Car Servicing 101: The Why, When, and How of Tire Rotation

Many people tend to leave their car in the capable hands of mechanics and do not always know what exact work they’re doing on the car and what that means. In the case of tire rotation, you will generally bring your car to the tire shop or mechanic, but knowing the basics is handy in case of an emergency.

Why Do A Car’s Tires Need To Be Rotated?

Tire rotation is the process of changing the positions of your car’s tires on the car itself. As you probably know, your tires wear out as you drive. What you may not know is that they tend to wear out unevenly. The front tires lean when you take a corner, causing the outside edges to wear out quicker than the edges of the back tires. When you regularly rotate your tires, this wear and tear is evenly distributed, significantly extending the life of all four of your tires and saving you on having to frequently purchase new tires.

Regularly rotating your tires also makes your car safer. The likelihood of a car crash is magnified when tires are underinflated or the tread is worn down. There is nearly 11,000 tire-related vehicle crashes in the United States every year, but many of these accidents can be prevented with regular and proper tire maintenance that includes tire rotation. With worn-down tires, your fuel efficiency is reduced by up to 3%, which adds up quickly at the gas pump. Taking your car to the tire shop for regular rotation saves you gas money and helps the environment by lowering the amount of greenhouse gases.

When Do You Need To Have Your Tires Rotated?

It’s clear by now that they need to be rotated regularly, but what does “regularly” mean? In general, you should have your tires rotated every 7,500 miles, or as often as the car manual or manufacturer recommends. With some cars, the front and rear tires are different sizes, so they cannot be rotated at all. Just be sure to check what is suited for your car’s ideal efficiency.

How Are The Tires Rotated?

As tire rotation can be a delicate process and you want to make sure it’s done properly for the safety of you and your vehicle, it is usually best to take your car to a tire shop or auto mechanic shop for the service. While you’re there, they also tend to check your tire alignment, balance, tread wear, and inflation. On the off-chance you want to rotate them yourself, the rotation pattern differs according to the car:


  • Front-wheel drive vehicles: Front tires stay on the same side and move to the back. Rear tires switch sides and move to the front.


  • Rear-wheel drive vehicles: Rear tires stay on the same sides and move to the front. Front tires switch sides and move to the back.


  • Four-wheel drive vehicles: Each tire is swapped with its diagonal, so that both sets switch sides and front-to-back positions.


  • Directional Tires: Each tire is swapped with the one on its same side. These type of tires are made to work specifically with the left or right side of the vehicle, so they must stay on the correct side.

As you would take your car for a regular oil change, brake service, or tune-up service, you also need to schedule in regular tire rotations. Contact your tire shop or auto mechanic today to make sure your car is as safe as can be.

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