If your car needs a set of tires, it’s going to be an expensive proposition – especially if you go for a set of premium tires. Funny thing is, there is a method to make your tires last as long as possible and not a lot of people perform it. It’s called tire rotation. Hopefully after you read this article, you’ll join the group that rotates the tires on a regular basis. Trust us, our wallet will thank you.
What tire rotation means
Tire rotation refers to the practice of moving the tires on your vehicle from one axle to another. This saves you money by allowing a set of tires to wear more evenly. Experts say that if you rotate the tires on your car or truck routinely, you may extend their life another 20-30%. This could a substantial amount of money that you save.
Why do I have to do this?
Because tires wear differently. In particular, front and rear tires wear differently. Typically, the front tires on a car carry more than 65% of the weight and do most of the work. This means that front tires will usually wear down faster than rear ones do. Another thing to know, Americans tend to take left turns faster than right turns and this wears down right tires more than left (the weight shifts to the opposite side when turning). By moving your tires from one axle location to another, you can equalize the wear so that all tires wear approximately at the same rate. This saves money because you get the maximum mileage that an entire set of tires can deliver.
By the way, tires are directional
You may not know that some tires are designed to rotate just in one direction and some can rotate either direction. We asked the service manager at Earnhardt in Gilbert, AZ, a full-service Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, RAM dealer, what exactly makes a tire directional and he explained that they have a “one-way” tread pattern that are optimized for the direction the tires rotate. Directional tires are thus optimized for either the right or left sides. (If you put them on the wrong side of your car, they would be turning to wrong direction.)
How to Rotate Directional Tires
First, directional tires have little arrows or triangles on the sidewall that indicate the direction they turn. Sometimes these are hard to find but mechanics and tire shops all know how to identify them. To rotate directional tires on a car, just switch the front right tire for the back right tire, and the front left tire for the back left tire. (The tires stay on the same side of the car.)
How to Rotate Non-directional Tires
Non-directional tires are designed so that the tire can be mounted on the rim for any direction of rotation. So you can switch the side of the car the tires are on when you rotate them (in other words, from the left side to the right side) and , of course, front to rear.
How Often Should I Rotate My Tires?
Check your car’s owner’s manual for the manufacturer’s recommended rotation schedule. Most automobile manufacturers recommend that tires be rotated every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Quite a number of people rotate their tires every time they change their oil so 5,000 miles is a good interval to strive for.