In case you are unaware, a car’s wheels severely affect its fuel economy and efficiency. Regardless of whether you are using high-end aftermarket rims like those manufactured by Fuel Wheels in place of the OEM wheels which came by default, there will be a remarkable effect on your fuel savings.
Luckily, this effect is mostly positive. When you are purchasing and using high-end rims from Dcenti Wheels or similar competing brands, you end up saving a significant sum of money that you would have otherwise spent on fuel.
Some of the common questions which custom wheel enthusiasts often ask are: do bigger wheels mean less fuel consumption? Or is it the opposite? What part does tires play in all of this, if at all?
Here are some of the most basic questions answered in an easy to understand manner.
Wheel sizes and fuel efficiency
Are you using a set of VCT Wheels? Or any custom rims which you have chosen for their attractive looks and superior performance capabilities? Then do read on!
- Bigger wheels do not necessarily mean more fuel expenses: There is a popular notion that if you use bigger Fuel Wheels, or any other rims, you will end up incurring more expenses on fuel. That is not quite correct. A lot of factors are involved when it comes to fuel efficiency. In fact, many car manufacturers are now deliberately using smaller wheels to improve fuel efficiency.
Bigger Dcenti Wheels and the likes are generally lighter than the OEM wheels that come factory-fitted. This is because these are mostly alloy rims crafted from high-quality aluminum and with traces of magnesium and other metals in them. Lighter wheels mean that they will require significantly less energy to get rolling.
This effectively means that you will actually need to burn a bit more fuel when you start driving on larger rims, but the more you drive, the more you save. As an aside, VCT Wheels and similar companies produce off-road capable rims which are a lot better than the factory-fitted rims.
Smaller wheel sizes will also require lower fuel for shorter distances, but it levels out when you are on a longer journey.
- Tires matter more than wheels do: This is a very overlooked aspect. Tires are the one surface which is in constant contact with the roads. It doesn’t matter whether you are using the best available Fuel Wheels or Petrol rims; if you are using the wrong sort of tires, your vehicle will sip a lot more fuel.
A good example is the concept of summer and winter tires. In many countries including the United Kingdom, legal mandates exist which prohibit the use of summer tires when the temperature falls below 7 Celsius. Only winter tires are allowed; on occasions, all-weather rims are also in great demand.
The same thing also happens in the United States. Unlike Dcenti Wheels and rival companies, tires are considerably different in their construction. Summer tubes are lighter, have bigger tread blocks and are mostly asymmetric in design. Winter tires are heavier for better grip, have a lot more rubber than other varieties and will also have greater tread depths.
What does all this mean?
Simply that wheel size is not the sole determining factor when it comes to calculating fuel costs. The tires you are using matter a lot as well!
That said, if you are driving a hatchback and shift from a set of 16-inch VCT Wheels to 17-inch rims, you will not notice any significant drop in their performance. The tires remain the same as does the performance. The BMW i3 is a great example to explain this effect.
- Driving habits matter to a great extent: If you are a city or suburb dweller who is using a set of top-notch Fuel Wheels of the right size, you will still notice that the fuel expenses do not dip sharply. The simple reason is that in such crowded locations, you have to brake more frequently, use the gear and clutch shift far more times, and you do not have the luxury to accelerate till you reach a highway.
Some people intentionally drive fast, without realizing that this is a dangerous habit that also consumes a lot more fuel. It is best if you stick to a standard clutch-shifting pattern and try not to downshift or brake too often.
Otherwise, even if you are using the best-available Dcenti Wheels and superior tires from Continental or Michelin, your fuel expenses will keep ticking north.
Surely, you know by now that this is a complicated subject with a lot of factors intermingling. To be on the safe side, follow traffic rules and always use the right size of Fuel Wheels, among others. Oversizing may be in, but it is not a very good fad.