What Happens When You Rotate Your Tires?
A tire rotation meaning moving your tires from their current position to another—usually switching out the front tires and rear tires. You may also have the tires change sides of the vehicle. There may be a pattern outlined in the owner’s manual of your car.
Why You Should Be Rotating Your Tires
Rotating tires ensures that your tires wear down evenly. It can help to extend the life of your tires and save you the money of investing new tires. Some tire manufacturers may require tire rotations for your warranty to be valid.
Different cars will wear down tires in different ways. For example, a car with suspension or alignment problems will often have unusual wear patterns on tires as well. When you rotate your tires, you can avoid other issues like tread cupping.
Tire rotation is important, but it will not fix problems with alignment and suspension. If these problems manifest in your car, have them fixed as soon as possible.
When your tires wear down evenly, you will have more balanced handling of your car. Wearing down your tires unevenly could make your vehicle more difficult to control—particularly in inclement weather and on slick roads.
How Often Should You Be Rotating Your Tires?
Typically, a car would need tire rotations about every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. This may vary based on your car—check your owner’s manual for specifics.
Tires will also wear differently in different locations. Usually, front-wheel-drive cars wear down front tires faster than rear tires because the front tires steer the vehicle and transfer power to the road. Whether as rear-wheel-drive cars will have more balanced wear. In these cars, the rear tires deliver the power and the front tires provide the steering.
How and when you should rotate your tires will also differ based on whether your car is a rear-wheel drive, front-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive vehicle. Front-wheel drive cars will benefit most from moving front tires to the rear and rear tires to the front, as well as switching the left and right sides. When rotating the tires for a rear-wheel drive, you should change the front and back tires again, but not switch sides. All-wheel or four-wheel drive cars will need tire rotations more often and follow the same process.
Other Things to Consider
If you have a vehicle with staggered wheels, meaning the front and rear wheels are different sizes, you should not rotate them front to rear. However, you can still rotate them side to side. Other cars, such as trucks, that have dual rear tires on each side, may follow a different rotation pattern. You may also practice a five-tire rotation with a spare tire, but all tires must be identical. This will put your spare tire into regular service. Other exceptions to tire rotation include winter tires.
When rotating tires, if your car has a tire pressure monitoring system, you may need to reset it.