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Thread: Choosing Fuel Efficient 15 Wheels and Tires

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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Choosing Fuel Efficient 15 Wheels and Tires

    I like my new Mirage, but the stance of the car is killing me. Do I really have to putt around on undersized wheels and tires to get great gas mileage? I’m about to do a 15" wheel/tire upgrade and find out!

    I only have about 700 miles on the car so far...and it's averaging 50+ mpg with conservative driving. If I can maintain that mileage with better looking wheels/tires, I’ll be satisfied. Remember...my goal isn't to find the biggest wheels/tires I can fit on the car. I'm looking for larger size while maintaining respectable MPGs.

    NOTE: If you don’t need the details, just go to my Fuel Efficient 15-Inch Wheels and Tires thread.



    Goal: Upgrade to 15” wheels with minimal impact to fuel economy

    Here's my approach to reach this goal:

    • Minimize the weight of the wheel/tire combination
    • Use the best low rolling resistance tire available




    3 Reasons I'm Upgrading to 15" Wheels/Tires

    Here's why I'm looking for new wheels/tires when my new car isn't even broken in yet...

    1. OEM wheels/tires aren't helping the car's appearance

    A Mirage looks oddly top-heavy on narrow wheels with excessive offset, and tiny tires.


    2. OEM tires are marginal

    Enasaves have no redeeming qualities (other than low rolling resistance). They have average traction, short tread life, and fragile sidewalls that seem to be easily damaged. At $120/each, nobody would ever put these tires on their Mirage if given a choice. I'd rather sell my Enasaves now while they are in like-new shape...and use those funds toward better/longer lasting tires.


    3. 14" tire selection is limited

    There are no 14" tires available with low rolling resistance and a long tread life. You want a tire with both qualities to minimize operating costs. A $50 tire that only lasts 40K miles or loses 2-3 mpg will ultimately cost more over time than a quality, long-life LRR tire.



    Tire Selection

    Here are the main pros/cons of the three 15" tire sizes I considered...

    #1: 175-55-15
    Pro: Same diameter as 165 Enasave
    Pro: OEM size on optional 15" Mirage wheels
    Con: Poor selection of LRR tires in this size
    Con: Fits best on narrow 6" wheels

    #2: 185-55-15
    Pro: Good selection of LRR tires in this size (Spark/Fit/Mazda2/Fiat 500 use this tire)
    Pro: Good fit on 6.5" wheels
    Con: 0.5" taller than 165 Enasave (speedo will be slow by 2.5%)
    Con: Slightly heavier than 165 Enasave

    #3: 195-50-15
    Pro: Same diameter as 165 Enasave
    Pro: Widest most aggressive looking tire
    Con: No LRR tires available in this size
    Con: Several pounds heavier than 165 Enasaves
    Con: This tire may have clearance issues on a Mirage


    Best Tire Size: 185-55-15
    This appears to be the best size tire for achieving my goals…
    1) There are multiple long tread life LRR tires to choose from
    2) This tire fits well on 6.5” wide wheels
    3) Some 185's are only 3 lbs heavier than 165 Enasaves
    4) 185's will fit without clearance issues
    5) They are close in diameter to 165 Enasaves (only 1/2" difference)


    Best 185-55-15 Tire: Bridgestone Ecopia EP422 Plus
    Here's why I chose this tire…
    1) Bridgestone’s Ecopia line is highly rated, and the EP422 Plus is their latest LRR tire
    2) It’s one of the lightest 185 tires available (~15.5 lbs vs 13 lbs for an Enasave)
    3) It has a long tread life rating for a LRR tire (See Promo Video)
    4) I've used Ecopias on a previous car and was happy with them
    5) These tires have a similar contact patch to 165 Enasaves (see below)

    185 Ecopias have 3 very wide groves in the tread design. When you compare the width of the tread actually contacting the road, the Ecopia 185 is nearly identical to a 165 Enasave. The following diagram illustrates this point. This tire was obviously designed with low rolling resistance as a priority.

    Name:  185_vs_165.jpg
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    TREAD LIFE UPDATE (August 2018)
    Ecopia tires have 11/32" of tread. After 50,000 miles they were all around 6/32". They are wearing roughly 1/32" every 10,000 miles. At this rate, they may be close to 90,000 miles when they reach the 2/32" limit.


    Tire Spec Chart: 165 vs 185

    165-65-14 185-55-15
    Manufacturer Dunlop Bridgestone
    Model Enasave Ecopia EP422 Plus
    Type All Season All Season
    Low Rolling Resistance Yes Yes
    Diameter 22.4 23.0
    Revolutions Per Mile 926 906
    Weight 13 lbs 15.5 lbs
    Tread Depth 9/32" 11/32"
    Treadlife Warranty None 70,000 miles
    Speed Rating S (112 mph) V (149 mph)
    Max Load 963 lbs 1047 lbs
    Max Air Pressure 44 PSI 51 PSI
    Rim Width Range 4.5 - 6.0" 5.0 - 6.5"
    Country Of Origin Thailand Mexico




    Wheel Selection

    Here are my wheel requirements for the weight, width and offset...

    Weight: 13 lbs
    A 14" OEM alloy wheel weighs 13 lbs…so that's the limit for wheels I'm considering.
    I'm hoping to reduce the wheel weight to help offset the slightly heavier 185 tires I'll be using.

