Important Car Maintenance – Tire Rotation


Regular tire rotation is an important part of routine vehicle maintenance. Rotating the tires will help a vehicle’s tires to wear more evenly. This will keep the front tires from needing to be replaced much more frequently than the rear tires, which generally receive less wear. Regular tire rotation also helps preserve good traction and treads. Replacing all four tires at once, as opposed to just the front tires and later just the rear tires, can help to maintain the vehicle’s original handling balance. It also allows you to buy new tires with advances in technology as opposed to having to match worn out tires to the tires that are still on the vehicle.

There are many differences of opinion concerning how frequently tires should be rotated, various experts will suggest rotating tires anywhere from every 3,000 to every 10,000 miles. 6,000 is a common recommendation. Sometimes, the vehicle’s owners manual will make recommendations about tire rotation. These should typically be checked and followed.

Many tire stores and auto shops will rotate tires as part of a standard service package. While the job is not difficult, the shop will ensure that the job is done quickly and safely. They will also be able to check wheel alignment and tire pressure at the same time.

Rotating tires at home isn’t a difficult process, but it is generally only recommended for people who have some experience working on cars. The job will require a few basic tools: a torque wrench or lug wrench, a jack, and four safety stands. A hydraulic lift is best and will make the job much easier if you have access to this piece of equipment.

To rotate tires, first be sure the vehicle is parked on a level surface. Remove the hub caps and loosen the lug nuts one half turn while the vehicle is still on the ground. Then use the jack to raise all four wheels off the ground, positioning a safety stand under each corner of the vehicle. Remove each wheel and place it on the ground next to where it was originally attached. It is important to keep track of the tire locations during the next few steps.

The front wheels should then be moved to the back on the same side, right front tire going to the right rear and left front tire going to the left rear. Back tires should be moved to the opposite side of the front, right rear going to the left front and left rear going to the right front. This is referred to as an X rotation because of the shape of the pattern. If the vehicle has a full-sized spare tire that is in good shape, it can be included in the rotation to help prolong the life of the tires even more. The spare tire should be moved to the left front and the right rear tire will become the new spare. The rest of the tires can be moved in the same manner as in the X rotation.

Manually tighten the lug nuts, lower the vehicle, and then tighten them the rest of the way with the torque wrench, be sure to check and follow the vehicles’ recommended specifications. Replace the hub caps. Be sure to take the car for a test drive before taking it out on the highway, if you feel it pulling in either direction, it may need a wheel alignment or further adjustment.

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