How Often Do I Rotate My Tires?

One way to save a few dollars is by doing your own car maintenance. Rotating your car’s tires is one way to save money and extend the life of your tires. Today we will discuss how to rotate your car’s tires.

If you aren’t careful, tires can become a money pit. The tires on your car represent a significant investment and need to be protected. Depending on the size of your tires, they can reach upwards of $250 a tire to replace just one. That means a full set of tires can be over $1,000. That’s not an easy pill to swallow if you are on a budget.

One simple way to extend your tires life is rotating your tires. Rotating your tires means moving each individual to a different mounted location. Some people don’t even rotate your tires, but this simple maintenance to your car can save you up to $50.

Why Rotate Your Tires?

Front and rear tires wear differently. For example, front tires carry more weight than back tires and will wear faster. The drive wheels on the car will also effect the wear of the tires. Front tires on a front wheel drive car will wear faster than the rear tires. Also, in the United States, we take left turns faster than right turns result in increased wear of tires on one side of the car. After thousands of miles, your car ends up in uneven wear.

Rotating tires equalizes the wear on the tires because they are moved to different mounted locations on the car. By rotation your tires, you ensure a smoother and safer ride. More importantly, you will save money on tires because rotating extends the life of them.

Tools Needed

Jack Stands and a car jack. Fortunately, most cars are equipped with a car jack already and that can be utilized to raise the tires off the ground. A spare tire can be used in place of a jack stand by replacing the tire you removed to rotate in place with the spare tire.

Tire Rotation Patterns

Before you start to rotate your tires, you need to know if your car’s tires are directional or non-directional tires. This information can be found on the side of your tires. The arrows on the side of the tires determine if they are one-way or bi-directional tires.

To rotate directional tires, just switch the front right tire for the back right tire, and the front left tire for the back left tire, like this:

To rotate non-directional tires, use the cross pattern. For cars with rear-wheel drive, move the front tires to the opposite sides of the rear: left-front to right-rear and right-front to left-rear. The rear tires are moved straight forward. Here’s how it looks visually:

Rotate the Spare Tire In?

Old car maintenance guides suggest the spare tire is rotated in to extend the life of your tires. The problem with this suggestion is most modern cars don’t come equipped with full-size spare tires. Additionally, when replacing your car’s tires, you will have to purchase 5 tires instead of 4 tires.

Tire Rotation Schedule

Check your owner’s manual to see if there is a recommended rotation schedule. However, this recommendation specifically addresses the original tires that came on the car. Tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles unless there is uneven wear. Tires that are wearing unevenly should be rotated more often.