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Do you want great handling from your car, improved gas mileage and tires with a long life expectancy? Of course you do, and achieving all of that is as easy changing the position of your cars tires. This is a simple maintenance task that costs you nothing, but can save you hundreds of dollars in the future.
Why do the Tires Need to Be Rotated?
For maximum traction with the roadway, tires have treads embedded in their surface. This tread will wear down as part of normal vehicular wear and tear. Since the different tire mounts on your car can cause the treads to erode in different ways and at different rates, you want to switch things up so that one tire does not wear out quicker than the others.
The front of your car is the heaviest section as it is holding the weight of your engine, causing those tires to wear out quicker than the rear. They are also responsible for steering the vehicle in the direction you want and they bear all of the pressure when you brake, and the entire weight of the car is thrust forward. This puts additional wear on the treads of these tires.
When you regularly move each tire to a different corner of the car, they will get a variety of different wear patterns and should all need to be replaced at approximately the same time.
When Should I Rotate the Tires?
Schedules for rotating tires vary greatly from manufacturer to manufacturer, but a good rule to follow is to rotate the tires every other time you change the oil. Anytime you do get a new tire or have them balanced, the rotation should be free with the service.
How Should the Tires be Rotated?
Your vehicle’s owner’s manual should have a description of the recommended rotation pattern, but the general rule of thumb is to move them front to back and crossed over. The pattern you follow is not really important, so long as each tire spends time at each corner of the car. If you have a full sized spare as opposed to a donut, this should also be included into the rotation, with each tire spending at least one turn taking a small vacation in the trunk of the car.
Your vehicle may be using unidirectional tires which cannot be crossed over from one side of the car to the other. Also some use different sized tires for the front and rear, these obviously cannot be moved front to back. Read the owner’s manual carefully to make sure you know what type of tires your car is utilizing.
After you rotate your tires, you will need to make sure that they are aligned properly. Many car owners are under the false impression that the rotation and alignment are interchangeable, but the truth is they are two entirely separate things. A wheel alignment is making sure that the wheels are not at an angle, but rather perfectly perpendicular to the roadway. This too helps to prevent uneven wear as well as protect other important suspension and steering parts.
Rotating your tires is a simple maintenance procedure that can save you a lot of money in the long run. All it requires is that you jack up the car and remove and reinstall all four tires in different locations. By doing so on a consistent basis you are improving the way your car handles, and prolonging the life of the tires.