Shop Talk Logo

How Do You Properly Rotate Your Tires?

In order to extend the life of your tires, frequent tire rotations on your car become necessary. Tire rotations are simply moving the wheels and tires from one position to another providing even miles for front and rear tires, to ensure even tire wear, thus, allowing you to drive on a set of tires for a longer period of time. You can extend the life of your tires, save money, and ensure your safety by having your tires rotated, but only if done correctly.

Tire rotations should be performed between 3,000 and 8,000 miles but can vary based on tread wear and driving habits. You may recognize that a tire rotation is due if your vehicle experiences the following symptoms:

  • Uneven tread wear often caused by improper inflation. Over-inflated tires wear the center treads and under-inflated tires wear outside edges of tread.
  • Suspension issues such as loose components that affect alignment and inside or outside tread wear.

Why Should I Rotate My Tires?

Because tires wear at different rates, a rotation simply allows an even wear across all tires. Front tires carry a heavier load in comparison to rear tires as they bear the weight of the engine. In front-wheel drive vehicles, front tires commonly wear out twice as fast as rear tires because of the additional weight of the transmission and the added stress from braking and steering.

Rotating your tires helps save money by keeping your tires in peak condition with even wear which allows you to go further on the same set of tires. On the other hand, uneven tires can reduce fuel economy, and produce a harsher ride, which could lead to repairs that could have been prevented. In addition to saving money on unnecessary tire replacement, above all, the number one reason to rotate your tires is for your safety. Uneven tire wear increases the chance of a flat tire or a tire blowing out and may make handling the car more difficult in inclement weather. In addition to safety risks, uneven tires create ride disturbances, and tire noise, and not rotating them could void the tire manufacturer’s warranty.

How Do I Rotate My Tires?

Each tire should be removed from your vehicle and moved to a different position. Once removed, their placement will vary by vehicle design. It’s important to note that cars with different size wheels on the front versus rear cannot be rotated. If your vehicle is equipped with unidirectional tires, they should only be rotated from back to front and front to back and never by switching sides.

How Do You Properly Rotate Your TiresFor Rear, Front, and Four-Wheel drive vehicles they can be done in one of three ways, Rearward Cross, X-Pattern, or Frontward Cross:

  • Rearward Cross: Move rear tires directly to the front position, leaving them on the same side of the vehicle. Then, move the front wheels to the back, switching sides from which they originated.
  • X-Pattern: Move the front driver side tire to the rear passenger side and the front passenger side tire to the rear driver side position, essentially making the shape of an X.
  • Frontward Cross: The opposite of rearward cross. Move front tires directly to the back. Then, move the rear tires to the front, switching sides.

Some vehicles are provided with a full-size spare tire. While this full-size spare can be rotated in, it requires a special pattern that is best left to a technician who is properly trained. However, if the full-size spare has been stored for a long period of time and has not been rotated, it’s best to leave it as a spare. Pro Tip: If the spare is not full-size and is instead a “donut,” do NOT rotate the spare in. This spare tire is intended for emergencies only. Do not attempt to drive at high speeds or for extended periods while using the donut. This tire should only be used in transporting the vehicle to a tire dealer for immediate replacement.

Tire care is just as crucial as frequent oil changes and other maintenance items that keep your vehicle in peak condition. Tire care should include checking the tire pressure, performing tire rotations, and having the tires balanced on a regular schedule.

Did you know that Sun Devil Auto includes a complimentary tire rotation with each oil change? That’s right! The Sun Devil Auto oil change includes lube, oil, filter, a top off of fluids, a multipoint inspection, and if needed, a complimentary tire rotation! Rely on Sun Devil Auto for all your vehicle maintenance services including oil changes, brakes, fluid flushes, and tire care such as rotations and balances. We’ve been caring for cars and trucks in the Phoenix area since 1978 and employ ASE Certified Technicians you can trust. Schedule your next maintenance service and come see what makes Sun Devil Auto the dealership alternative!