Most drivers don’t really pay attention to their tires unless they’re flat. Since tires are the only things that come between your car and the road, they could wear out faster. And because they aren’t cheap, you don’t want to be replacing tires earlier than they need to be. Fortunately, tire care tips such as regular tire rotations can help prolong the life of your tires.
If this is your first tire rotation, this guide will simplify things for you. Read on to find out everything you need to know from the frequency of tire rotation to tire rotation patterns and why it matters.
How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?
Tire rotation recommendation varies between vehicle manufacturers, but most of them fall within the range of 5,000 to 7,500 miles or at least every six months. Some mechanics would recommend rotating your tires at the same interval as changing your oil. For a more accurate tire rotation frequency, refer to your owner’s manual.
Benefits of Regular Tire Rotation
Rotating your tires regularly benefits you in many ways:
- Evens out wear on your tires
- Maximizes tread life
- Improves traction
- Keeps tire handling consistent
- Improves cornering and braking performance
- Improves fuel efficiency
- Enhances overall safety
- Saves money long-term
It’s also an opportunity to check for the following:
- Wheel alignment
- Air pressure
- Possible tire damage
How to Rotate Your Tires
These are the three basic tools you need to rotate your tires:
- Lug wrench
- Car jack
- Jack stand
Front tires wear out more quickly since they are largely responsible for braking, gripping for traction, and turning around corners. Tire rotation swaps the front and rear tires and makes sure to balance the wear and tear of all tires.
Here’s how to rotate your tire depending on your type of vehicle:
Front-Wheel Drive Tire Rotation Pattern
When you’re driving a front-drive type of vehicle, the wear is going to be heavily centered on the front tires. To even out the wear, rotate the tires by taking the front tires directly to the rear position on the same side. Now take the rear tires and place them on the opposite front corner. For example, the left rear tire goes to the right front corner.
Rear-Wheel Drive Tire Rotation Pattern
The same principle applies here. Only now, you’re swapping the rear tires straight to the front of the same side and moving the front tires to the opposite rear corner. For example, the right front tire goes to the left rear corner.
All-Wheel Drive Tire Rotation Pattern
With this type of vehicle, you should crisscross all four tires altogether. Here is an example:
- Move the right front tire to the left rear side
- Move the left front tire to the right rear side
- Move the left rear tire to the right front corner
- Move the right rear tire to the left front corner
You may think that having an all-wheel-drive will make you immune to tire rotation maintenance. However, that is a common misconception as there’s no guarantee that tire wear will be distributed equally, even with an all-wheel-drive vehicle. There are a lot of factors that could impact tire wear including your vehicle’s weight distributions.
What Happens If You Never Rotate Your Tires?
Without regular rotations, tire treads can wear down at different rates that could create an unstable driving surface. Since there’s uneven tread wear, it accelerates the wear on the tire that uses more traction.
When this happens, you could end up replacing your tires prematurely. Your tires may last up to around 50,000 miles at most if not rotated regularly. In the end, having this kind of tread wear compromises your safety on the road.
Final Thoughts on Tire Rotation
As a driver, you need to pay extra attention to your tires as they are usually the first casualty of wear and tear. With constant use, your tires will wear down eventually, but if you want your tires to last longer, rotating them regularly is an effective way to do it.
Regular tire rotation reduces your risk of having an inconvenient or even potentially dangerous situation. It also improves traction and fuel efficiency, helping you save money in the long run.
That said, knowing the right tire rotation interval is equally important. To simplify the frequency of your tire rotation, have them rotated at the same time you are changing your oil so you will not forget to do it.
Furthermore, what you drive, where you drive, and how you drive are also factors that affect impact tread wear. So ease up on the breaks, slow down when turning, and avoid rough surfaces when possible to protect your tires.
Ultimately, knowing how often to rotate tires is all about helping extend your tire’s longevity, providing you with a better driving experience, ensuring your safety, and of course saving you money in the process.