Car tires are always very expensive, so you want to make them last as long as possible. It is therefore important to know how often to rotate your tires so that they can last much longer. This is likely to help you save on shopping for newer tires for your car every time.
It is incredibly frustrating to replace tires that are only worn out on one side. To avoid that, you need to rotate your tires periodically. If one side looks more worn than the other, it’s probably time to shift these tires around to other places on the car.
Recommendations on how often to rotate your tires range from every 3,000 miles to every 8,000 miles. But these are just guidelines. It’s worth looking at your tires regularly for uneven wear even if the manufacturer of your tires says you can wait longer. Softer tires just like performance-oriented summer tires, tend to require more frequent rotation than their harder counterparts.
No matter what kind of car you drive, the tires at each corner are all doing a slightly different job. This means they wear differently. Front-wheel-drive cars in particular make their front tires work much harder than the ones in the back.
The front pair bears all the burden of accelerating and turning as well as most of the forces of braking. Front-engine front-wheel cars also carry most of their weight on the front end, which adds a bit more load onto those tires.
Rear or all-wheel-drive vehicles are not an exception. Any car will wear its tires in different ways just because of the peculiarities of that particular car’s suspension or alignment. So you want to rotate them if you can.
Contents of this article entail;
What Is Tire Rotation, And Why To Rotate Tires Often?
How often to rotate tires may be the most overlooked of all routine maintenance tasks. But what exactly is it? And why do vehicle manufacturers recommend it?
Tire rotation is a way of managing tire tread wear. The grating, scouring, and scraping that happens to your tires’ tread while carrying your vehicle over roads and rough surfaces. During a tire rotation, each tire is moved to a different position on your car’s axles. Like moving the front right tire to the back left position, for example. This shuffle helps your tires wear more evenly.
Refer to your owner’s manual or consult with your local auto care experts to understand how often you should rotate your tires. Most vehicle manufacturers recommend that you get your tires rotated about every 3,000 to 8,000 miles or six months. This depends on how often you use your car and the amount of work it performs.
Why Is Needing To Rotate Tires Often Important?
When you follow your vehicle’s manufacturer-recommended tire rotation intervals, you are supporting even tread wear. This helps improve handling, reduce noise and vibration, extend the life of the tire, and protect your tire warranty. Not only do these things save you from needing new tires sooner, but they can also provide a better driving experience.
Tires are one of the most important safety features of your vehicle. This is because they are the only parts of the car touching the ground. The purpose of regularly rotating tires is to help prolong tread life. This also helps promote more uniform tread wear for all tires on a vehicle.
Balancing the wear on all four tires is important. This is because it helps equalize traction from the front to the rear of the vehicle. This helps to ensure the vehicle does its best to respond to driving situations as you’d expect it to. If one end of the vehicle has more worn tires than the other, a sudden slippery situation could lead to a loss of control.
Keeping the wear even between all four wheels allows tires to be replaced in a complete set of four. Doing this helps make sure the handling from the front of the car matches that of the rear. Also, tire technology will evolve. Being able to replace all four tires at once helps you to benefit from advancements in tire technology.
Some cars, especially front-wheel-drive vehicles, will often have accelerated wear on the front tires compared to the rear tires. This is due to the extra weight on the front axle, combined with the extra forces involved in acceleration, braking, and steering. Rotating tires on these vehicles is important to help maximize the life of the tire.
How Often To Rotate Tires?
Rotate your tires as frequently as the tire manufacturers suggest that you should. They made the tires, have gone through multiple rounds of testing with them, and have a vast customer base which they use as an ongoing research project to ensure that their recommendations are in the best interest of both customer and company.
They likely have the best information! In addition, proof of compliance with manufacturer routine care recommendations may be required for warranty disputes if they should later arise.
Rotate your tires as frequently as your mechanic or the owner’s manual may suggest. You’ll likely be taking your car in for other reasons such as oil changes and routine maintenance at least once a year. Your mechanic will take a look at your tires from all angles and provide expert recommendations as to whether your tires should be rotated. They may just go ahead and do it for you for free.
As a general rule of thumb, you should request that your tires be rotated every six months or 3000 to 8000 miles you put on your car. However, that’s only a general rule! If your tire manufacturer or your auto mechanic have differing recommendations, err on the side of the earlier one unless you feel you’re being pressured by a too-eager mechanic.
Rotating the tires on your car is a simple way to ensure that you’re taking care of your tires. Which are the only part of your car that touches the road. Rotating your tires can help with ensuring that your tires experience wear consistently. This can help them last longer, leave your car balanced, and run more safely. However, there are situations in which you shouldn’t rotate your tires, simply because it isn’t time yet.
Is Needing To Rotate My Tires Often Necessary?
Yes, in nearly all cases every car requires tire rotations. The only exception applies to cars with staggered tire sizes from the front to the back, using directional tires which can’t be moved from one side to the other. This exception is most commonly found on high-performance vehicles.
What If I Don’t Rotate My Tires Often?
