Your tires are where the rubber hits the road, making proper maintenance important for the safety and performance of your vehicle.
Taking care of your tires involves a bit more than keeping them properly inflated. Learning when to rotate car tires and the proper way to do it will help extend the life of your tires and improve their performance.
Why We Rotate Car Tires
There are several reasons to rotate tires with safety being right at the top of the list. Good contact with the road is critical for stopping the car.
Your car’s tires tend to wear at different speeds. The front tires are used in braking and steering, while the back ones are relatively stationary in a turn. Steering creates a scrubbing effect that puts more stress on the front tires than the rear ones.
Rotating car tires allow you to spread the wear more evenly over all tires and keep the ones with the best tread in the front to help with braking and traction.
Your tire technician will check the tread depth and inflation pressure, along with scouting out any damage that might call for new tires.
How to Rotate Tires
How you rotate your car tires depends in large part on the type of vehicle you have. There are several different patterns to follow depending on whether you have front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive.
If you have front-wheel drive, your front tires wear faster than the rear ones. The correct rotation scheme is to switch front to back on the same side of the car and switch the back to the front on the opposite side of the car. For example, the left rear tire would move to the right front position, while the right front tire would move to the right-back position.
Rear-wheel drive leads to more balanced wear on the tires, but you’ll still see different wear patterns between front and back. To rotate these tires, do the opposite as for front-wheel drive. Switch the back to the front and keep the tire on the same side of the vehicle, while the front tires go to the back and the opposite side.
With all-wheel-drive vehicles, variations in tread depth can put a strain on the drivetrain so rotation is even more important. The rotation pattern for these vehicles is an “X” with all the tires swapping front to back and side to side.
When to Rotate
So how often should you rotate car tires? The standard in the industry is every 5,000-7,000 miles based on your vehicle.
The actual number depends on several factors. If you drive a lot, you might need to rotate them every time you get an oil change.
Your owner’s manual should give you the precise schedule for your vehicle.
Take Care of Your Tires
Regardless of how much you drive, you should rotate your tires at least once a year. It’s a simple bit of maintenance that can contribute to your car’s safety and efficiency.
If you have any doubts about how to rotate car tires, check your owner’s manual or contact our experts with your questions. We’d be happy to schedule a quick inspection to see if your tires need rotating.
JV Repairs and Customz is proud to offer mechanic services to the Parkesburg, PA areas.