    Width: 6.5"
    This is the widest wheel recommended for a 185 tire.
    This is the widest wheel (with 185 tire) that fits on a Mirage without clearance concerns.

    Offset: 40mm
    A 6.5" wheel with 40mm offset (and 185 tire) gives you adequate inner/outer fender clearance.
    The rear tires will not rub under any conditions and the fronts can turn lock to lock without issue.


    Best 15x6.5" Wheel: Konig Helium
    The Helium is a perfect fit for my wheel requirements...
    Weight ... 11.4 lbs
    Width ..... 6.5"
    Offset .... 40mm
    Price ...... $90/each
    Link to Konig Wheels





    Wheel &Tire Random Observations

    If you are interested in light-weight OEM wheels, see this thread: Alternative light-weight 15 inch wheels

    Using a quality LRR tire is more important to fuel mileage than a few pounds of weight on the wheel. If you find a slightly heavier wheel that you really like, just make sure you match it with a good LRR tire.

    Combining a heavy wheel with a non-LRR tire is a recipe for significantly reduced fuel mileage.

    Most wheels are heavier than they look. Don't buy a wheel until you know how much it weighs. Some manufacturers seem to go out of their way to hide the weight of their wheels.

    Don't forget to consider the weight of the tire when shopping. Tires can be the same size yet vary in weight by a few pounds. LRR tires should be lighter...but not always.

    Check the depth of the tread when new tire shopping. One way of cutting costs or making a tire with lower rolling resistance is to make it with LESS tread.


    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 10-09-2018 at 08:48 PM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.7 mpg (Imp)


  2. The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Top_Fuel For This Useful Post:

    Daox (12-13-2017),Eggman (06-06-2016),emdeplam (08-11-2016),Inudalek (06-06-2016),Marklovski (10-10-2016)

  3. #2
    Moderator Eggman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Top_Fuel View Post
    Well...I did find one interesting OEM 15x6 wheel that only weighs 12 lbs. I'll make a new thread about that wheel for anyone who may not be ready to buy new wheels.
    I'm interested in this.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 50.1 mpg (US) ... 21.3 km/L ... 4.7 L/100 km ... 60.1 mpg (Imp)


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    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Eggman View Post
    I'm interested in this.
    I forgot all about that. I will gather a few pics and will post an update before the end of the day.

    Edit - Here is the link for anyone wondering: Alternative light weight 15 inch wheels
    Last edited by Top_Fuel; 10-13-2016 at 04:15 PM.

        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.7 mpg (Imp)


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    Member roscoe1972's Avatar
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    How is the Traction and Responsiveness of the Ecopia EP422 Plus'?
    I have some new 15in wheels on the way and can't decide on tires (185/55). I like sticky responsive tires and am looking at Yoko Avid Ascends and YK740s, but the Ascend is 3lbs heavier than the Ecopia and one review mentions an MPG hit. With our squishy springs, will good tire performance be muted? How "bad" do the Ecopias perform?

  6. #5
    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe1972 View Post
    How is the Traction and Responsiveness of the Ecopia EP422 Plus?
    As strange as this may sound, I can't really give you a worthwhile review of how these tires handle. I drive my Mirage so easily, the tires are never close to the edge of any traction situations. I mainly chose these tires for their low rolling resistance and longer tread life.

    I can tell you that these tires are improved over Bridgestone's original Ecopia design from a few years ago. The "Plus" designation is supposed to mean improved wet and dry traction. I just haven't had an occasion to really put them to any test. The only thing I can verify is that they appear to be a good low rolling resistance tire.

    If you are moving to wider tires for improved handling, keep this in mind. These tires have a wider section width than stock Enasaves, but they don't put any more rubber on the ground because of their tread design (see diagram below). I would think that this may not be a good thing for someone wanting to throw this car into turns.

    Name:  tread compare.jpg
Views: 573
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        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.7 mpg (Imp)


  7. #6
    Member roscoe1972's Avatar
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    Thanks, I saw a back to back comparison with the Avid Ascend on a Prius forum. The guy said the handling was noticeably different, bu the Ascend had almost a 6mpg worse Mileage. That's hard to stomach for me and I'll likely go with the Ecopias.
    My new wheel is 13.4lbs plus the 16 Ecopia= 29.4lbs.
    I looked at the Helium Wheel but it isn't my style, plus the Ultra-lightness must give up some strength and I've had to replace many wheels due to bad potholes. Thanks Top_fuel for the work that went in to this Thread, I am putting it to use.

  8. #7
    Senior Member Top_Fuel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roscoe1972 View Post
    My new wheel is 13.4lbs plus the 16 Ecopia= 29.4lbs...
    That sounds great to me. If you're concerned about fuel mileage, I think it's more important to stick with a good low rolling resistance tire than to worry about a few pounds on the wheels. If you've damaged wheels before, I don't blame you for going with stronger ones. Be sure to post up some pics when you get them mounted.

    Don't forget the Bridgestone $70 Rebate that's good until Oct 31.


        __________________________________________

        click to view fuel log View my fuel log 2015 Mirage ES 1.2 manual: 51.4 mpg (US) ... 21.8 km/L ... 4.6 L/100 km ... 61.7 mpg (Imp)


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