Advancements within the tire industry have made today’s tires strong, sturdy, and reliable. Thus, many vehicle owners ignore their tires and entirely undermine the importance of critical tire maintenance procedures until their tires develop a problem. One such routine maintenance procedure that is often ignored is tire rotation.
What Is Tire Rotation?
Tire rotation refers to the process of moving tires around within the vehicle. In simple words, it is the process under which tires change their place — the rear tire comes in the front and the front tires go to the back. Similarly, the tires on the left can go to the right and vice versa. There can be several different tire rotation patterns. In general, tire rotation must be performed after every 50,000 to 75,000 miles. However, the perfect time to perform tire rotation varies from tire to tire. In most cases, this information is provided on the user manual.
Why Is It Important to Rotate Tires?
Tire rotation is considered vital as it extends the life of tires. It also ensures that the health of all tires is the same so that the balance stays maintained.
Consider this example: when vehicle owners do not rotate their front tires, the rear tires end up having significantly higher tread than the front tires. This state of tires can prove to be perilous on wet roads. Similarly, in cars with suspension and alignment problems, not rotating tires can reduce the life of the tires. For all of these reasons, most tire makers make tire rotation mandatory for keeping a warranty in force.
Front-Wheel Drive Vehicles
The location of the tire on a vehicle greatly determines the life of a tire. For instance, in the case of front-wheel drive vehicles, the front wheels are responsible for transferring power to the road and pushing the vehicle ahead, and thus, in such vehicles, front tires wear faster than rear tires.
To rotate tires of a front-wheel-drive vehicle, the front tire on the left side of the car must be moved to the right side on the rear wheel of the car and the front tire on the right side of the car must switch places with the rear left wheel.
In the case of rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the front wheels are responsible for steering whereas the rear wheels transform power to the road. Thus, in the case of rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the wear and tear of tires are more balanced. However, since both the sets of tires perform different tasks, the wear and tear are balanced but are not exactly the same.
Thus, in the case of rear-wheel-drive vehicles, the right-hand front tire should replace the right-hand rear tire and the left-hand front tire should replace the left-hand rear tire.
In the case of all-wheel-drive vehicles, rotating tires is not an option but a necessity as these vehicles have a significant difference in their tread depth. Most of the all-wheel-drive vehicles work on the front-wheel mode most of the time. Thus, in the case of all-wheel-drive vehicles with tread variance of 2/32 of an inch, tire rotation follows the same pattern as in the case of front-wheel-drive vehicles: right-hand front tire replaces the left-hand rear tire and vice versa. However, in the case of four-wheel-drive vehicles with tread variance of more than 2/32 of an inch, rear-wheel-drive vehicle tire replacement pattern should follow
Here’s How to Rotate Tires on Your Own at Home
Tire rotation is not a very challenging process — it can be done at home as well. However, if you are planning to rotate tires on your own, you will need a few things, primarily, wheel chocks, torque wrench, and a jack and jack stand.
Here’s what you should remember while changing tires at home.
- First, check the tires and vehicle for tread or sidewall damage.
- Check your tire’s age. While some manufacturers recommend replacing tires after every 6 years, others recommend getting at least ten years out of them. Check your tire’s age by finding the DOT code on the tire. If the DOT code is 2216, it means the tire was manufactured in the 22nd week of 2016.
- After you have replaced the tires, tighten all the lug nuts using a torque wrench. You will find the torque tightening specifications in your owner’s manual. In general, torque tightening specifications of 75 to 100 pound-feet of torque is recommended.
- Before performing tire rotation, make sure that the air pressure in all the tires is the same.
- In case of vehicles with bigger tires at the back as compared to the front, side-to-side rotation is performed.
- Pickup tires with two tires on each rear side must have all six tires rotated during truck rotation.
- Studded winter tires must never be replaced in the left to right pattern.
- Last, while tire rotation is an essential process, it will not help you get rid of the uneven wear caused by alignment, inflation, and suspension problems.
For more information about rotating your tires, or any other auto maintenance tips, give Car Guys Auto Center a call today! We can be reached at (586) 285-4444!