Everything of value requires maintenance, and your car tires are no different.
For many people, they make the assumption that the only forms of tire maintenance are repair and replacement, but this is incorrect and can cause many issues when this is the only form of tire maintenance that is performed.
One way to make your tires last much longer is to have them rotated. Rotating your tires is performed so that they do not wear out too much in one place.
Rotating your tires has the effect of spreading the wear equally, which will give your tires more life, and it will save you money.
How Often Should I Rotate My Car Tires?
There is a bit of competing information on how often you should rotate your tires, but it can quite easily be summed up. There are tire manufacturers who suggest that tires should be rotated every 6 months or every 5,000 miles.
Others suggest that it is best to pay attention to the tread wear on your tires, and others suggest that you have your tires rotated every time you have your oil change.
If we take all of this advice in, we can simply say expect to rotate your tires between every 6 months, between 3,000 to 8,000 from the last rotation, or simply have it performed every time you have your oil change. Following any one of these intervals will leave you in great shape.
What Happens If you Do Not Rotate Your Tires?
When most people search the Internet for "how and why should I rotate my tires," they typically are focused on price and why they should have this service done.
Let's take a bit of a detour from that line of thinking, and focus on what happens if you do not rotate your tires.
Let's establish that tires do not evenly contact the road. Car suspension and alignment do not set your tires so that they are perfectly flat, but instead of that, the car is perfectly balanced, the car tracks perfectly (alignment) and the car has a smooth ride.
It is because of all of this that your tires will always develop tread wear unevenly. Tires that are not routinely rotated will have uneven wear in different spots.
This might mean that certain tires if not rotated will wear down a lot sooner because they are always being used over the same contact patch area.
This can cause a myriad of safety issues on top of the issue of premature wear and needing to replace your tires a lot more frequently than someone who rotates their tires at every oil change.
It Is Also About Safety
Importantly, it is about safety. Car tires are not just there to give us a comfortable ride or to get us from point A to point B. Car tires are also meant to help stop a car efficiently.
Tires have special tread that helps them grip the road, and also that helps them handle wet conditions.
When you do not rotate your tires, you wear down this tread unevenly and now your car can't properly grip the ground, you can't stop as well, you can't handle wet road conditions, and if the wear gets too bad your tires are at risk of blowing out. Safety first. Rotate your tires at every oil change, or between every 3000 to 8500 miles since your last rotation.
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How To Rotate Your Tires
The pattern in which you rotate your tires depends on if your car is a front-wheel or rear-wheel vehicle. For a front-wheel car, the first rotation is taking your left front and back tires and exchanging them.
This means that your left front tire becomes your new rear tire, and your left rear tire becomes your left front tire. You do the exact process on the right side.
Your second sequence of rotation will have you diagonally replacing your rear tires for your front: Your left rear tire will change spots with your front right tire, and your rear right tire will exchange spots with your front left tire. This ensures equal wear and proper wheel placement.
Putting It All Together
Your brakes and tires are the top safety devices in your car. Properly maintaining your tires by having them rotated at the right interval will ensure that they are safe to use on the road.
The condition of your tires has a huge impact on your car's ability to properly brake in an emergency situation. The condition of the tread on your tires is also responsible for how your car handles in all different road conditions.
Whether you choose to go the do it yourself route, or the more responsible 'take it to a pro' route of having your tires rotated, it is simply something that you must do to be safe and to extend the life of your tires.