Tips for Rotating Your Tires
Regular maintenance can help ensure the long life of your car, and that should include rotating your tires on a regular basis.
To help make sure that your tires are in good condition and functioning properly, they should to be checked and rotated regularly — typically every 5,000 to 10,000 miles, says Edmunds. Since many manufacturers have different recommendations for tire rotation, consult your owner’s manual for your specific situation. It’s also important to know that tires can wear differently depending on their location on your car. For example, your front tires work with the steering wheel to turn your car. All of the turning and extra friction may result in sections of your tires wearing out at different rates, according to Edmunds. Routinely rotating your tires may help them wear more evenly, Cars.com explains.
In addition, tires can get out of balance, since oftentimes a tire may not be perfectly round or its weight may not be distributed evenly, says Cars.com. The result can be uneven wear patterns that could affect the performance of your vehicle. By rotating your tires from front to rear or left to right, the wear pattern may even out, helping to extend the life of your tires.
How to Rotate Your Tires
The correct way to rotate your tires depends on the type of vehicle, says Pep Boys. Here’s a basic guide with an explanation below:
|Your Vehicle Type||Tire Type||Rotational Pattern|
|Rear & four-wheel drive*||Directional||Rearward cross or X|
|Front-wheel drive||Nondirectional||Forward cross or X|
|Same-size wheels||Directional||Front to rear|
|Different-size wheel||Nondirectional||Side to side|
* The process is the same for all-wheel drive vehicles, according to U.S. News and World Report.
- Directional tires: Tires designed to rotate in one direction.
- Nondirectional tires: Tires designed to rotate in either direction.
- Rearward-cross pattern: Tires are rotated from rear to front, then from left front to right rear and right front to left rear.
- X pattern: Tires are rotated from left front to right rear and right front to left rear.
- Forward-cross pattern: Tires are rotated front to rear, then left rear to right front and right rear to left front.
- Front-to-rear pattern: Tires are rotated front to rear on right side and front to rear on the left side.
- Side-to-side pattern: Tires are rotated from front right to front left and rear right to rear left.
While you can rotate your own tires if you have the proper tools, this is one job that you may want to consider leaving to a professional. Not only is it typically safer, but many auto shops will offer the service for free or at a discounted rate as part of routine maintenance tasks like oil changes. Then, with your routine tire rotation checked off your list, you can hit the road with the knowledge that your car’s tires are in proper position.
Originally published on October 15, 2016.