Santa Monica Rims....will they hurt fuel economy on the highway?

2002_auto_tdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Location
Virginia
TDI
03 5spd wagon and 02 01m sedan
I don't see why they would. Sure they are just a little bit heavier than the stockers but the tires on them are 225/50 17's....more or less the same effective overall diameter as the stock tire/rim combo.

The wheels are a more open design...that's the only thing that I can think of. Biggest thing is that they already came with my new to me MKIV TDI 2003 Wagon. I really don't think it's practical to go back to stockers unless I pull them from my 2002 Sedan.

Thanks.
 

2002_auto_tdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Location
Virginia
TDI
03 5spd wagon and 02 01m sedan
Interesting. Well the car is really for highway use only. Sure, it has to stop and start....but not much. Thanks.
 
Last edited:

CleverUserName

Veteran Member
Joined
Oct 25, 2014
Location
NorCal
TDI
2014 OZ Cruze CTD & 2010 JSW 6MT
Anytime you put on a taller tire or increase diameter you burn more fuel. It can be offset by matching with a lighter wheel, but both together will absolutely burn more fuel in a Mark IV.

I had them on my 2003 Jetta mounted on a 215/50R17 wheel. America’s tire said a 225/45R17 would fit but not a 50 series so I went with the 215 instead as my car was lowered and didn’t want any rubbing.
 

2002_auto_tdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Location
Virginia
TDI
03 5spd wagon and 02 01m sedan
Anytime you put on a taller tire or increase diameter you burn more fuel. It can be offset by matching with a lighter wheel, but both together will absolutely burn more fuel in a Mark IV.

I had them on my 2003 Jetta mounted on a 215/50R17 wheel. America’s tire said a 225/45R17 would fit but not a 50 series so I went with the 215 instead as my car was lowered and didn’t want any rubbing.
Thanks. This vehicle appears to be lifted. Maybe that is how last owner pulled it off.
 

Another

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Location
Montreal South-Shore
TDI
MK4 golf BEW + wagon ALH
Hi! I'm asking myself same question about these wheels. I just bought a 2003 gls wagon wich came with stock aluminium R15 wheels on winter tires.
I drove it like that a few days but i've found a set of Santa Monica with like new 225/45 chinese tires on for a very low price. After installing these wheels i did a full tank and drove it regulary like i do with my BEW... In my opinion for first 300km the fuel gauge dropped too much...
On my golf BEW i have Arietta's (wich are wider and heavier than LongBeach and Santa Monica) with 215/50 Michelin Energy saver tires - they feels realy low resistants and after 300 km from full tank the fuel gauge is a little bit moved back from last white line
So, maybe Santa Monica are bad or maybe chinese tires ar doing negative effect. Willl see it soon...
 

2002_auto_tdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Location
Virginia
TDI
03 5spd wagon and 02 01m sedan
Hi! I'm asking myself same question about these wheels. I just bought a 2003 gls wagon wich came with stock aluminium R15 wheels on winter tires.
I drove it like that a few days but i've found a set of Santa Monica with like new 225/45 chinese tires on for a very low price. After installing these wheels i did a full tank and drove it regulary like i do with my BEW... In my opinion for first 300km the fuel gauge dropped too much...
On my golf BEW i have Arietta's (wich are wider and heavier than LongBeach and Santa Monica) with 215/50 Michelin Energy saver tires - they feels realy low resistants and after 300 km from full tank the fuel gauge is a little bit moved back from last white line
So, maybe Santa Monica are bad or maybe chinese tires ar doing negative effect. Willl see it soon...
It's probably the 225 45 having an overall smaller diameter than stock....well I haven't done the math actually.

I am gonna be floored if my auto gets the same mpg as my 5 speed. Auto already gets 47mpg.
 

Andyinchville1

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 7, 2016
Location
Virginia
TDI
2003 Jetta TDI wagon, 5 sp, 226K miles
HI,

When I went from steelies to my current Avus rims , I saved weight BUT I don't recall seeing alot of MPG increase.... (admittedly I didn't keep super accurate records of what I changed and when I made the changes back then (I did keep all fuel receipts / MPG figures tho)_.... so I don't think increasing weight a bit(?) would hurt too much .....(on the flip side if you run performance oriented rubber THAT could hurt big time due to added rolling resistance).

