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Tire Rotation

by Eddie Carrara

Why is Tire Rotation Necessary?

There is some controversy about tire rotation, yes, rotating your tires is necessary in order to keep all 4 tires on your vehicle wearing evenly which will save you from having to buy new tires prematurely, it  improves fuel economy, improves ride quality and prevents tire noise, slows tread separation, improves traction and gives your total control of your vehicle, but when should you rotate your tires, and where should the best tires be placed?  

Years ago, the best tires were placed up front; it didn't matter whether the vehicle was front wheel drive or rear wheel drive.  Now the tire manufactures are recommending the best tires should be placed in the rear, regardless if it front or rear wheel drive, so, where should the best tires be placed?  Front or rear?  

Tire manufacturers state that the best tires are place in the rear of the vehicle so that in the event the the rear wheels loose traction, the ass end of the vehicle will not swing around to the front causing the vehicle to spin out.  I think if the rear tires loose traction, the vehicle will probably spin out of control anyways, despite which tires have more tread!


My View on Tire Rotation

I believe any vehicle, front or rear wheel drive, should always have the best tires up front.  The front tires are the tires that will steer the vehicle, if the rear of the vehicle starts to spin out sideways; I want to be in control of where the front of my vehicle is going.  I would rather have traction to the front tires in any situation; it means I'm in control. 


When to Rotate Tires

At what point should you rotate tires?  Well, there is no set time or mileage to rotate tires because all tires wear differently, some tires have a softer rubber compound which means they will wear faster but have better traction, another variable is, everyone's driving habits are different.  Some drivers like to accelerate fast from a stop, others like to corner hard, and then you have the people who drive easy and never push the vehicle beyond normal driving conditions. An easy way to remember when to rotate your tires is to rotate them every oil change.

In any vehicle, the edge of the front tires will always wear faster than the edge of the rear tires because this is where all the cornering takes place.  The drive tires tread will usually wear faster because they are the tires that grip the road to propel the vehicle.   Here are a few guidelines to follow for the average driver who rarely push their vehicles beyond normal driving condition.

·       Have the tires tread depth checked every 5000 miles or every oil change.

·       When the rear tire tread depth is one to two millimeters greater than the front tire tread depth, it's time to rotate.

·       When the edges of the front tires are significantly worn compared to the rears.

·       Keep all tire pressures set to the manufactures spec's to get the most life out of your tires.

·       Tire pressure specs are usually stated in the owner's manual or the driver's door jamb sticker; you can also find the psi rating on the side wall of a tire.


Simple Tire Rotation Pattern

If you're unsure of how to rotate tires, here is one way that is easy to remember;

Rotate the front tires to the rear, keeping the tires on the same side of the vehicle when rotating. Left Front tire moves to the Left Rear, Left Rear tire moves to the Left Front. The right side is the same pattern.

If you're having a tire wear problem, it's best to have a tire professional rotate your tires to the proper location, it just might stop abnormal tire wear and pulling problems, but I'll leave that for another article.


Why Tires Become Loose

I wanted to add this to the page because I get a lot of questions about wheels becoming loose after a mechanic worked on the car. I created a short video on the issue to show you how and why wheels become loose, how to fix it if it happens to you, and also how to prevent it from happening if you notice the obvious signs. 

If you have an issue where your wheels are becoming loose after a tire rotation or routine maintenance, most likely you have corrosion built up on or between the hubs and on the back of the rim. If this is the case, the remedy is to wire brush or lightly sand off all the corrosion and use a light coat of white lithium grease between the two surfaces with a spray can, it's easy to apply and very effective over time. See my video below for more details. 

Share This with Someone Who Can Use the Information

So I hope this information will help you decide if it's time to rotate your tires or leave them be.  This information is my own personal insight of tire rotation and you will not find it in any automotive manual or text book. 

Some may agree with my recommendations, and others may disagree, but one thing is for sure, tires need to be rotated to get the maximum life from your very expensive investment, and these guidelines have worked the best for me in my 30 year career in the automotive business. If you have any questions, leave them in the comment box below, and don't forget to share this article with someone who could use the information.

Related Tire Articles by Eddie Carrara

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Choosing the right tires

Tire Vibrations 

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