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Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

 
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  • 1 Post By shelbyzman
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Old 21 May 2020, 12:02 pm
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Default Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

First of all, I know a PT Cruiser is not an ideal car for good mpg but I drive 40 miles one way to work everyday and get about 22 mpg with my 07 GT (5-speed). It's mostly highway miles. Anyway, my tires are shot on my aftermarket 17x8 wheels. So, I have some original 15x6 wheels off of a previous PT I had. Tires are a little dry rotted but not bad and have great tread. My question is, how much difference can I expect in gas mileage if I go with the narrow wheels/tires? 1 mpg....3 mpg??? Any and all ideas are welcome. At this point, I would like better gas mileage and give up looks....but if it isn't going to be major, I will probably just get new tires on the bigger wheels. Those little tires look so narrow compared to the 8" wide ones, lol.
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Old 21 May 2020, 03:56 pm
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

Thinner tires may help slightly, less mass, however what will make the biggest difference is the wheel/tire weight. The lighter the wheel/tire combined weight the better mpg.

Also note going to a smaller diameter wheel with throw off your speedometer. Smaller reads faster. HTH
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Old 22 May 2020, 12:09 pm
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

Quote:
Originally Posted by shelbyzman View Post
I would like better gas mileage and give up looks....but if it isn't going to be major, I will probably just get new tires on the bigger wheels.
Nominal gas mileage difference but I personally still would use up some of the rubber before losing it. At least for a while or if I feel they're unsafe. Stock rims look good to everyone but you. Gives you plenty of time to shop around, 17" tires can be expensive.

Last edited by circus; 22 May 2020 at 12:27 pm.
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Old 22 May 2020, 01:16 pm
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Red face Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

I used stock-size 16" wheels all around, and stock-size tires on the front ( for speedo calibration)

But I put the tallest/fattest tires I could find on the back! Damn the MPG

My highway mileage is amazing, anyway...
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Old 25 May 2020, 09:02 am
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

Factory tires are 205's no matter of 16" or 17". Not sure about the rim width. Air flow around either should be about the same.

What I do know is that Low Rolling Resistance tires are just that LRR. Even if you find an LRR you like, you're not going to see much - if any - measurable mileage difference. Too many other factors conspire to keep the PT out of the econobox category.

It's surely an interesting thought many of us have had, but you mention a long commute. Perhaps you can find a nice 18-wheeler to draft?

Bob in Liberty MO
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Old 25 May 2020, 10:12 am
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

The standard PT Cruiser weighs 3,123 lbs. That's 3/4 of the weight of a large 4-door Dodge Charger. The drag coefficient of the PT Cruiser is .39. For comparison, a Honda Accord is right around .30. Another vehicle with a .39 cd is a Chevrolet Tahoe, or a Dodge Durango. A Porsche Boxster has a cd of .29. It should also be noted that the 2.4L engine in the standard non-turbo PT still makes as much horsepower as an early 1980's Chevy 350 V8 engine. Overall, this means that a PT Cruiser is very heavy for a compact car, it is about as aerodynamics as a large SUV and the engine uses more fuel to make enough power to push this little beast down the road. It's not a fuel efficient car design and probably won't be even with some light modifications.

As a baseline for tire size, the GT 17 inch wheel is 5x100 7 inches wide and the offset is 39 mm. The stock tire is a 205/50 R17. You can go beyond this height and width to a limited degree if you get the offset right. On a PT Cruiser, the primary limiting factor on tire size is a front tire hitting a factory-style strut. Using aftermarket coil-overs can allow for wider and/or taller tires.

Here's a really good tire/wheel size calculator where you can visually compare.

Custom wheels, rim tire packages for your ride - RIMSnTIRES.com

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Old 25 May 2020, 04:02 pm
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

Bumping up the tire pressure might help (an infinitesimal amount, but something...)
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Old 25 May 2020, 07:43 pm
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Default Re: Wide vs Narrow Wheel MPG Comparison

Thanks for the info everyone. Sounds like the mpg gain would be minimal. The wheels I put on it after I bought it are 17x8 (225 x 45) and give the pt gt a pretty mean stance I can get some Douglas tires from walmart for about $60 a piece. The old stock tires have some dry rot...I will use them until they look worse and then go back to the 17x8's.
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