The importance of regular car maintenance cannot be emphasized any further. Not only will it spare you from costly and unnecessary repairs, but it will also help increase your vehicle’s longevity. One of the critical maintenance jobs every car owner should perform is tire rotation. Regular tire rotation is important because it prolongs the life of your tires and ensures your safety while driving.
Periodically changing the position of the tires offers three important benefits:
- Tire rotation helps maintain traction, promotes tread wear, and preserves balanced handling. This is especially important when driving under severe weather conditions.
- Tire rotation is important if you want to keep your mileage warranties. This is a requirement of many tire manufacturers.
- Rotating your tires also ensures that tire wear is evened out. This should extend tire life. Of course, it’s always important to follow the guidelines indicated in your owner’s manual to find the best rotation pattern for specific types of tires.
How often should you rotate your tires
The schedule you should follow for tire rotation should be according to your owner’s manual. While most manufacturers would recommend rotation every 5,000 miles, it would also be a good idea to do it every time you get your oil changed.
Signs you may need to rotate your tires
Find out if it’s time to do a tire rotation by observing these signs.
- One of the most common signs that indicates a tire rotation is needed is uneven tire wear. This is something you can check by measuring the tread depths on different spots on every tire. Your tires are wearing unevenly if there is a significant difference with the measurements. Try to check your tires for tread feathering by running your hand along the tire tread.
- The tires on the front can wear out differently from the tires on the rear axle. If there’s uneven tread wear from front to rear, it means that your tires need rotation.
- When vibrations and road noise are noticeable, they could be an indication of uneven tire wear. The vibrations can be easily felt in the steering wheel, although they can also be noticed in other parts of the car.
What tools do you need?
Rotating your tires is a simple maintenance job that can be done at home. Here are the tools you’ll need.
- Car jack. The jack that comes with your car may work but car owners are not encouraged to use it for rotating tires. A hydraulic floor jack is a much safer choice, especially when you can’t change a tire fast.
- Jack stands. Jack stands are important because that’s where your car will rest while you work on switching the tires out.
Tire rotation patterns
To determine the right patterns to use for rotating your tires, it’s important to find out if your vehicle has directional or non-directional tires.
Directional tires have a “one-way” tread pattern. It means that they are specifically made for either the left or right side. To switch directional tires, all you have to do is to switch the front tire on the right with the back right tire. Do the same with the tires on the left.
Non-directional tires, on the other hand, are designed in such a way that they can be switched on either side when you rotate them. Use the cross pattern when rotating non-directional tires. For vehicles with rear-wheel drive, the front tires should be moved to the opposite sides of the rear. So the right-rear will be switched with left-front and left-rear with right-front. Do the opposite on cars with front-wheel drive.
Steps for rotating your tires
- For your safety, be sure to engage the parking brake.
- Loosen the lug nuts on the wheels of your car to make it easier to unscrew them once the car is elevated.
- Lift up one wheel using a car jack and let it rest on a jack stand underneath it.
- Remove the tires and switch them according to the appropriate patterns.
- Lower the vehicle from the jack stands. Be sure to tighten the nuts properly with the lug wrench.
Rotating your tires on a regular basis can benefit your vehicle in more ways than one. Follow these car tire rotation guidelines to extend the life of your tires and ensure your safety on the road.
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