too. I used to run them on one of my gas a3 and they were stiff as all get out. seemed to last a while too.
I think you point out some interesting phenonmenons. Because of a few factors, tires more worn tend to get better mpg than new/newer tires. They also get better traction. In most surveys, the Michelin's tend to get slightly better mpg than Conti's, and Conti's slightly more than the GY LS-H's. While there is always variation and variation between brands, I am thinking most is due to old vs new. In so far as Conti's using harder compounds than Michelin, the data indicates Michelin uses harder compounds than Conti. (UTOQ 400 vs 360)

I am sure someone can run the math for a 50,000 mile, lifespan, 2-4 mpg more/less, and M=107, C=55 GY=75. Even with 4 mpg better, the Conti's still are cheaper and you have to come up with 49% less money to get the Conti's over the Michelin's. To boot, Michelin and GY LSH's have no tread life warranty vs Conti's at 60,000. Does this warranty really guarantee anything? No but you can get a prorate if the tire does indeed fall below expectations. So the economics in the OEM tire fare are almost truly a no brainer.
 

Old Navy

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None now, .
Someone here estimated a 1 - 2 MPG mileage advantage of the Michelin Energy tire over the standard tire. I did a quick calculation based on the price, tread life, and fuel savings (1.5 MPG I picked) as compared with a Michelin Hydroedge and the Hydroedge came out cheaper over the life of the tire. The tread life of the Hydroedge is about 35% greater than the Energy tire.

--Nate
Nate I believe if you check, the HydroEdge is also an energy tire with low roll restance, but I've been wrong before. I think most tires that come with the 44 to 54 PSI rating are low rollers. I have the HydroEdges on my Magnum and run them at 40 F & 38 R in town. The Jetta has Michelin X1's with the max inflation rated to only 35 PSI and they are rated just about the same as the Hydro's for load weight, but they are oh so smooth riding with only 32 PSI.

That 1 or 2 mpg is not really noticable to most of use here, but just think what it means to total gallons of gas saved nationwide or world wide. Zillons of gallons.
 

Ernie Rogers

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Philosophical thoughts about tires and rolling resistance--

Let's start with a formula. Most of us are satisfied with a simple proportionality constant between rolling resistance and load. (Of course it may not be exactly true):

RR = Crr L

So, the car has to push with an extra force RR to overcome the resistance of the tires, which are holding up a load L. The proportionality constant is the rolling resistance coefficient, Crr.

We know that the source of the energy loss is the work used in distorting the rubber in the tires, both the side walls and the tread. It is a curious truth somebody should be able to prove that doubling the load (L) on a tire doubles the about of work done in the rubber. Let's see where this takes us. (Note that the rolling resistance could be defined in other ways, to include other rolling losses like those in gears or bearings for example, but let's not go there.)

Now let's look at the contact patch, the surface where the tire touches the road. It's a good approximation to say that the contact patch area is proportional to the load on the tire:

L = P A

This is essentially a statement of force balance-- the force transmitted to the road, L, is applied by the air pressure P behind the contact patch area A.

Suppose you have a different situation, where the load has been reduced, but the pressure in the tire was also reduced just so as to keep the contact patch the same as before. Since the rolling resistance is the result of the tire distortion, it must be exactly the same in this second case as it was before--

Then, we can combine the two equations to get:

RR = Crr P A,

And, since RR and A didn't change, the product Crr P is constant, thus giving an interesting fact: The rolling resistance is proportional to one over the tire pressure for a given tire.

That's all for now, will likely add to this tomorrow.

Ernie Rogers
 

Ernie Rogers

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More philosophical thoughts about rolling resistance--

Let's assume that it is true that the rolling resistance is proportional to the amount of flexing going on in a tire. One measure of the amount of flexing would be the angle formed between the flat contact patch and the tangent to the tire tread face just outside the patch. Let's call this angle "alpha." (If you want to draw a picture, make a circle, then draw a flat spot on it for the contact patch. Alpha is the angle between the original circle and the flat (chord) line, or it's half the angle you get by drawing lines from the ends of the patch to the center of the circle.)

