Tires helping cars improve fuel efficiency, but at a cost

March 29, 2013 12:00 AM

Car manufacturers want to do all they can to sell a vehicle. Low prices, special features and guaranteed fuel efficiency are often tied to this idea, with automakers customizing every detail of the car to get the most out of it. That's certainly the case with tires, as some types improve fuel efficiency - but fall short in other categories. 

According to a study from J.D. Power and Associates, customers who purchase new vehicles are not satisfied with the run-flat or low-rolling resistant tires that often come on the models. Run-flat tires, which are used in place of having a spare tire, don't provide the same quality as their standard counterparts. 

"Automakers are trying to reach the next level of fuel economy, and are looking to their suppliers - in this case, tire manufacturers - to help them get there," said Brent Gruber, director of the global automotive division at J.D. Power and Associates. "The challenge is doing this while finding tires that meet the customers' expectations. Run-flat tires are not currently meeting those expectations." 

The satisfaction gap is most prevalent with sports vehicles, while drivers of luxury cars have also noticed a difference in quality. 

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