Without regular rotations, tire treads can wear down unevenly to create a rough and potentially unstable driving surface. In the end, this type of tire tread wear may decrease your safety on the road. This will result in heat build-up, hydroplaning, poor traction in snow and ice, and an increased risk of punctures and blowouts.
According to an NHTSA report, inadequate tread depth is responsible for more than 25% of all tire-related car accidents. Additionally, Consumer Reports found that up to 50% of all passenger vehicles currently on the road have at least one tire with insufficient tread.
1. Heat Build-up
When your car is moving, the friction created between the tires and the road generates heat. Tires are designed to withstand heat, but without the space for the cooling airflow that treads create, the temperatures can quickly reach unsafe levels. Too much heat can cause tire failures, such as blowouts and tread separation.
The deep grooves in healthy tread help channel water away from the driving surface, so the tire can maintain a firm grip on the road. Without adequate tread depth, tires can skim across the top of the water, dangerously compromising steering, control, and handling.
3. Poor Traction In Snow And Ice
With deeper, wider, sharper, and more irregular treads, snow tires are designed to improve traction by gripping into packed snow. Driving in winter conditions with insufficient tread depths (or inadequate tires) may increase the risk of spinning out or sliding around on icy roads.
4. Punctures And Blowouts
If you don’t rotate your tires, a spot on a tire that is experiencing excessive strain could begin to wear thin. The thinner the spot gets, the higher the chance that a nail, glass, or even a sharp rock could poke a hole in the tire. After all, tires just like chains, are only as strong as their weakest point.
The benefits of regular tire rotation far outweigh the risks of not getting it done. While skipping it could cost you dearly.
5. Tires Won’t Last As Long
You can’t drive on uneven tires for long. They will have to be replaced more frequently if you don’t have them rotated.
6. More Risk Of Accidents Or Problems
Not rotating your tires could lead to significantly less tread, which, in turn, causes an imbalance in the car. This means that your car will be more difficult to control, especially when you drive in inclement weather. Further, low-pressure tires can also lose grip and stability of braking, which can expose you to dangers while driving.
7. Risk Of Losing Your Warranty
If you recently bought new tires, you should know that some tire brands require car owners to regularly rotate the tires to keep the warranty valid. This means you risk having your warranty denied in the event something happens to your tires.
Procedures To Rotate Your Tire Often
The front and rear tires have varying steering and braking functions and bear the weight of different loads. Over time, these differences cause the tires to wear unevenly in different patterns. Tire rotation switches up the spots of the tires so that they don’t wear unevenly, and because of this, increases the lifespan of the tires.
Having your tires wear evenly is also important for balanced handling, U.S. News explains. For example, if you don’t rotate the tires on a front-wheel-drive car, then eventually the front tires will lose much of their tread and need to be replaced. Here’s what they say you need to know about how your car drives and what that means for your tires:
The tires on front-wheel-drive vehicles wear out on the front tires at a faster rate than the rear tires. This is because the front tires transfer power to the street and steer your car. It’s important to move the back tires to the front and the front tires to the back to keep an even wear.
Further, in this type of car, it’s also important to place the tires on opposite sides. For example, the rear right tire should go to the front left.
This kind of vehicle provides more balanced wear than the front-wheel-drive cars, however, the different functions of the front and rear tires mean there’s still a risk for different wear patterns. You should still get your tires rotated even if you have a rear-wheel-drive vehicle. For these cars, we move the rear tires to the front but keep them on the same side.
These types of tires are also known as four-wheel-drive. All-wheel vehicles may present the strongest need to have their tires rotated. This is because these cars are typically in front-wheel-drive a majority of the time. For these cars, we follow the same rotating process as rear-wheel-drive vehicles.
Important Considerations To Rotate Your Tires Often
The easiest way to rotate tires is by moving wheels to different locations on the car, but you can’t do that on every car. Cars sometimes use directional tires where the tread pattern is designed to work in only one direction. This direction is denoted by an arrow on the sidewall that points in the direction the tire rotates, or more generally by a V-shaped tread pattern.
You can swap these wheels and tires from front to back with ease. However, you can’t swap these tires from side to side without having someone dismount the tire from the wheel, since changing sides would flip the tread pattern in the wrong direction.
Many performance cars use staggered tire sizes. Meaning that the rear tires are larger than the fronts, though not always, as demonstrated by the wider front tires on the Audi RS3. In this case, you can’t rotate the wide rear tires on the front. You can only rotate tires to the other side of their given axle, which means you’ll need someone to dismount and remount the tire to fit on the wheel on the other side.
Another issue is wheel size particularly, the measurement for the wheel’s offset. Offset refers to the distance from the centreline of the wheel to the mounting hub. This determines whether a wheel clears vital braking and suspension components, or if it works with the suspension geometry at all. Some cars, such as the 2014 Chevrolet Camaro Z/28, might have the same size tires on all four corners, but slightly different wheels with different offsets.
In this case, you may be able to swap wheels from side to side if the tires aren’t directional, however, you will have to dismount and remount tires to swap them from front to back. Check your owner’s manual on that one since it won’t be obvious just by looking.
