Let’s talk about tires…again. Without tires, you aren’t going anywhere which is why tire maintenance is so important! We’ve talked about alignments and rotations before in my article Wheel Alignment vs. Rotation…What’s The Difference, but today we are going to focus specifically on what a tire rotation is & how often you should rotate your tires.
So, let’s get to it!
Tire Rotation Information: Do I Really Need To Rotate My Tires?
To answer the title; YES you need to rotate your tires. Tire rotations are easy, quick, & cheap if you have your mechanic do it. Plus, getting a tire rotation will help extend the life of your tires & improve the overall performance of your vehicle!
What Is A Tire Rotation?
A tire rotation is when you take your tires and move them around to create even wear throughout all four tires. For example, you take your rear tires & move them up front. Or, you take a right rear tire and move it around to where the left front tire was, etc. Moving your tires around will help create even wear throughout them. When you turn, break, or take a corner super fast you use different areas on your tire. If you continue driving like that on the same tire, then you will start to notice a ‘wear’ spot. This wear spot, if not taken care of, will start to essentially break down your tire to the point of blowing it or grinding it down to the wheel (worst case scenario).
Why Are Tire Rotations So Important?
As you’ve probably figured out by now, rotations are important. Not only will they save you money in the long run by saving your tires, getting them done frequently will help with gas mileage & overall performance of your car. According to Tire Rack “it is an advantage when all four tires wear together because as wear reduces a tire’s tread depth, it allows all four tires to respond to the driver’s input more quickly, maintains the handling and helps increase the tire’s cornering traction.”
Now, rotating your tires frequently won’t fix every problem, especially if you have other worn mechanical parts or don’t check your tire pressure often. Which means you should print out this maintenance sheet I created to help keep track of everything 😉
How Often Should I Get A Tire Rotation?
Some people say every 3,000-5,000 miles but I say every other oil change; unless you commute a lot too and from work or travel all the time in your vehicle. The more you drive your car, the more rotations needed. Just like with everything else; the more you drive, the more frequent oil changes! Every other oil change would put you right around 5,000-10,000 miles, depending on your vehicle.
As always, read your owners manual if you are unsure. If you wait until you notice uneven wear or if you feel your car vibrating, it’s probably too late. It’s always better to be ahead of the curve!
What Type Of Tire Rotation Do I Get?
I’m glad you asked because there are a couple different ways you can rotate your tires depending on how your car is set up. There are actually four different ways you can rotate your tires, depending on what type of vehicle/drive/tire you have. If you don’t want to figure it out yourself, always rely on your mechanic.
- Rear & 4-Wheel Drive Cars With Non-Directional Tires: These rotations should mimic a ‘rearward cross(X)’. Meaning, the rear tires move up front, and the front tires move to the back, and you cross the tires; front left goes where rear right went & vice versa.
- Front-Wheel Drive Cars With Non-Directional Tires: This rotation is similar to the one above but in opposite direction. The front tires move to the back, and then you cross the left rear tire with the right front tire & vice versa.
- Vehicles With Differently Sized, Non-Directional Tires: These rotations should move side to side. The front left tire moves to where the front right tire was, and vice versa with the rears.
- Vehicles With Same Size Directional Tires: Directional tires move up and down, not crossing in the middle. The front left tire moves to where the rear left tire was, and vice versa.
There is a great article from Pep Boys with pictures explaining the directions above. If you don’t know which way to rotate your tires just ask your mechanic.
A phrase you might be unfamiliar with is ‘non-directional’ vs. ‘directional’ tires. Which means there’s an article to come on that!
But for now, a non-directional tire is more popular because the tire tread can move in any direction, work on any surface, and can be rotated more easily. A directional tire can only roll in one direction, does not work well in wet or icy conditions, and can only be rotated up & down.
Warning Signs To Look & Feel For.
If you start to feel these signs & think you need a rotation, it might already be too late in which case you would be buying new tires. In any case, some signs to look & feel for are the following.
- Uneven Wear- this is the biggest warning sign to look for. You might be able to still correct the issue depending on how bad the uneven wear is. If you have uneven wear, you would notice the tread on your front tires looking different than your rear ( or vice versa), or the tread on the inside of one tire looking a lot different than the outside of that same tire.
- Vibration Over 45mph- We’ve talked about vibrations before, but if you’ve noticed a vibration in your car going over 45mph it could be fixed with a rotation. There are other reasons your car vibrates though so either read up on vibrations or have your mechanic look at it.
- Loss Of Tire Pressure- If you noticed one tire losing pressure often it could be from uneven wear. You could also have a puncture so this is a tricky warning sign. You shouldn’t have to fill your tires’ pressure often, so if you feel you have to then something is wrong.
Wow! A lot to say about tire rotations but I hope this article helped. Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Instagram and use the hashtags #chicmoto and #motorwithconfidence to be featured on our social pages 🙂