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The Tire Rack's Tire & Wheel Forum
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:55 PM   #1
Kizewic
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How bad do snow tires hurt mileage?

I drive a 2004 325i with 24k miles for about 8 months of the year I ran stock continental tires on my 16 inch wheels and can get about 20mpg on average. Mostly city driving. But during the winter months I run 17 inch wheels with snow tires and a offset thats not ideal for my vehicle but the wheels and tires were free. Im not sure of the tire make but im lucky to get 16 or 17 the computer says. Is this normal to have this big of a loss?
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Old 03-12-2013, 12:58 PM   #2
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very badly, cuz when you're stuck in snow you are putting on no miles
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:04 PM   #3
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very badly, cuz when you're stuck in snow you are putting on no miles
This is true. But it seems even when there is no snow and they are obviously still on. My mileage still suffers significantly.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Kizewic View Post
I drive a 2004 325i with 24k miles for about 8 months of the year I ran stock continental tires on my 16 inch wheels and can get about 20mpg on average. Mostly city driving. But during the winter months I run 17 inch wheels with snow tires and a offset thats not ideal for my vehicle but the wheels and tires were free. Im not sure of the tire make but im lucky to get 16 or 17 the computer says. Is this normal to have this big of a loss?
I run all seasons because I have an Xi and I live in Jersey which gets about 3 flurries a year if that. But I still noticed my mileage drop over the winter. I have heard that fuel has different chemicals in it for winter which allows the car to start more easily in the cold but sacrifices mileage. I have yet to verify this, however.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by hcollins View Post
I run all seasons because I have an Xi and I live in Jersey which gets about 3 flurries a year if that. But I still noticed my mileage drop over the winter. I have heard that fuel has different chemicals in it for winter which allows the car to start more easily in the cold but sacrifices mileage. I have yet to verify this, however.
hmm thats an interesting concept. I do know there are winter blends but never put thought into it. I live in northwest ohio and id be standed in my rwd without my snow tires lol. Im just excited to get them off shortly the driving experience is so much more fun.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:52 PM   #6
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My milage is better with snow tires: lighter wheels (17s versus 18s) smaller tires 205s all around versus 255/235s).
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:54 PM   #7
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My milage is better with snow tires: lighter wheels (17s versus 18s) smaller tires 205s all around versus 255/235s).
That makes sense but I'm surprised you can actually notice a difference.
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Old 03-12-2013, 01:59 PM   #8
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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R has the lowest rolling resistance of any tire on the market, so they positively affect gas mileage.

Stop buying inferior snow tires.
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:46 PM   #9
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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R has the lowest rolling resistance of any tire on the market, so they positively affect gas mileage.

Stop buying inferior snow tires.
Hakuna Matata tires?
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Old 03-12-2013, 04:57 PM   #10
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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R has the lowest rolling resistance of any tire on the market, so they positively affect gas mileage.

Stop buying inferior snow tires.
But doesn't love rolling resistance also mean less traction? Not really the point of a snow tire then. Correct me if I'm wrong.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:40 PM   #11
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I drive a 2004 325i with 24k miles for about 8 months of the year I ran stock continental tires on my 16 inch wheels and can get about 20mpg on average. Mostly city driving. But during the winter months I run 17 inch wheels with snow tires and a offset thats not ideal for my vehicle but the wheels and tires were free. Im not sure of the tire make but im lucky to get 16 or 17 the computer says. Is this normal to have this big of a loss?
One, I would put the summer tires on the 17-inch wheels, and the snow tires on the 16s.

The tires should not affect the mileage very much, but snow has got to kill you in this area.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:46 PM   #12
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But doesn't love rolling resistance also mean less traction? Not really the point of a snow tire then. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Rolling resistance and traction two completely different things.


OP---rule of thumb is that it could make a 10% difference.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:54 PM   #13
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i run on 15 inch winter tires. no noticable mileage decrease compare to 17 inch summers.
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:56 PM   #14
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Nokian Hakkapeliitta R has the lowest rolling resistance of any tire on the market...
Uh oh, we have a kal-tire employee here. When I was switching over to my winters Kal-Tire once tried to up sell me on all 4 of my shocks, which I just had done 6,000 kms prior by the Benz dealership for less than they quoted me. KTs mechanics and staff are a joke.

I actually have Hakka Rs and they are decent. They are useless on cold dry surfaces and ice, amazing on snow though. Would not get them again though seeing as in my city we get more ice than consistent fresh snowfall.

To answer OPs question, yes they do. Harder compounds, overly aggressive and chunky tread patterns lead to higher rolling resistance. Ergo, lower fuel mileage. Cars run less efficiently when they are in freezing temperatures in general, requires more energy to keep the engine warm. In summer I can get 750kms out of one tank as opposed to winter when I get 550-600kms.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:13 PM   #15
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not to mention when you have snow tires on it is most likely cold out, so our cars run in "cold mode" basically using alot more gas in compared to summer, when they are pretty much warm all the time
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:02 PM   #16
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aggressive and chunky tread patterns lead to higher rolling resistance. Ergo, lower fuel mileage. Cars run less efficiently when they are in freezing temperatures in general, requires more energy to keep the engine warm.
^This. Add to this the heavily siped tread blocks tend to squirm more, generating heat. Heat = wasted energy. Also, that 17" wheel/tire combination probably weighs more than the 16" set...

But you have the winter setup for safety. And the first time you stop "just short enough" or continue safely where others have slid off the road, you are more than happy with slightly lower gas mileage.

Since you got the winter package at the right price, there are obviously no complaints, but, the conventional setup would be 225/45-17 in the summer and 205/55-16 for winter rubber.
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Old 03-13-2013, 11:18 AM   #17
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^This. Add to this the heavily siped tread blocks tend to squirm more, generating heat. Heat = wasted energy. Also, that 17" wheel/tire combination probably weighs more than the 16" set...

But you have the winter setup for safety. And the first time you stop "just short enough" or continue safely where others have slid off the road, you are more than happy with slightly lower gas mileage.

Since you got the winter package at the right price, there are obviously no complaints, but, the conventional setup would be 225/45-17 in the summer and 205/55-16 for winter rubber.
Oh I completely agree the snow tires are worth every accident they've saved me from. And the tires being free im not gonna complain about size lol.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:40 PM   #18
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I actually have Hakka Rs and they are decent. They are useless on cold dry surfaces and ice, amazing on snow though. Would not get them again though seeing as in my city we get more ice than consistent fresh snowfall.
Nah man, they are like smooth all-season tires on dry pavement all the way up to and past their speed rating. They are phenomenal on ice for a non-studded tire.

I don't know you but I don't think your opinion is valid. They are the best snow tires in the world, no question.
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Old 03-14-2013, 11:30 AM   #19
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It is not all about the winter tires themselves, rather it is a combination of winter fuel composition, the tires, letting vehicles warm up more, other people driving more slowly, and in driving in snowy/wet/slushy conditions. Of those, in my opinion the largest effect on MPG would be driving in snow and/or slush. Even a small amount creates more rolling resistance.
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