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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Have a new 2012 Kia Sportage w/ the 17" alloy rims and low profile tires. Was wondering if steel rims and bigger tires with full moon hubcaps would aid in better mpg. Other plus's : more affordable rim, more affordable tire, easy to clean w/ full moon hubcaps. Any suggestions ? downside, Kia would not take my new rims/tires in for trade for steel wheels and other accessories.
Help in finding replacement and selling originals would be nice.
 

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Cerato S Hatch Auto
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Are you hoping that improved aerodynamics will aid fuel economy? Can't see it working.

If you want to try the experiment, it's going to cost you any way you do it. Probably best to hang on to the original rims and tyres even if you do go steel. That way, if it doesn't work out or you change your mind, you only have the steels to get rid of. Maybe buy steels that will fit something else?

Funny, most people go for alloys. You clean your wheels? A little bit of dirt makes 'em look tough!
 

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You might see a very slight mpg improvement,logically,handling might get little unsteady a your resale value will diminish "slightly" too. Plus the car would look silly,the least to say. My take. What motorization you have and how many miles do you drive? If not too many,i'd keep whats on.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 · (Edited)
yeah my hope was to see if i could get better mileage. i do understand that steel and more rubber is heavier.

but that is good advice to keep the originals.

also the kia service guy said it would be better to get a rear spoiler, those plastic hood and window vent shade things and drive at 55 whenever possible.

and yeah it may never pay off if it doesn't work to save on fuel but i just think those full on moon caps look cool. searching around though it does seem to work on other vehicles with a lot of other mods.

a friend was wondering if the completely covered wheels would hinder cooling of the brakes, the service guy said probably not b/c they are exposed on the other side.
 

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None of that actually.

Steel wheels are heavier (as you know), making them harder to spin, lowering MPG. Alloys are lighter. I wrote an exhaustive thread a while back on how lightweight small wheels save MPG and generally improve handling, check it out.

A spoiler usually creates drag, unless it's the lip-style spoiler on the Sportage. The vent shade things (deflectors and visors) also increase drag, reducing MPG. I've written a thread on Sportage aerodynamics, and I'll post it in a week or so, but my conclusion has so far been that the Sportage's aerodynamics are difficult to improve.

A moon cover will prevent some brake cooling by hindering air flow (not stopping it), making repeated heavy-braking dangerous by causing brake fade. They will also alter wheel balance, so they'll need to be manufactured properly. However, they will improve the aerodynamics of one of the most airflow-noisy areas of the car, improving MPG. And they do look cool.
 

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The whole drag concept works in theory, but in reality at normal driving speeds, nothing you can do will make a noticeable difference in gas mileage. Maybe if you were driving 120mph for 2 hours straight, you'd see a measurable difference.
 

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I have to admit, an aerodynamic tweak will generally gets MPG improvements in single digits. However, try bicycling, and you'll see that air has real substance at speed and is hard to push against; at ~24kph, it's the main energy cost. Since drag increases exponentially when speed increases linearly, it gets expensive at a car's speeds. Anyway, I'll need a paragraph on why aerodynamics matters in my thread.
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If you're looking for MPG improvements, Ecomodder has a good list. Keeping in mind they're insane, it's good to know every option and how it ranks. Moon Caps were rated as moderately easy, with a minor efficiency improvement, for a moderate cost, gaining [email protected] in their test. And that's just using pizza pans from Walmart (remember, they're insane).
 

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I have to admit, an aerodynamic tweak will generally gets MPG improvements in single digits. However, try bicycling, and you'll see that air has real substance at speed and is hard to push against; at ~24kph, it's the main energy cost. Since drag increases exponentially when speed increases linearly, it gets expensive at a car's speeds. Anyway, I'll need a paragraph on why aerodynamics matters in my thread.
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If you're looking for MPG improvements, Ecomodder has a good list. Keeping in mind they're insane, it's good to know every option and how it ranks. Moon Caps were rated as moderately easy, with a minor efficiency improvement, for a moderate cost, gaining [email protected] in their test. And that's just using pizza pans from Walmart (remember, they're insane).
But the main factor in aerodynamics is frontal area and coefficient of drag, neither will be changed by anything you can do to a Sportage enough to make a noticeable difference. Driving habits have much more effect. As speed increases, frontal area becomes even more of an issue.

You can reduce the Cd, but are you really willing to make the vehicle cosmetically unappealing to gain a mile per gallon average? If someone is that worried about Cd to improve mileage, they shouldn't have bought a Sportage and went with a hybrid instead.
 

