The Pros and Cons of Using Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

Posted on: 22 February 2017

If you've been keeping your eye on the automotive industry in recent years, particularly the ever-improving hybrid segment, you might have noticed that many vehicles are now being offered with low rolling resistance tyres. As well as being fitted with new vehicles, these tyres can be picked up separately and used with your current vehicle when it requires a new set.

However, there are benefits and drawbacks to consider before you make the switch; low rolling resistance tyres can make excellent additions to your vehicle, but they aren't for everybody. Make sure you consider the pros and cons before you decide.

The Pros of Using Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

The most obvious and compelling reason to fit your vehicle with low rolling resistance tyres is that you will enjoy superior efficiency. This is also the main reason why auto companies provide them for newer models, especially for hybrid or electric models; after all, higher mpg ratings translate to strong sales.

Essentially, a tyre produces less resistance when less of its surface actually meets the road. When rubber meets road, friction is created and more energy needs to be expended in order to propel the vehicle forwards. Low rolling resistance tyres reduce the surface area that meets the road. They also tend to use tread depths that decrease rolling resistance. You can give a significant boost to your vehicle's efficiency ratings by adopting low rolling resistance tyres.

Additionally, you'll enjoy less sluggish performance, particularly when handling the long straight road or finely-surfaced city street. This is often a great benefit in smaller vehicles with less potent engines.

The Cons of Using Low Rolling Resistance Tyres

Of course, low rolling resistance tyres are far from infallible. They should never be used if you're going to head onto off-road trails or if you expect to regularly encounter slick road surfaces; because less of the tyre's surface area meets the road, traction is not as dependable.

For the same reason, vehicles fitted with low rolling resistance tyres tend to take tight corners less confidently, and they won't brake quite as quickly if you need to make an emergency stop. This doesn't mean that low rolling resistance tyres are unsafe; if they were, automakers would hardly be allowed to sell them. However, they aren't quite as dependable for more testing driving conditions, so you really have to take your own driving needs into account before making your final decision.