Why Do Car Tires Need to Be Rotated?


Many things should be checked in a car to be able to ensure that it is safe to use. This is true, especially if you are planning to go for a long drive. You need to check your car’s engine if it’s working properly, check if it has enough gas, and, most importantly, check if the tires are in good condition and are working well.

The car tires being manufactured today have become so trouble-free that a lot of car owners ignore them completely. Whenever they would go out to drive, they skip critical tire inspections and maintenance procedures. Most people will only check their tires if they start experiencing issues. One of the most overlooked tire maintenance procedures is tire rotation.

Tire rotation is the process of moving tires from one position to another. One of the common tire rotations is moving the front tires to the rear, and the tires at the rear to the front. Most of the time, one set of tires also changes sides. For example, the left and right front tires would change sides when moved to the rear of the car. Tire rotation has numerous patterns, but it’s important to follow what is in your owner’s manual.

If you are wondering why tire rotation is important or needs to be done regularly, you’re in the right place. Today, we are going to explain why car tires need to be rotated.

Why Is Rotating Car Tires Needed?

Usually, rotation of car tires is done every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. But there are also exceptions depending on what’s stated on the owner’s manual. Why do you need to rotate your tires? This process is done to make sure that the tires wear evenly. This can also help in extending the life of the tire and save you money.

Aside from that, even tire wear is also essential for balanced handling. For example, if you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle and you do not rotate its tires, it will eventually result in the front tires having significantly less tread compared to the rear tires. During emergencies, it would be challenging to control the vehicle, most especially when the road is wet and slippery.

Cars that have no suspension or alignment problems might also inflict unusual wear patterns on tires when they are not rotated. This can also shorten their life. One of the unusual wear patters that can be prevented by rotating the tires is tread cupping. This issue can cause high noise levels and vibration when you drive.

It is also important to rotate car tires regularly because the tire manufacturer may require it to keep its warranty in force.

person fixing a car tireSigns that Your Tires Need to Be Rotated

You might also wonder how you’d be able to know if your tires should be rotated. Here are the three main reasons that you should look out for:

  • Uneven wear among tires.
    Uneven wear among tires does not mean an irregular pattern on the tread of a tire. It is when you notice that the front tire wear faster than the rear ones. If you notice this, you need to rotate your tires as soon as possible. When you do this, the wear difference will soon become insignificant, especially if the tires are not worn out completely. However, if you notice an irregular wear pattern on one of your front tires, where one has less tread compared to the other, it is better to change the tire completely than rotating them.
  • Loss of pressure.
    If one of your tires loses air slowly but faster than the others, then it might indicate that too much pressure is put on it. In this case, you need to have your tires checked. When this happens, the tires may usually need rotation or repair due to a puncture.
  • The vibration of the vehicle.
    When you feel a vibration at speeds of 45 mph and higher, this may be caused by uneven wear. When you notice an unusual vibration when you drive your car, you might want to get your tires checked and see if they need to be rotated, balanced, or maybe get the wheels aligned.

Tire Rotation for Different Types of Cars

Car tires wear differently, and this depends on where they are on the vehicle and as well as the drivetrain of the vehicle.

  • Front-Wheel Drive
    For front-wheel drive vehicles, front tires can wear more quickly compared to rear tires. It’s because the front tires transfer power to the road and steer the vehicle. To rotate the tires of a front-wheel-drive car, you need to move the front tires to the rear, and the rear tires to the front. The rear tires should also be placed on opposite sides of the car. Therefore, you need to move the rear left tire to the front right and the rear right tire to the front left.
  • Rear-Wheel Drive
    Tires have more balanced wear on rear-wheel-drive vehicles. It’s because its rear tires put power to the pavement while its front tires do the steering. However, with their different functions, they also develop different wear patterns, making tire rotation still advisable. When rotating tires on a rear-wheel-drive vehicle, the rear tires should be moved to the front but should stay on the same side, unlike on front-wheel drive vehicles that are interchanged. The front tires, however, should be moved toward the rear, placing the front left tire to the rear right, and the front right tire to the rear left.
  • All-Wheel Drive
    The strongest case for rotating tires goes to all-wheel or four-wheel-drive vehicles. It’s because these kinds of cars can keep tread wear even. There can be significant differences in tread depth for these vehicles that can put an unnecessary strain on the drivetrain. Since a lot of crossover all-wheel-drive vehicles are actually in front-wheel-drive mode, rotating tires on these vehicles should be done more often, as its front tires are expected to wear more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating the tires of a four-wheel-drive vehicle follows the same procedure of the rear-wheel-drive vehicle. The front right tire goes to the left rear, the front left tire goes to the right rear, and the two rear tires go to the front without switching sides.

You might also wonder if tire rotation can be done at home. Well, you certainly can do it as long as you have the right tools. Some of the tools you might need include a flat and level work area, a jack, jack stands, wheel chocks, a torque wrench, and a standard set of hand tools. You also need some muscle power to do it. However, if you are not sure if you can do it correctly, it’s better to bring your car to professionals instead. We hope the information we shared here helped you understand why car tires need to be rotated.

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