So, then it should be true (our assumption) that the rolling resistance is proportional to alpha:

RR = F alpha,

where F is the "flexing constant" of the tire.

As mentioned before, the load supported by the tire is equal to the tire pressure times the area of the contact patch:

L = P A

This time, we need to further describe the contact patch-- the area of the patch is equal to its length times the tread width, well roughly so:

A = W C

Where W is the width of the contact patch and C is the length, the chord across the circle. Now, I want to invoke a little geometry. The formula for the length of the contact patch is:

C = 2R sin(alpha), or C = 2R alpha

for small angles, that is for a small contact patch. Putting all this stuff together gives a relationship between the load L and the tire pressure, tread width, tire radius R, and alpha:

L = P W 2R alpha

Way up at the top we had a formula for the rolling resistance and now we have a formula for the load. Dividing one by the other gives a formula for the rolling resistance coefficient:

Crr = RR /L

Substituting,

Crr = F /(P W 2R)

Alpha was in both equations and cancelled out, that's cool. This is an interesting formula, but we have to be very mindful of F, the flexing constant. This "constant" depends on the construction of the tire. There is experimental evidence that it Might be true that F is proportional to the tire width, which is just about the same as W. This means that a tire's rolling resistance coefficient Might not depend on how wide the tire is. (But, remember, the aero drag DOES depend on tire width.) The only other new variable to talk about is the tire radius, R, or the tire diameter, 2R. Now, we have an expanded very interesting relationship for rolling resistance and tire properties:

Rolling resistance is proportional to one over pressure, and one over tire diameter.

Provided that we are talking about tires of identical construction except for the tire diameter.

Nothing has been said here about "dynamics", how the tire and vehicle behave when the car is accelerating, turning, and hitting bumps. (We have lots of those in Pleasant Grove, Utah.)

When choosing tires, dynamics considerations can affect choices too.

Ernie Rogers
 

ruking

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Hard figures ER! Hard figures! If someone is asking the time, why are we talking about different theoretical methods of mechanical watch construction? Most folks have a hard enough time checking their tire pressures once a quarter! Just to enter a discussion on WHAT tire pressures are best is a herculean leap.

The other thing is there is no standard for rolling resistance measurement such as one that currently exists for tire tread (ie the UTOQ of 400, traction of AA and temp of A). While it is true that most manufacturers specify oem tires as being able to have lowest rolling resistance, even that is anecdotal to a certain degree. One does not really know what factors dominate such as cheapest cost vs the absolute best rolling resistance. My money of course is on the bean counting regime ruling out, but hey that is another story.
 

Reidler

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Langley BC Canada
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Just my two cents worth...
I had the stocker Michelins (they really are junk tires, two out of four had inner cord failures and the tread actually moved sideways at one point in the tire, making the car bump sideways a bit on each revolution
.) I had a neighbor suggest Nokian tires (nakapaletti is the model name I believe). They were expensive at $195.00 CAD per tire, but I went ahead and got them.

I was instantly impressed with their quality. I installed them before a long trip of over 400 kms and I got an 8% increase in mileage. I drive this long trip all the time so nothing else had changed that would have altered the mileage.

Incidently I have kept a log book of my beetle, including all fill-ups and mileages (something like you would for and aircraft) ever since it rolled off the lot and have proof of the mileage claims.

Anyway, I do recommend these tires, but they can be hard to find. Here in Canada, the only company that has them is Kal Tire. When I phoned around to look for them, even the other companies said they were a hard tire to match for quality. That basicly concreted my decision to but them.

Hope that helps...
 

IndigoBlueWagon

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Interesting. I've been intrigued by the Nokian NRHi, and one dealer in the Boston area (Direct Tire) can get it for me but it's a special order item. I think they run about $100 each, which is about the same as a Michelin Energy.



