Auto maintenance is important for all vehicles, especially so for your tires. There are many things experts say you should be doing to keep your car safe and working in top condition year after year. Tire rotation is one of those things many people choose to ignore, and upon further inspection, it's one of the essential things to do. In this article, we will discuss why tire rotation is critical in keeping your car in good shape.
What is tire rotation, and why is it crucial to tire maintenance?
Tire rotation is simply moving your tires around so that each tire wears down evenly. If you don't rotate them regularly, it causes uneven wear on each tire, which leads to poor traction and handling — and possibly an expensive repair bill if one of your tires blows out while driving at high speeds on the highway.
Rotating your tires means moving them from one side of your vehicle to the other, so they wear evenly (or at least as evenly as possible). It's crucial because when tires wear unevenly, they can develop deep scuffs, cracks, or bulges on their outer surface, leading to blowouts and accidents.
Tire rotation also helps avoid uneven wear on your vehicle's suspension components (like the ball joints) because it keeps all four wheels pulling evenly on all four tires at all times.
How often should you rotate your tires?
The answer depends on what kind of vehicle you have and how many miles you put on it each year.
- If you drive your vehicle less than 7,500 miles a year, rotate your tires every 5,000 miles.
- If you drive between 7,500 and 10,000 miles per year, rotate your tires every 4,000 miles.
- If you drive your vehicle more than 10,000 miles a year or drive off-road frequently (through mud or snow), rotate your tires every 3,000 miles.
- If you drive in extreme weather conditions, use mud tires, or do off-roading on your vehicle, rotating them more often may be necessary.
Benefits of tire rotation
- Better fuel economy
Tires rotated regularly will last longer, meaning you can drive more miles before replacement is needed. That leads to better fuel economy and less money spent at the pump.
- Improved handling
When tires are worn out, they can cause unstable handling and make driving more difficult. Rotating tires regularly helps prevent uneven tread patterns from developing on each tire, which improves overall handling and performance.
- Reduced risk of accidents
Unbalanced tires can lead to dangerous blowouts or flat spots on your tires, which can cause accidents if they occur while driving down the road at high speeds. By rotating your tires regularly, you can help avoid these problems from happening in the first place.
- Longer tire life
Unevenly worn tires can cause premature tire failure that could leave you stranded on the side of the road with a flat tire that needs immediate replacement. It might cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars depending on where you reside and how far away from home you are when it happens.
What else will happen if you don't rotate your tires?
If you don't rotate your tires, then they will wear unevenly. It means that the tread on one side of the tire will be worn down before the tread on the other side of the same tire is worn down. It can cause several problems for you, including:
- Poor handling
Your car will not drive smoothly. If one tire is wearing down faster than the others, it can cause an imbalance in the load on the wheel and tires. It will make your car vibrate at certain speeds and make it harder for you to drive smoothly.
- Increased chance of getting a flat tire
You could get a flat tire more easily. When one tire is wearing down faster than the others, it can cause an imbalance in pressure between them, creating weak spots in your tires that lead to blowouts.
- Increased fuel consumption
Moving the car down the road will take more effort when there's a tire with less tread than the rest. It means you will use more gas, which could cost you more money.
- Increased wear and tear on other parts of your car
When you have uneven tire wear, there's less traction between the road and your vehicle. It means you will lose control more easily and may be more likely to get into an accident. It could also mean that other parts of your car wear out faster because they take on more work than they should.
Can you rotate the tires at home?
You can rotate the tires at home, but it's not a good idea. You'll be giving yourself a disservice if you don't take your vehicle to a professional for this task.
One reason is safety. You may not realize how dangerous it is to rotate your tires, but there are many reasons why it's not a good idea. You could accidentally damage the tire or rim by rotating them yourself. If you don't know what you're doing, then you could cause severe damage to your wallet and even your car.
Tire rotations are not encouraged to DIY at home using tools available in most garages, so they are best performed by a professional mechanic.
Different types of tire rotation patterns
This pattern is the most basic type of rotation, where all four tires are taken off the car and put back on in reverse order. It will keep the wear even across all four tires, but it doesn't do much else besides that.
In this pattern, two wheels are moved toward each other while two are moved away from each other; this creates an X-shape on your vehicle's axle when viewed from above. This type of rotation helps prevent uneven wear on your tires and improves fuel economy by reducing friction between tires (which reduces heat buildup). It also helps prevent damage to suspension components like ball joints and control arms since they aren't under as much stress when the tires are rotated at an angle. Diagonal rotation is also recommended for vehicles with staggered tire sizes (different-sized front and rear tires) or if you're unsure how often to rotate your tires.
This type of rotation is also known as “cross-axle” or “radial-diagonal cross.” It's used when the front and rear tires are different sizes (like on some SUVs and four-wheel drive vehicles). This type of rotation helps to even out wear on your tires, which will help them last longer.
Why is tire rotation pattern crucial?
Tire rotation patterns are varied, but they all have the same goal: to make sure each tire wears evenly over time. By rotating your tires in a specific pattern, you can extend the tire's lifespan by several thousand miles and improve your vehicle's handling and ride quality.
Tire rotation will help your tires last longer, provide better vehicle performance, and in the end, save you some money. So spend the time necessary on tire rotation, and you'll reap these benefits.