Tires Last Longer with Proper Rotation
Most people want to get the longest life out of everything on their car, particularly those parts that need to be replaced on a regular basis. Among the more expensive of those usual wear items are your car’s tires. You can expect to spend anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars every time you have to replace the tires on your car.
So how can you get more life out of your tires? One of the most overlooked techniques is to follow the proper rotation procedure. “It is a fact: If you do not rotate your tires when you should, they will not last nearly as long as they were designed to last,” writes Ron Coleman, author of CarSmart: Save Hundreds on Car Repairs and Avoid Ripoffs. “Lack of rotation causes several problems, premature wear being the biggest among them. This is especially true since front-wheel-drive cars have become the norm.”
Although it may sound counter-intuitive, “tire rotation” in this context doesn’t refer to the tire rolling along the road when driving. Instead, it’s the process of switching tires from one side of the car to the other to more evenly distribute accumulated wear on the tire.
All car tires wear more quickly on the front or the back of the car, depending on which are the primary drive wheels. Cars that use the rear wheels to propel the car typically wear the rear tires faster than the fronts. Conversely, front-wheel-drive cars will usually wear the front tires more than the rears.
But a potentially bigger problem than tires wearing out faster is that they can wear unevenly too. Not rotating tires frequently enough can cause tires to develop isolated wear spots on them, usually in the form of “cupping.” This is a type of wear in which the tire develops small humps and dips in it. This condition can result in an annoying rumble, along with an uncomfortable ride. Worse yet, the uneven surface of a cupped tire reduces the tire’s contact with the road, which can lessen traction and cause the car to handle unsafely.
Most car and tire manufacturers recommend a particular rotation sequence to follow. You should check your car’s owner’s manual or consult a trusted mechanic to ensure that your tires are rotated properly.
How often should you rotate your tires? Many automakers specify too infrequent of an interval. “If you read the owner’s manual of your car or truck, it may recommend somewhere around every 10,000 to 15,000 miles. This is wrong,” writes Coleman. “Almost all major tire manufacturers and tire specialists recommend tire rotations every 5000 miles.”