Anyone have any experience with this tire? It might be a good option for my A3.

You can read about it here: http://www.nokian.com/passengercars_product_en?product=609312&name=NOKIAN+NRHi#
 

mrGutWrench

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I had the stocker Michelins (they really are junk tires, two out of four had inner cord failures (snip)
__. Interesting. I just replaced my stock Michelins ('02 Jetta sedan) at ~86K miles. They were worn evenly and smoothly and gave mileage in the 60-62 MPG range with "summer fuel". I'm constantly amazed at how different people get different results with similar parts/conditions, etc.
'
 

smokin'

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Tires...Schmires. There are way too many variables to say if one is going to be better than another. I replaced my stock GY Eagle LS's with the BF Goodrich Traction T/A H, in 195/65R15. My mileage went down about 4mpg. Why? The tire is slightly heavier; the compound is stickier; and who knows what else may be a factor. However, it was well worth the trade off. These tires stick like glue and handle great! Plus they show virtually no wear after 20K miles. The tirerack's website now gives shipping weight for tires; you can use this to help determine rolling resistance. The UTQG treadwear number is just a number that the manufacturer pull out of their ___. The government doesn't regulate it at all. When comparing tires of one make, the number will give an idea of what wear to expect, but they mean absolutely nothing compared to another manufacturer's numbers. What good is a low rolling resistance tire, if you lose control/traction and crash? Get a tire that will grip well in the environment that you drive. Everything else should come second. This is supposedly one of, if not the, lowest rolling resistance tire. My $.02.
 

SUNRG

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This Nokian could be perfect:
light: 17.9 lbs at 195-65-15, low rolling resistance: claims up to 5% increase in fuel economy, durable: long tread life



<ul type="square"> Nokian NRT 2 – the cream of small car tyres

Roads roughened by winter traffic place great demands on summer tyres as well. <font color="red">One of the qualities Nokian Tyres has particularly emphasised in the development of NRT2 is durability. Thus the tyre retains all its great properties for a longer time.</font>

The pioneer of environmentally friendly summer tyres

First in the world, Nokian NRT 2’s tread features a rubber blend in which toxic highly aromatic oil has been replaced by low aromatic oil.

Safety on wet roads

Designed especially for northern conditions, the tread’s rubber blend retains good grip on cold and wet asphalt roads as well. The directional lateral grooves and the deep longitudinal grooves effectively remove water from under the tyre and reduce the risk of aquaplaning.

Economical and quiet

Nokian NRT 2’s rolling resistance is one of the lowest on the market. This makes tyre noise pleasingly quiet and <font color="red">reduces fuel expenses by up to 5 per cent in normal driving conditions</font>.

Nokian NRT 2 is an environmentally friendly and economical quality choice for small and medium-size cars. [/list]
 

cmitchell

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Southern Oregon Coast
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I've had both Michelins & Contis (both OEM and both came off a car other than mine). I've noticed no mileage difference between the two. The drive is nicer with the michelins... especially quieter. The Michelins also seem grippier on wet roads. I would certainly consider Nokians... they are the Rolls Royce of tires according to everything I've read about them.
 

gdr703

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Golf 2 door 2002 Indigo
Ernie,
I think you need to factor in the dynamic bounce factor. What I mean is that as the tire pressure gets up there, the tire transmits alot of bounce (at 60 - 70mph) into the suspension. This lack of damping within the tire itself I think causes the extreme tire pressures to be less effective in minimising rolling resistance.
My observations indicate that I get the best mpgs in the region of 40/44 psi.
Any one else concur?

Oh, I have a 2 door Golf, pressures should be 26F/28R I currently run 40F/42R.
The tires are Michelin Energy Plus on the front rated 44 psi, 3/4 worn at 71kMiles, and Michelin Energy S8 on the rear rated 51 psi, 1/8 worn.

cheers.
 
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