What do pizza pans have to do with getting better gas mileage?
Maybe more than you think.
Using smooth wheel disks instead of traditional vented hubcaps might increase your car’s aerodynamics — and therefore its gas mileage.
What household object can you think of that looks almost exactly like a smooth hubcap, but costs a fraction of the price?
You guessed it: $5 Walmart pizza pans!
Hypermilers Make Cheesy-Looking Mods
Even though it might only be by a percentage or two, hypermilers and ecomodders are the Swagbucks-in-the-background-tab-watching Penny Hoarders of the vehicle world.
Any little bit helps!
To learn how to best hack their fuel efficiency, hypermilers use a device called a ScanGauge. It helps them figure out how much fuel they’re saving… or squandering.
It turns out solid hubcaps are, indeed, better for fuel economy than traditional vented wheel covers, or even hubcaps even with small vents — at least according to the ecomodders’ anecdotally scientific data.
For instance, user Concrete found his repurposed pans earned him about 1.3 mpg, or a 4.6% increase.
Here’s his mod material…
…and the finished product:
In an effort to get the best fuel economy possible for the smallest investment, Ecomodder forum user thatguitarguy also took the plunge and installed pizza pans over his hubcaps.
The ensuing conversation revolves around how to secure pizza pans to the wheels, and commenters suggest everything from bicycle clips to zip ties.
bbjsw10 provides a step-by-step guide in case you’d like to emulate these extremely frugal drivers. They don’t even look half-bad on his vehicle!
You can explore alternative options if you don’t fancy patronizing Wally World in your quest for better mileage.
For instance, hypermiler MattTheMaker retrofitted recycled corrugated plastic signs to create smooth hubcaps. He warns the modification might lower the effectiveness of your brakes by reducing the airflow they need to cool off.
Here’s how he did it:
Matt said he was able to get his signs for free.
He mentions cutting as efficiently as possible to make the most out of the available materials.
It fits! Matt then drilled holes to make the cover fit closely and secured it with zip ties,
Saving Money on Gas Doesn’t Have to Involve a Drill
If you’re grabbing your purse to head for Walmart’s kitchen goods section, good on you. But be careful, and make sure you don’t damage your car or make it unsafe to drive!
If you’re not quite ready to take a spin on pizza-pan wheels, there are lots of other ways to save money on gas.
Although with the price of oil being what it is these days, you might not even be concerned.
Your Turn: Would you ever install pizza pans on your hubcaps to save some gas?
Jamie Cattanach (@jamiecattanach) is a junior writer at The Penny Hoarder. She also writes other stuff, like wine reviews and poems.