Heres’ the latest reader question, along with my reply!
Sean asks: I always lower the air pressure in my truck’s tires by about 5 psi when it snows because this improves traction, or so I have been told. But does increasing the pressure have any benefit? I’ve been told it’ll give a noticeable improvement in fuel economy, by decreasing rolling resistance.
My reply: It’ll definitely give you a noticeable increase in ride harshness! Also, probably faster tread wear. How much of both – vs. how much you might save at the pump – is the calculation that needs to be done to determine whether it’s worth doing.
Right now, gas is cheap. Tires are not. Even nothing-special all-seasons generally cost about $100 each, plus the cost of mounting them. But let’s say $400 for a set. If you have to buy a set a year sooner than you otherwise would have had to because of increased/premature tread wear it’s doubtful you’ll recover that in gas savings, at least given current gas prices.
Also: Some cars are also very sensitive to significant changes in tire pressure; you might experience weird handling/braking. Then again, maybe not.
This is one of those trial and error things. Give it a try – and let us know the results!
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