Auto Bits: How your tires can save you money

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Tip of the Week

In the world of tires, "low rolling resistance" is a lot like health care. It's a topic that affects nearly all adults, but the majority of consumers are not well-versed about the subject.

Nearly every hybrid vehicle now comes equipped with low rolling resistance (LRR) tires, which are designed to minimize the energy wasted as heat while the tire rolls down the road. A wide array of manufacturers are also developing LRR tires for gas-powered cars and trucks.

The overall result: better fuel efficiency. In fact, says Mark Chung, director of corporate planning and strategy for Yokohama Tire Corporation, studies have shown that for a vehicle averaging 15,000 miles a year, fuel savings (figured at $3 per gallon) on LRR tires will be approximately $100 annually.

According to Chung, manufacturers of LRR tires adhere to the same federal guidelines used to control the traction, treadwear and temperature resistance of every other type of tire.

Some manufacturers have mastered the LLR art while others are still learning. And many original equipment and replacement tires are still lack rolling resistance labeling, warns Chung. "Therefore, consumers should consult their tire dealers before making any low rolling resistance purchase," he says.


The List

Here are the 10 cars with the coolest steering wheels, according to

- Aston Martin One-77

- Audi R8

- Bentley Continental GT SuperSports

- BMW M3

- Ferrari 458 Italia

- Lamborghini LP670-4 Superveloce

- Lexus LFA

- Mercedes-Benz SLS

- Porsche Boxster Spyder

- Volkswagen GTI

Did You Know

Despite numerous recalls, Toyota still made a profit in March, and the company’s sales were up from the previous year.

Car Q&A

Q: I am interested in buying a 2003 Saturn four-door sedan. The car is in great condition and the price is reasonable. What are your thoughts on a car that is not made any more?

A: Here’s the real advice. Do not even think about buying this or any other Saturn. The availability of replacement parts is a real problem, and GM ordering is twice a week and in some cases four working days away. The prices on these parts that are not available from local parts stores are also outrageous. You will see the same problem on all other discontinued vehicle makes that do not share parts with other vehicles in the manufacturer’s vehicle line.

- Junior Damato, Talking Cars columnist

GateHouse News Service