What is Tire Rotation?
Tire rotation consists of moving tires from one part to another.
For an all-wheel drive or rear-wheel drive, the front tires will go on the opposite sides of the rear, while the rear tires will move forward without changing the sides.
Front wheel drive cars require the front tires to move straight back and the rear tires will move to the opposite sides on the front.
Note that this general rule doesn’t apply to all vehicles. Certain performance model cars have different tire sizes in the front and rear, and you may need to consult a tire expert to understand how tire rotation will work on your car model.
7 Reasons You Should Rotate Tires
Tire rotation is essential as it:
1. Maximizes Tire Tread Life
Tires over time develop a difference in tread wear on the front and rear tires. Front tires help with steering, while the rear ones don’t do a lot in regards to lateral movement.
Every time you steer the car, your front tires experience the most stress, unlike the rear tires. For a front-wheel drive, the tread wears out faster on the front tires due to the stress of a drive axle.
Rotating your car tires provides an even amount of tread on the tires, which contributes to a comfortable and smooth ride.
2. Improve Your Car’s Performance and Handling
Your tires play a critical role in your vehicle’s performance.
Having unbalanced tires means that some tires will be more strained than others, which can cause drag. Uneven wear can also lead to vibration when driving at a high speed. That could damage your suspension.
Going for regular tire rotation can help maximize performance by not only contributing to a smoother ride but also extending your tire life.
Rotating your tires can also help improve handling. You may notice a difference in your braking speed when your tires have uneven tread depth. It may be challenging to stop quickly in case of an emergency.
Additionally, driving on wet roads with unevenly worn tires may make it difficult to control the car due to poor tire traction. Tire rotation can help prevent this and improve your braking speed and ability to control the vehicle.
3. Enhance Fuel Efficiency
Worn tires create a drag that further strains your engine. Your car has to put in more work to travel the same distance if the tires don't have the right grip. Any strain on your engine leads to increased fuel consumption.
Rotating your tires can help increase gas mileage, which ultimately saves you time and money at the pump.
4. Reduce the Risk of a Tire Flat and Blowout
Uneven tire wear increases your chances of having a blowout or a flat tire.
A report by NHTSA shows that inadequate tread depth is the major cause of over 25% of car accidents.
Sometimes it's difficult to spot a thin tread on your tires, and this may put you at risk of blowouts while driving. That’s why you should have your tires rotated often to prevent burst tires and an increased risk of punctures.
5. Keep Your Tire Warranty Valid
Most tire warranties require proof of tire rotation at specific intervals.
Skipping tire rotation could void the warranty if you claim under it. That means you’ll have to incur any repair or replacement costs as your warranty won’t cover any of these expenses.
6. Spot Other Tire Issues
Tire maintenance is something that’s often neglected. You may quickly repair a flat or fix low pressure, but taking time to check the overall condition of your tires is not something done by most drivers.
Taking your car for regular tire rotation can help spot other issues you may be unaware of. A tire repair expert can check for blistered sidewalls, bent rims, corroded wheels, and other things that could put you at risk while driving.
Furthermore, rotating your tires can also help keep other car parts functional. Components like the suspension system, brakes, axles, differentials, and wheel bearings are affected by your tire performance.
7. Extend the Life of Your Tires
Front tires tend to wear out quicker than rear ones on most front-wheel-drive cars. These tires absorb the most force when steering and braking.
Unfortunately, uneven wear can lead to damaged tires. That means you may need to replace your tires soon. Tire rotation can extend the lifespan of your tires as it ensures that all tires get to wear down evenly.
Rotating your tires every six months is recommended for all vehicles whether front-wheel or all-drive.
How Much Does it Cost to Rotate the Tires?
Tire rotation can cost between $20-$50, depending on your location and vehicle type. The cost can go up to $100 in some dealerships.
Nonetheless, considering that you only get to rotate your tires every six months, the cost is affordable.
How Often Should You Rotate Your Car Tires?
Tire rotation is recommended for every 5,000-8,000 miles.
Your tire’s owners manual specifies how often you should rotate your tires. Most manuals have the recommended tire rotation mileage for each model.
Ensure you have records for every rotation as they come in handy when you need to use your warranty to have the tires repaired or replaced.
Note that some instances may require an immediate tire rotation. Things like loss of tire pressure, even tire wear, and vibration at a high speed call for a tire rotation.
Does Tire Rotation Affect Alignment?
Tire rotation doesn’t affect wheel alignment as they are two different things.
Rotating your tires ensures even tread wear, which contributes to a smoother ride, fuel efficiency, and increased lifespan of your tires. Wheel alignment involves making adjustments to your car’s suspension system to ensure that it travels straight.
Moreover, it’s not a must to get an alignment after tire rotation. There’s a misconception that rotation affects tire rotation, but this isn’t true as rotation doesn’t involve moving the wheels. You’ll only touch the tires.
Nevertheless, it’s best to have your vehicle alignment checked when performing the tire rotation.
About The Author
I've spent many years selling cars, working with auto detailers, mechanics, dealership service teams, quoting and researching car insurance, modding my own cars, and much more.Read More About Charles Redding