As far as open design hurting MPG's through aero losses ? ... I did the "Pizza Pan" mod for awhile (aero aid) and it did not seem to make a noticeable difference for better or worse so I think it would be hard to tell ..... it could have helped but I forgot to log stuff as to what the car set up was as I recorded MPGs (I did later tho).

I suppose the best way to really test the results would be to do like hard core car testers do .... take a small volume of fuel in a separate container and feed it to the engine as the fuel supply and run the same course until the fuel runs out ... make changes and repeat ... of course all driving on the same route / same driving style / factoring in changes in temp as day wears on.... (yes a little hard but

When I went with larger diameter tires (all season not high performance .... P 205 75R15 ). My fuel mileage went up because I got to multiply my hand calculated MPG x the correction factor for the larger tires and that helps alot MPG wise..... I know people who get big rims usually go with low profile tires usually but maybe moving up in the aspect ratio will gain back any possible MPG losses because of the heavier wheels? .

As an experiment , it would be neat to see how MPG's go if I went back to stock size on the avus rims or even steelies with the mods I now have BUT I don't have an extra set of wheels and tires to try that with (if anybody near me has a set of all seasons in stock size and wants to get some data I'd be happy to drive a few thousand miles and record data !) .... I drive alot so miles go fairly fast. .... Actually, conversely, if somebody wanted to see the effects of larger wheels on MPGs I'd be willing to drive those too for a bit .....

As far as wheel weight helping or hurting MPG's I will be installing a set of lightweight Volk TE37 wheels when my current tires wear out ( At the same time I will most likely upgrade tire size again to P215 75 R 15 for greater OD effect) ... I know making 2 changes at one time is not necessarily good but If I swap stuff out its cheapest / fastest to do it once rather than paying to have old tires swapped out to the new wheels and then swapping them out again once they wear out).

My feeling (based on my other 2 tire diameter increases) is that MPG's will go up mainly because of the OD effect the larger tires provide not so much the weight savings.

The weight savings MAY help a bit performance wise (light on its feet?) but I guess I'll see when I swap out.... I'm keeping better records now so time will tell ...

It'll be interesting to see what other people's results are.

Andrew
 

Poor King

Veteran Member
Joined
May 20, 2020
Location
NY
TDI
'91 Jetta, '91 GTI, '04 Touareg
Hi! I'm asking myself same question about these wheels. I just bought a 2003 gls wagon wich came with stock aluminium R15 wheels on winter tires.
I drove it like that a few days but i've found a set of Santa Monica with like new 225/45 chinese tires on for a very low price. After installing these wheels i did a full tank and drove it regulary like i do with my BEW... In my opinion for first 300km the fuel gauge dropped too much...
On my golf BEW i have Arietta's (wich are wider and heavier than LongBeach and Santa Monica) with 215/50 Michelin Energy saver tires - they feels realy low resistants and after 300 km from full tank the fuel gauge is a little bit moved back from last white line
So, maybe Santa Monica are bad or maybe chinese tires ar doing negative effect. Willl see it soon...
That was highway or combined?
 

hskrdu

Top Post Dawg
Joined
Oct 17, 2003
Location
Maryland and New England
TDI
2003 Golf GLS 4D 5M, 2015 GSW SE 6M
Since this question gets asked over and over (and the other threads have better answers) I almost went with cut and paste.

First, if you (or others) aren't keeping accurate FE records from reliable and consistent fueling methods, you'll never really know the effect of changing variables on your FE-All you'll be able to do is provide anecdote.

Second, even with accurate records and reliable and consistent fueling methods, most owners don't do the work to reduce the impact of other variables, such as wind, temp, weather, season, tires, etc. These factors then cloud your numbers, and instead of anecdote, you have inaccurate FE results.

Third, even with similar weights, widths, etc. the age and model of tire is, by itself, a difficult variable, as new tires generally have higher rolling resistance, and tires are at their most fuel efficient when worn out. In addition, most owners don't adjust for changes in diameter when calculating miles driven (or they don't use VCDS to adjust for tire/wheel size), and all these variables introduce error into their FE numbers.

Fourth, the factors associated with wheels, tires, offset, weight, width, height, final drive, wheel Cd, car CdA, etc. are fairly complex and there is interplay between them, so narrowing changes down to one factor is possible, but difficult. Most owners don't make much effort, but hold fast to their FE beliefs regarding those factors.

