The Definitive Guide To Tire Rotation

It is generally understood that the reason for rotating automobile tires is to ensure that each tire wears evenly and at the same rate. Maintaining even tire wear is crucial to extending the life of tires as well as allowing the vehicle to operate at peak performance. Each make and model of vehicle has its own unique and specific tire rotation frequency and rotation pattern based on manufacturer recommendations. Here is a useful tip: Always check manufacturer manuals for tire rotation information as some makes and models actually advise that tires not be rotated at all.

Why Should You Rotate Your Tires?

To answer this question in terms of dollars and cents, tire rotation saves money in the long term. The dynamics of how tires wear and the fact that front tires generally wear out three times faster then rear tires is good cause to maintain a regular rotation schedule. In addition, another very critical reason for rotating tires on the manufacturers recommended schedule is to maintain a vehicle at it’s highest level of safety standards. Rotating tires also improves tire traction and gripping performance of the vehicle through a variety of weather conditions, and allows for maximum breaking and handling.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?

As discussed earlier, each vehicle will have a unique manufacturer recommended rotation schedule. For many American-made vehicles the rule of thumb for rotating is generally between 5000 and 10,000 miles of normal local and highway driving. In addition, the manufacturer will recommend a specific tire rotation frequency and pattern. A typical pattern might include moving the back wheels to the front the vehicle, and conversely moving the front wheels aft while at the same time crossing them from side to side. One important distinction is that for uni-directional type tires the rotation should be from front to back, but while staying on the same side of the vehicle. This technique maintains proper rotational direction for this type of tire.

Can a Car Owner Safely Rotate Their Tires?

The short answer is without a doubt, yes. However there are a few job specific tools that are required, including a torque wrench. Each vehicle will have a unique set of torque specs that are typically found in the owners manual. Another important item for rotating tires is a hydraulic jack. While the vehicles stock jack may in fact work in most cases, a heavy-duty hydraulic jack is highly recommended. This is a job they can certainly be done by the car owner as long as proper safety precautions are observed. Simple steps such as setting the parking brake, working on level ground, and ensuring that the engine is off are all a part of working safely.

Unique Considerations in Tire Rotation

Finally, there are specific procedures for certain vehicles such as front-wheel-drive cars. In the case of front-wheel-drive vehicles the front tires tend to wear at a more rapid pace than normal, making tire rotation even more of a safety concern. Knowing the importance and value of proper tire rotation is well worth it considering the return on safety and the monetary savings. Always follow manufacturer recommendations and keep your car running at its very best.

  • US DOT’s official site on car safety.

The writer of this article, Taylor Brown, is an avid car enthusiast who helps people get approved for car loans with bad credit.