As a consumer, I have always wondered why I should rotate the tires on my car and how often they should be rotated. Apparently there is a proper way to rotate the tires and a wrong way to do it as well. I have had many cars over the years and for some I have rotated the tires, while others I did not bother at all. I did not notice a difference in the way the tires wore out or even if they wore out prematurely. The experts say that you should rotate them often. Apparently every 12k miles is recommended by some car dealers.
I have brand new tires on my car and they come with lifetime rotation and warranty ( the warranty is prorated). I have no excuse to not have them rotated. However I thought I should really investigate this tire rotation business and why you rotate your tires. My new found knowledge is being passed along on this website for those of you who care about these sorts of things.
Each wheel should be moved from one location on your car to another location on your car at regular intervals. Check your cars manual for the recommended period, however for the warranty I received with my tires, my tires need to be rotated every 12,000 miles. Consumers who also have a full size spare with their car should have this tire included in the rotation so that all tires have the same uniform wear on them. Specific tire rotation guidelines also apply in terms of were you place the tires.
For cars that are front wheel drive, front tires are moved to the back and across. For example your left front tire should be moved to your right rear location. The left front tire should be moved to the right rear location. Both rear tires should be moved straight ahead. Following this approach all four tires will occupy each position over time and they should wear evenly provided your alignment is ok. The picture above shows other possible tire rotation patterns, however you should follow your cars manual for the proper pattern.
Why should You Rotate Your Tires
This was something that I never really understood until I did a little bit of research. It turns out that your front tires do a lot more work than the rear tires even though they both cover the same distance. First of all the front of the car weighs more with the engine weight on them, secondly they perform the majority of the work pulling the car with front wheel drive cars and they do the majority of the braking. All of this seems pretty obvious when you think about it.
The last two reasons were a bit of a surprise to me but they do make sense. Your front right tire is more likely to hit debris on the road so it will take more of a beating from stones and glass than the other tires as well as hitting the odd curb. The left front tire is put under more stress since we tend to take left hand turns at a slightly higher rate of speed than we do right hand turns in North America. The reverse is true for parts of Europe were they drive on the other side of the road.
As a result of all of these reasons, rotating your tires makes sense to spread the load and to ensure that your tires wear evenly.
Include Your Spare Tire in Your Tire Rotation Plans
When you include your full size spare tire in this rotation, you will ensure that all of your tires wear at the same speed. If you ever have a flat tire, your spare tire will more evenly match the tires on the car as well. One more thing about your spare tire. If your spare tire is not the same make and model of tire that is on your car, you may want to forgo including your spare tire in the tire rotations. different tires handle differently and may cause some instability as a result in your driving. In my case, my spare is not the same as the four tires I just purchased so I will not include it in the regular tire rotation exercise.
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