As a car owner, there are many things you need to routinely do to keep your car running smoothly. Regular maintenance is the most essential part of owning a vehicle, and being proactive about it will help prevent expensive repairs down the road. By taking the time to do the little tasks required for your vehicle’s upkeep, you can ensure that you won’t be faced with more significant issues down the road.
While most people think about taking care of their engine, transmission, or other essential components when they think about vehicle maintenance, many often forget to take care of their tires. But what exactly is tire maintenance?
This means ensuring that your tires are kept at their recommended pressure and are regularly rotated. Knowing why tire rotation is important and how often you should do it can keep your tires in good condition to help you stay safe on the road.
What Is a Tire Rotation?
A tire rotation is a procedure where your tires are moved from one section of your car to another, such as replacing your rear-right tire with your front left tire. Generally, this is done to keep the tires from wearing down unevenly. If you want to keep your tires in good condition and make sure they don’t start to have more wear in some places than they do in others, rotating them often is a good idea.
If you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle (FWD), your tires will generally follow a specific rotation. This will usually be moving your front left tire to the rear left, the front right tire to the rear right and moving the rear left tire to the front right, and the rear right tire to the front left. You will follow a similar pattern for rear-wheel-drive (RWD) vehicles or all-wheel drive cars; however, the back tires go to the front and stay on the same side, and the front tires go to the back and go on opposite sides.
Rotating your tires will help them remain uniform, meaning that they will have the same thickness all around the entire tire. When your tires wear unevenly, you could end up with what is known as “bald spots,” which are very thin and prone to punctures and other damage. Tires that are regularly rotated will have the same amount of wear in every area of the tread.
What Is Tire Wear?
Your tires’ treads are designed to be thick enough to allow your vehicle to travel over small objects in the road without puncturing or tearing the actual tire. However, due to the constant friction they experience when driving, they will begin to wear down. That means the longer you have your tires without rotating or replacing them, the more this tread will start to wear down and get down to the actual belts, which can be dangerous.
You can check the tread on your tires using a simple test. All you have to do is stick a penny upside down in the tread of your tire. If you can see the top of President Lincoln’s head, it’s time for a new set of tires.
Why Is Tire Rotation Important?
When your tires aren’t rotated, they will start to wear unevenly. This is because the constant friction caused by the road surface will cause some areas to start to wear down faster than others. When this happens, the worn-down areas will not pass over small objects in the road as effectively, meaning you could end up with a flat or a blowout. This is a dangerous safety hazard, especially when you are on the highway or traveling at high speeds.
By rotating your tires, you can prevent them from developing bald spots in these areas where they get the most friction from the road. This helps you keep your tires for longer and ensures that they will be safe from flats and blowouts. Getting your tires regularly rotated will also allow you to regularly inspect the rest of your wheel mechanisms for issues regarding your brakes or steering so you can catch them before they become significant and expensive repairs.
How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?
While each vehicle will have its own recommended maintenance schedule provided by the manufacturer, a good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires at least every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This will help to ensure that they stay in good condition and are evenly worn. This is easy to remember because it is the same schedule you should have for your oil changes. You can also check your vehicle’s owner’s manual and see what it says about tire rotations to make sure you are doing it as often as you should be.
If you have a four-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive car, you should rotate your tires more often than you would with a front or rear-wheel-drive car. This is because uneven wear patterns can put a strain on your car’s drivetrain, which can lead to much bigger issues down the line. However, check your owner’s manual to see what the manufacturer recommends for your all-wheel-drive car’s rotation schedule.
Protect Your Tires With an Extended Warranty
An extended warranty could be a good option if you want to make sure you stay up on your vehicle’s tire rotations. Many extended warranties offer benefits and perks, such as regular tire rotations in their coverage, so you can be confident that your tires will be safe and last a long time. Getting the right warranty can make all the difference when it comes to your vehicle’s safety and security on the road. Explore our extended warranty provider reviews and buying guide to find out which extended warranty will work best for you and your vehicle.