Tire Rotation

Why should I rotate my tires?  If you never rotate your tires, the fronts will last about 10,000 to 20,000 miles and the rears will last 50,000 to 80,000 miles. The reason we rotate tires is to even out the wear and properly done, all the tires will be worn out at the same time. It's also a great excuse to inspect your brakes on a regular basis.


Charlie Sumner is rated as the #1 Tire and Wheel technician in
Blount County, Tennessee.

When and how should I rotate my tires?  It is important to rotate your tires to even out the wear. The front tires will wear the outside edge because the tire leans over when you turn a corner. Slight outside edge wear that appears to be the same on both front tires is no reason to be alarmed. If you find one of the front tires has significantly more wear than the other, then there is cause for alarm. The rear tires just follow the fronts so their wear is minimal.

It is very important to rotate your tires every 6,000 to 7,500 miles. Three things should occur during a tire rotation. First, all the tires should be properly inflated. Second, the tires should be rotated. Third, a physical inspection of the brakes should be made while the tires are off. It make no sense to pay to have your brakes checked, then 3 months later pay to have your tires rotated.

A lot has been written about the proper way to rotate tires. The biggest portion of the discussion is whether or not it is OK to change the direction of the rotation of the tire. If a tire is moved to the other side of the car, the direction of rotation has been changed. Years ago that was a no-no but now many tire makers recommend the crisscross way.

Different tire manufacturers may suggest different ways and if you want to be entirely correct, check with the maker of your tires.

In my opinion, you may rotate straight forward and straight back or you can crisscross the fronts and\or the backs before you rotate. At our shop we rotate our customers tires a variety of ways depending on the wear pattern on their tires.

If the tire is scalloped and causing a whine or hum at higher speeds, we will change the direction of rotation to help even out the wear.

Scalloped tires are often used as a reason to sell shocks or struts. It is my opinion that the tire itself is the cause more times than not. The tires we see scalloped seem to be the same all season brands over and over again. It's been a month of Sundays since I've seen a highway tread pattern tire scalloped.

Don't forget this one important point. Once a tire begins a wear pattern, it will continue with that pattern until you throw the tire away or it wears out. So if you install new tires and one of the front tires starts an abnormal pattern because of an alignment problem, having an alignment done fixes the cause but not the tire.

Make sure to check your spare at least once a year. A four tire rotation should cost $10-20 dollars. Watch for coupons in the newspapers that allow you to save money.

Tire Rotation

Tire rotation is important for even tread wear and long tread life. As a tire is driven on a road surface, it begins to wear. Tire wear rarely takes place uniformly on tires, because each tire is mounted at a different position on a vehicle.

Front and rear, drive and non-drive tires exhibit different wear pattems. Front tires tend to wear more rapidly in the shoulder area, because of steering/cornering forces. Drive tires wear more rapidly in the tread center because of drive traction forces. On front-wheel-drive cars, front tires wear much more rapidly than rear tires. Personal driving habits and vehicle performance characteristics also cause tires to wear differently. Rotating tires at frequent intervals (at 6,000 miles or less) tends to equalize tire wear and minimize the progress of irregular wear.

Tires are considered to be legally worn out and must be replaced when the tread depth across two adjacent grooves is 2/32". Look for the 2/32" tread wear indicator (TWI) bars distributed around the tire circumference at the base of the grooves. Drive tires with worn out centers or steering tires with worn out shoulders should be replaced, even though there may be useful tread remaining in less worn areas.

To get maximum life from a set of tires, they must be rotated. Vehicles are engineered to operate with a matched set of tires. Even those vehicles fitted with different size tires front and rear require a matched set on each axle. Handling capabilities, including cornering and braking traction depend on matched tires. If tires are not properly matched or equally worn, vehicle performance may be compromised.

Tires should be rotated at frequent and regular intervals. Tires can be rotated conveniently during a regular oil change, which for most vehicles occurs every 5,000 to 7,500 miles. Dunlop recommends rotation every 6,000 miles or less for optimum benefit.

There are many tire rotation patterns. Any routine pattern is better than no rotation at all. The important factor in a tire rotation pattern is that all tires eventually are placed at all applicable wheel positions. If a vehicle is equipped with a full size spare, the spare should be included in the rotation pattern.

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