What Rotation Pattern Are Available To Utilize?
The tire rotation pattern that’s best for your vehicle will depend on the type of tire you’re using. Whether your vehicle is front, rear, all, or four-wheel drive. Or whether your tires are directional or non-directional. Whether or not your tires are the same size on the front and rear of your vehicle. And lastly, whether you have a full-size spare that can be rotated through as well, unlike a temporary spare.
Below are the tire rotation patterns recommended by the standardizing body of the tire industry, The Tire and Rim Association Inc. for all of these possibilities.
1. For Tires That Are Of Uniform Size And Non-Directional
There are three different options you can opt for in case you have uniform size and non-directional tires. They include;
For vehicles that are 4-wheel, all-wheel, or rear-wheel drive, the rearward cross pattern is recommended. Rear tires are moved to the forward axle and kept on the same side of the vehicle while the front tires are moved to opposite sides of the rear axle.
Recommended for front-wheel drive vehicles such as lightweight trucks and sedans. All tires are moved diagonally, meaning tires are switched from one axle to the opposite as well as being repositioned from one side to the other.
This is the most common pattern for front-wheel drive vehicles. The front axle tires are moved directly back while the rear tires are moved up diagonally to the opposite side of the front axle.
2. For Tires That Are Of Uniform Size And Non-Directional With A Full-Size Spare Tire
To ensure that all of the tires on your vehicle have even tread wear, you’ll want to be sure to rotate your full-size spare tire along with the other four. This is especially vital for all-wheel or 4-wheel drive vehicles where even small differences can put undue strain on your car’s drive train.
Rearward Cross (Rear-Wheel Or 4-Wheel Drive Vehicles)
Both rear axle tires move directly forward to the front axle while the spare tire moves to the right side of the rear axle. The right front tire moves diagonally back to the left side of the rear axle while the left front tire becomes your new spare tire.
Forward Cross (Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles)
Rear tires are moved diagonally to opposite sides on the front axle while the right front tire becomes the new spare tire. The spare tire is positioned on the right side of the rear axle while the left tire on the front axle is moved directly back into the left rear position.
3. For High Performance And Directional Tires
There are two tire rotation options that you can utilize if you have high-performance and non-directional tires. They include;
Side-To-Side (For Differently-Sized Performance Tires On The Front And Rear Axles)
All tires are switched with their same-sized partner and remain on the same axle. The two rear tires switch to the opposite side with one another while the two front tires do the same.
Front-To-Back (For Directional Tires)
All tires are moved from one axle to the other but remain on the same side of the vehicle. For example, the front left tire is moved to the left side of the rear axle while the rear left tire is repositioned on the left side of the front axle.
Don’t Rotate Your Tires (Not Even Often) If…
You don’t know what you’re doing. If you jack up your car in an improper fashion, you’re liable to break something. If you remove a tire or mount a tire incorrectly, you might break your car. Even if you’re able to drive away, if you don’t know what you’re doing, your tinkering might cause irreparable damage later on or damages requiring extensive, expensive repairs.
- If you don’t have a professional lift that can keep all four of your tires in the air at one time. You certainly can use a jack to hoist up the car one tire at a time, but that is time-consuming, exhausting, and can be dangerous for beginners. Don’t use four separate jacks to raise the car, as that is putting a lot of strain on amateur equipment.
- You have special tires. There are some kinds of performance or situation-specific tires which have to be rotated in a different way to aid with the formation of a specific tread pattern on your tires. If you’re not aware of this, you may not be able to treat your tires in the way they would require.
- You don’t have to. Many manufacturers and auto garages consistently run sales and specials wherein they will rotate your tires for you if you are requesting another service.
- It isn’t time yet. For the most part, tire manufacturers recommend that you get on a recurring schedule for tire rotation once the tires are new and stick to that recurrence as closely as you can.
Tire Maintenance And Rotate Your Tires Often
While the manufacturer of your car would always recommend that you always replace all four tires at the same time, there are times when it’s not completely practical to do so. When only replacing two tires, it’s recommended to put the two new tires on the rear of the car.
This ensures the rear has more traction than the front, meaning the rear wheels are less likely to swing wide in a slippery situation. The likelihood of this situation can be lessened with proper tire rotations completed on a regular schedule.
There are many different types of tires. From all-season tires to performance tires, to winter tires. These different tires have different performance characteristics, meaning one should never mix different types of tires on the same axle.
Always ensure when selecting tires that you choose the appropriate size for the car. Never mix two different sized tires on the same axle.
How Often To Rotate Tires: Conclusion
Regularly rotating your tires helps evenly distribute tire wear. This will help you to get the most miles out of your tires while maximizing traction on all four wheels.
On front-wheel-drive vehicles, front tires tend to wear faster than rear tires due to added pressure or resistance from steering.
Always considers regular tire rotations as basic tire maintenance and recommends you get your tires rotated every 3,000 to 8,000 miles. Adhering to this tire rotation schedule will help eliminate premature tire wear and could save you hundreds of dollars.