A set of new tires is a great investment in the safety and longevity of your vehicle, but tires don’t come cheap. How do you get the most bang for your buck? The simplest and most cost-effective way to extend the life of your tires is through regular tire rotation. Here’s what that means.
What is tire rotation?
When you drive your vehicle, there’s a lot of friction between the rubber on your tires and the road. That friction starts to take a toll on your tires. Even routine, perfectly-paved road conditions will wear down microscopic layers of your tires that add up over time – but not all tires will wear down evenly.
For instance, your front tires generally do most of the turning from left to right, so the treadwear on these will start to look different from the wear on your back tires. Uneven treadwear can also be caused by over- or under-inflation in one or more of your tires, wheel imbalances, and larger suspension and alignment issues.
To correct this issue, auto mechanics recommend regularly rotating your tires. Each of your tires will be removed and placed in a different position on the vehicle. For example, the front right tire might be moved to the back left wheel. By rotating your tires, you help equalize the wear patterns of the tires front-to-back and side-to-side.
What are the benefits of tire rotation?
By rotating your tires, you distribute wear evenly across all four tires. This extends the life of each, which saves you money. There are plenty of other benefits to rotating your tires, too. Evenly-matched tires give you a smoother drive with improved traction and handling. That means it’s safer to get behind the wheel and operate the vehicle.
Routine tire rotation is critical for safe vehicle handling in wet or icy conditions.
The treads on tires help you grip the road, especially when turning or in wet conditions. As tires wear down, the wicking action of the treads decreases. Bald or thin spots on your tires can cause you to skid and could eventually lead to loss of control or a blowout. By rotating your tires, you’re ensuring that all treads have even and safe wear.
How often should you rotate your tires?
Most tire manufactures recommend a tire rotation every 5,000 to 7,000 miles. An easy way to remember? Have your tires rotated each time you go in for an oil change. Check your vehicle owner’s manual for recommendations specific to your unique vehicle.
Can you rotate your own tires?
Vehicle owners with a lot of experience working on their car might attempt to rotate their own tires, but we always recommend leaving this in the hands of a trained and certified auto mechanic. Tire rotation at home can be a big headache and, if not done properly, can be a larger safety risk for you and your vehicle.
If you can’t remember the last time you rotated your tires or if you know that it’s time to rotate them now, stop by your neighborhood Metro Motor shop. We’d love to evaluate your tires, rotate them if necessary, and get you back on the road in no time.
Vehicle care information made available by Metro Motor is presented as helpful advice for general maintenance and should not be construed as instructions for at-home vehicle service. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual and a licensed, professional mechanic for diagnostics and repair.