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Driving habits have much more effect. You can reduce the Cd, but...cosmetically unappealing to gain 1mpg.
Driving habits have more effect, but aerodynamic improvement continues working regardless. Good habits and aerodynamics in tandem is even better. Even better is aerodynamically compensating for having too much fun driving ;-)

I did say ecomodders are insane, and will do ugly things to economical (cheap) cars. Still, some mods, like the moon caps, look pretty cool or can be done well. Removing bull-bars in the city, or cosmetic spoiler-wings can look good, modern or retro or aggressive.

+1mpg seems like a pointless aero mod. The Sportage's 15.3gal tank and specified range of 321.3mi @ 21mpg city (inaccurate, but to illustrate, from edmunds.com/kia/sportage/2012/features-specs.html), +1mpg would mean an extra 15.3 miles per tank, making the city range 336.6mi. That's nearly 5% further on every fill-up using Kia's optimistic numbers. Another way, that's a free tank of gas every 21 fill-ups, worth 76$USD (US-gallons) where I am (~60$ USA). Not earth-shattering, but not pointless, even with overly conservative numbers. Mods you don't hate can be worth considering.
 

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I guess opinions differ, but putting steel wheels with moon caps that belong on a 1930's Rat Rod would be horrendous on a 2011-2012 Crossover, no matter what the gain would be. The other drawbacks have already been mentioned, but missing the fact that besides the increased weight, it's unsprung weight, which is much more detrimental to performance than the small decrease in Cd.

I guess if gas mileage was that much of a concern to me, I'd look at options like that, but then again, if I was that concerned about gas mileage, I wouldn't have bought a Sportage that only gets 21/26mpg in the first place.
 

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I agree about unsprung weight, the reason why unnecessary steel wheels are usually a bad idea for road cars. 16in alloys are cheap. I don't know how pleasant it is (only screw-on etc), but some people install covers over aluminum wheels.

I love the stainless techno-disc look, as if they came off a Delorean prototype. I don't think much about what's appropriate for any type of car, since they're all cars with a purpose. I think I do see what you're saying, that moon caps could look right on a retro car and odd on another. Matters of personal taste and functionality and fun, I suppose. I wouldn't recommend this even if it worked ;-)
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
thanks for all the good info/replies

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder Racing Disc Hubcaps (Pop-On). Scion Hubcaps, Vintage, Kustom Wheel Covers
I wouldn't say they are ugly, I think they still look pretty cool. B
But researching these, the only way to check your air pressure or refill would be to remove them, so I think I will pass. That and the original factory wheels/tires have that low pressure system so I don't think they would work out anyway.

http://www.karmanneclectric.blogspot.com/
 

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I have to be honest, how anal (or cheap) are some people? I don't get it.

Dude, a rear spoiler, vent shades, moon hubcaps.........I mean come on. If you wanted tons of MPGs, buy a Prius. Even if you saw an improvement, there is no way it would be significant enough to justify all the work and money spent.
 

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I have to be honest, how anal (or cheap) are some people? I don't get it.

Dude, a rear spoiler, vent shades, moon hubcaps.........I mean come on. If you wanted tons of MPGs, buy a Prius. Even if you saw an improvement, there is no way it would be significant enough to justify all the work and money spent.
I agree totally. I said the same rather more politely in my first post.

The Sportage was recently compared with half a dozen medium SUVs by the Australian Wheels magazine. Sportage was near the bottom in their assessment. In particular, fuel consumption (2.4 normal engine) was the worst. Nothing you do to it is going to improve matters noticeably.

If you do fit steels, I wouldn't be too concerned about possible changes to handling. This is a popular topic with "armchair" experts. Someone mentioned the hoary old one about "unsprung mass"; not a worry considering the small difference in overall weight of the various wheels at normal speeds in a fairly heavy SUV.

It's usually assumed that alloy wheels are much lighter than steel, but the majority of cast alloys are quite thick and might only be a few pounds lighter. Compare this to the typical wheel + tyre combo at about 50 pounds.
 

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The Aussies consider the Sportage a "medium sized" SUV?
 

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Outside North America, the Sportage is big ;-)

In North America, Sportage is considered a small CUV (like BMW's SAV marketing). It is the lightest crossover I could find, smaller than the other small crossovers (X3, RDX...). A V6 is normally a baseline (the RDX's 4-cyl was discontinued this year). Sorrento is considered a medium crossover SUV, which makes sense when there's trucks and Escalades and Explorers Everywhere. Sportage seems more like a roomy hatchback. Just wait until you see the fuel efficiencies ;-)
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It isn't just thriftiness. If it was, there are cheaper cars. Not just environmentalism, since there's more enviro-friendly cars (not too many, no polo bluemotions etc.), and environmentalists often do buy hybrids for some reason. It's not just performance, or custom style, or fun. Sometimes better is better; people can pick their reasons and consider what is worth considering.
 
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