Tire rotation remains one of the most neglected maintenance tasks on a vehicle. There are some people who might not even know what tire rotation is all about.
Tire rotation is a method where you manage tire wear. The tire wear includes grating, scraping, scouring, or any normal wear of your tires. So, during the tire rotation, you move the tires to different positions depending on the vehicle type to encourage even wear of the tires.
So far you can already see that tire rotation is quite important. Other than promoting even tire wear, it is also key in improving handling, reducing vibrations, and noise. Generally, you get extended life out of the tires.
Another thing is that the tire rotation also helps protect the tire warranty. Just make sure this part is captured in your contract when buying the tires.
You can now imagine what would happen when you do not rotate the tires. That is what we look at below.
What Happens If You Do not Rotate Tires
The NHTSA report on safety showed that tire tread wear was responsible for over 25% of car accidents. So, you have to ensure that you understand the importance of rotating the tires correctly.
Here is what is likely to happen when you do not rotate the tires.
- Heat buildup
Friction between the tires and the road will always lead to heat. That is not much to worry about as the tires are built to dissipate the heat thanks to the treads being at a good depth.
When the treads are no longer at the right level, then the temperatures would rise to unsafe levels. When there is too much heat, expect to experience tread separation or even blowouts.
Having a deep groove in your tire treads can mean that the tire would channel the water out of the tire. The result is that the car now has a firm and constant grip on the road as you drive.
The hydroplaning problem arises when there is inadequate tread depth. The tire will tend to skim over the road surface which is quite dangerous. This issue leads to compromised control, handling, and control of the car.
- Traction issues in snow and ice
Poor tire rotation would also lead to poor traction, especially in ice and snow conditions. This is because there is uneven wear on the tire tread and now you no longer have the best traction to grip over the snow.
Before driving over snow and ice, make sure you have the right type of tires. This includes having snow tires with adequate thread to avoid sliding around and spinning out of control.
- Blowouts and punctures
Some vehicles are likely to create spots of excessive strain on the tires. That is why rotating the tires will help relieve the strain and leave you with a good tire that will not easily blow out or get punctures.
- Noise and vibrations
The uneven wear of the tire treads will always leave you with tires that make a lot of noise. The same thing goes for vibrations too. The result is that now you have a car with an uncomfortable ride.
So far you can see that the downsides of not rotating the tires can be dangerous. It is for this reason you may find it better to simply rotate the tires.
Here is a video for fixing uneven tire wear other than tire rotation
How Often to Rotate Tires
Now that you know it is important to rotate your tires, it is vital to know when to actually rotate the tires.
It is recommended that you rotate the tires after 5000 to 8000 miles. You could always consider looking at the car’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends.
As much as frequent tire rotation is recommended, try to keep it around 5000 miles. This can often align with when next you will be getting a basic service for the car. So, the next time you change engine oil and other maintenance tasks, consider rotating the tires too.
Do not worry so much if you do not rotate the tires at the 5000-mile mark. You can always do it before it gets over 8000 miles since the last time the tires were rotated.
How to Rotate Tires Properly
Tire rotation is as simple as moving one tire to another axle and interchanging it with the other one. However, it also needs to be done properly.
There are specific configurations to follow depending on the car type. An example is an AWD car’s tire rotation will not be the same as that of an FWD or RWD type of car.
We look at the tire rotation patterns to keep in mind below.
- Square wheel and tire type of setup
This means that the front tires are the same as the rear tires. Then you can consider using the following tips.
For front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicles, move the front tires to the back while maintaining the same side. However, cross the rear wheels when you move them to the front axle.
As for the rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicles, the rear wheels are transferred to the front while maintaining the side. However, the front tires are crossed when being installed to the back axle. It is the opposite of the FWD setup.
The all-wheel-drive (AWD) and four-wheel drive (4WD) vehicles would have a different pattern. Cross each pair of tires as you transfer them to the new axles.
- Directional wheels and staggered setup
In a staggered setup, the front and rear tires are not the same in terms of shape and size. The best way to rotate such tires would be to switch their positions on the same axle rather than moving them to the back or vice versa.
In the case of directional tires, you simply move the tires back to front and vice versa but still maintain the same side.
This video has illustrations on how to rotate tires properly
How long can you drive without rotating the tires?
Well, there is no definite time you can drive without rotating the tires. However, you should note that the tire wear will be uneven. It could also mean that you have to change the tires a lot sooner.
Will tire rotating mess with the car’s alignment?
On the contrary, a tire rotation will help prevent chances of misalignment of the car. So, you should not have to worry about the car’s alignment being affected when you have the tires rotated.
Should you rotate the tires every 10,000 miles?
Manufacturers mostly recommend you change after every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. This can be six months for some people. So, it should not be too much work for most people seeking to keep their tires from uneven wear.
Should I get the tires rotated during an oil change?
It is not a must, but it would help for you to do all the maintenance at once. So, do not always wait too long to rotate the tires and you will be happy with the overall tire wear.