Lastly, yes, using a heavier wheel/tire combination will lower FE, even on the highway. This FE loss can be offset through a variety of factors, but FE gains are incremental, and FE losses usually come from layering one factor on top of the other.

In the end, if you want to run heavier, less aero 17" wheels with wider, heavier tires, just be aware of the trade-offs.

Notes:

195/65/15, 205/55/16, and 225/45/17 are all similar diameters and were stock sizes. 225/50/17 is about 23 mm taller than an OE 15" combination, so for some owners this won't be considered the same.

Going to taller tires than stock, all things being equal, will not necessarily burn more fuel. Many owners here have used a taller tire to improve hwy FE, even when it raises CdA, due to (among other things) the impact on final drive. You can see those threads for more info.
 

ghohouston

Veteran Member
Joined
Apr 2, 2013
Location
Lewisville, Texas
TDI
2001 Jetta Sedan TDI 5 Speed
I've consistently gotten right around 40-42 m.p.g. with these rims and 225/45/17's. I keep the tires at 36 p.s.i. I drive the absolute piss out of my car, so I'm sure it would be better if I kept my foot out of it. I once drove from Denton, Tx. (Just north of Dallas, to a little inside Illinois (don't remember the town) but I had a 700 mile tank with average speed on that trip of 90 m.p.h.
 

Another

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Location
Montreal South-Shore
TDI
MK4 golf BEW + wagon ALH
That was highway or combined?
Combined, but mostly highway at about 60mph.
I filled it up yesterday after 375km from full tanks....after math conlusion was 6.1 l/100km - not so impressed for the moment. But i'm still fixing things on the car. Will try to switch to my Arietta's with Energy Savers and will see the difference
 

2002_auto_tdi

Veteran Member
Joined
Aug 3, 2020
Location
Virginia
TDI
03 5spd wagon and 02 01m sedan
I've consistently gotten right around 40-42 m.p.g. with these rims and 225/45/17's. I keep the tires at 36 p.s.i. I drive the absolute piss out of my car, so I'm sure it would be better if I kept my foot out of it. I once drove from Denton, Tx. (Just north of Dallas, to a little inside Illinois (don't remember the town) but I had a 700 mile tank with average speed on that trip of 90 m.p.h.
:oops:
 

msadkins3378

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Location
Apopka
TDI
2006 Jetta
I don't see why they would. Sure they are just a little bit heavier than the stockers but the tires on them are 225/50 17's....more or less the same effective overall diameter as the stock tire/rim combo.

The wheels are a more open design...that's the only thing that I can think of. Biggest thing is that they already came with my new to me MKIV TDI 2003 Wagon. I really don't think it's practical to go back to stockers unless I pull them from my 2002 Sedan.

Thanks.
 

msadkins3378

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Location
Apopka
TDI
2006 Jetta
I have managed to get my 06 Jetta TDI up to 55 mpg, plus horsepower! Well now it has more computer stuff and nitrous, to burn the diesel at 100%! No more carbon boogers!
HI,

When I went from steelies to my current Avus rims , I saved weight BUT I don't recall seeing alot of MPG increase.... (admittedly I didn't keep super accurate records of what I changed and when I made the changes back then (I did keep all fuel receipts / MPG figures tho)_.... so I don't think increasing weight a bit(?) would hurt too much .....(on the flip side if you run performance oriented rubber THAT could hurt big time due to added rolling resistance).

As far as open design hurting MPG's through aero losses ? ... I did the "Pizza Pan" mod for awhile (aero aid) and it did not seem to make a noticeable difference for better or worse so I think it would be hard to tell ..... it could have helped but I forgot to log stuff as to what the car set up was as I recorded MPGs (I did later tho).

I suppose the best way to really test the results would be to do like hard core car testers do .... take a small volume of fuel in a separate container and feed it to the engine as the fuel supply and run the same course until the fuel runs out ... make changes and repeat ... of course all driving on the same route / same driving style / factoring in changes in temp as day wears on.... (yes a little hard but

When I went with larger diameter tires (all season not high performance .... P 205 75R15 ). My fuel mileage went up because I got to multiply my hand calculated MPG x the correction factor for the larger tires and that helps alot MPG wise..... I know people who get big rims usually go with low profile tires usually but maybe moving up in the aspect ratio will gain back any possible MPG losses because of the heavier wheels? .

