Why Tire Rotation Is Important, and When You Should Do It

April 5, 2017

Tire rotation involves the movement of tires on your car from one position to another. The main purpose of a tire rotation is to extend the life of the tires on your car.

tire rotation

Why do I need to get a tire rotation?

The very nature of tires makes tire rotations an important service for those concerned with their vehicle's functionality and performance. Because of engine locations, drive train, and even your country of residence, tires tend to wear unevenly. It's important to note that some vehicles have different sized tires on the front vs. the rear of their vehicle and cannot be rotated.

Front engine cars leave proportionally more weight on the front tires leading to increased wear compared to those attached to the rear axle. The steering and braking functionality of front wheel drive cars will also cause more stress on the front tires thus widening the difference in wear between the rear and front tires.

Even your location can make affect tire wear. In the United States and many other countries across the world, we drive on the right side of the road. You might believe this makes no difference, but making more tight right-hand turns leads to greater wear on the left tire which has to travel a greater distance.

Your vehicle drive, engine placement, and the roads you drive on all contribute to the pattern of tire rotation that is right for you. For this reason, it's important to let your mechanic know these details of your car before he or she rotates your tires.

On some AWD vehicles, it's required to have all four tires be replaced at the same time. If you don't rotate your tires, you may find that two tires need to be replaced before the other two, but since you will need all four, you've wasted miles by not rotating the tires.

How often should I rotate my tires?

Tire rotation frequency and pattern are recommended by your car manufacturer and mechanic, so making sure you're aware of both is good practice.

The general rule of thumb dictates tire rotations every 5,000 to 8,000 miles, however, tire or car manufacturers may suggest otherwise. Typical rotation patterns involve moving the back wheels to the front and vice versa, however, depending on the vehicle, the front and/or back tires may be crossed as they are switched. Different sets of tires, full-size spares, or vehicle make could require specific patterns, so make sure to consult the owner's manual and your mechanic before rotation.

It's a good idea to have the tires rotated when getting the oil changed as they follow a similar mileage interval. It's often recommended by the OEM at each service too.

Alignments are as important to tire wear as rotations, as they cause premature tire wear. To preserve your tire life and maintain the safety of your car, make sure to head to one of our RepairPal Certified mechanics next time you're due for a tire rotation.

About the Author

Kimberlea Buczeke is an automotive expert at RepairPal, the leading online source of auto repair resources and estimates. With many ASE Master certified mechanics on staff who have decades of experience, RepairPal knows all the fine points of car repair.

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