As an experiment , it would be neat to see how MPG's go if I went back to stock size on the avus rims or even steelies with the mods I now have BUT I don't have an extra set of wheels and tires to try that with (if anybody near me has a set of all seasons in stock size and wants to get some data I'd be happy to drive a few thousand miles and record data !) .... I drive alot so miles go fairly fast. .... Actually, conversely, if somebody wanted to see the effects of larger wheels on MPGs I'd be willing to drive those too for a bit .....

As far as wheel weight helping or hurting MPG's I will be installing a set of lightweight Volk TE37 wheels when my current tires wear out ( At the same time I will most likely upgrade tire size again to P215 75 R 15 for greater OD effect) ... I know making 2 changes at one time is not necessarily good but If I swap stuff out its cheapest / fastest to do it once rather than paying to have old tires swapped out to the new wheels and then swapping them out again once they wear out).

My feeling (based on my other 2 tire diameter increases) is that MPG's will go up mainly because of the OD effect the larger tires provide not so much the weight savings.

The weight savings MAY help a bit performance wise (light on its feet?) but I guess I'll see when I swap out.... I'm keeping better records now so time will tell ...

It'll be interesting to see what other people's results are.

Andrew
 

msadkins3378

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Location
Apopka
TDI
2006 Jetta
I have managed to get my 06 Jetta TDI up to 55 mpg, plus horsepower! Well now it has more computer stuff and nitrous, to burn the diesel at 100%! No more carbon boogers!
I have low profile tires, computer tweaking, blew all the dirt/carbon out, a new turbo (every 30,000), did a serious 150,000 mi service; fluids, hoses, belts, and added the nitrous for clean diesel burn! She’s a very happy car! Good to 500,000 mi, for the next service.
 

msadkins3378

Member
Joined
Jun 26, 2018
Location
Apopka
TDI
2006 Jetta
So this statement may sound outside of car logic, but, my 06/ 09 MK5, American built Jetta TDI, LE, blah, blah... and the ceo is in prison, because of emission duh ( he should be), so I happened on this Jetta TDI, cheap!
I had no intention of rebuilding the engine, it ran kinda great, with new fluids, brakes, tires, fuse replacements, etc. I got sick with bacterial meningitis, then covid-19 hit and I stayed inside, not sick from that, and Had 2 jet skis running 120mph, and this car. Sold the skis!
This car! The 2006-09 Jetta TDI MK model, has a great motor! Mine was not serviced at 50,000 or 100,000, the turbo never replaced, fluids by the last owner, now me! Long story, at 150,000, the first service was performed; it’s good until 500,000 mi.
I know there are ??? The answer is this, the Jetta TDI is a turbo Diesel, fuel injection system. It’s a monster! Keep the injectors clear, know diesel rules, oil change every 3000, transmission every 40,000, turbo every 30,000, glow plugs in the engine and transmission, and know the car, and how to do your own services! Heck, I’ve done tune ups since I was 12, and I’m a girl! I know carburetor rebuilding, plugs, distributor settings, oil, transmission, wiring, brakes and preventative maintenance; German is new, but an engine is the same, no matter what configuration!
My advise to any car owner? Either find a Chiltons, look at the engine diagrams, learn to change fluids, take care of the vehicle, or get a bike, or invest in footwear! If you don’t love the motor carting you around? It’s gonna make you walk!
 

Another

Member
Joined
Apr 22, 2019
Location
Montreal South-Shore
TDI
MK4 golf BEW + wagon ALH
I filled it up yesterday after 375km from full tanks....after math conlusion was 6.1 l/100km - not so impressed for the moment. But i'm still fixing things on the car. Will try to switch to my Arietta's with Energy Savers and will see the difference
So, i did not installed the Arrietas. Instead them i bough a set of like new Nokian Entyre 2.0 in 195/65r15 on stock Golf City wheels. Now my wagon drives much more when dropped in neutral then my Golf on R17 with energy savers (and i don't know why - rear brakes are new). So my recent fill-up showed me 5.2 l/100km (about 45mpg). I'd say it's good enough being considerated that i drive frecvently in city on strets with a lot of STOPs
 
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