What is a Tire Rotation?
As a vehicle owner or driver, it's necessary to occasionally perform routine maintenance tasks in order to keep a vehicle in optimal working order. Most people have heard the recommendation to changing oil every 3 months or 3,000 miles. Most drivers are able to follow the advice of their vehicle owner's manual when it comes to maintenance under the hood; however, it's also necessary to have routine maintenance done to your tires in order for a vehicle to perform to its fullest potential.
A tire rotation is one of the necessary, routine maintenance tasks that should be performed on a vehicle every 5,000-6,000 miles. Generally speaking, it's easy to schedule a tire rotation, or simply request a tire rotation from your dealership every other time you get your oil change. Of course, this is based on the recommendation that oil be changed routinely every 3,000 miles. Some newer vehicles require oil changes less frequently than every 3,000 miles. Drivers of these vehicles can't stick to the every-other-oil-change recommendation for tire rotations if they want their tires and vehicles operating at peak performance.
What Is a Tire Rotation?
A routine tire rotation is necessary due to the difference in tread wear that occurs on front and rear tires. The front tires are used in steering, while the rear tires remain relatively stationary in terms of lateral movement. The act of steering, carving or guiding a vehicle through traffic and on roadways causes more stress for the two tires that are up front, as opposed to the two in the rear. Simply put, the tread will wear quicker on the front tires of a vehicle. In order to maintain ever tread wear and prolong the life of tires, it is necessary to rotate the front tires to the back and back to front every 5,000-6,000 miles. This simple process is known as a tire rotation.
Beyond increasing the life of tires, a tire rotation also allows for other key aspects of tire safety. With a tire rotation, a qualified tire technician will also check the inflation pressure of the tires, while visually inspecting the tires for any issues and potential hazards. Ultimately, a tire rotation provides for the most thorough examination of a tire.
Variances in Tire Rotation
Most tires manufactured for vehicles built in the 21st century possess very unique tread patterns. Most often, the tread pattern can be rotated 180 degrees and it will be identical. In these cases, no matter which way the tires roll the tread will hit the ground in the same way. With tires like these, they will be switched from the front wheels to the back and from the left side to the right side and vice versa. This ensures the most even wear to the tires possible. In some cases, this can't be done. Tires that have directional tread patterns must be mounted on a car in a specific direction. Tires with directional tread pattern will only be switched from front to back or from back to front.
Who Should Perform a Tire Rotation?
The process of rotating tires can be much more efficient when you take a vehicle to a dealership. Dealerships employ automaker-certified technicians for their service departments. They'll best be able to ensure that your tires are rotated to the precise specifications for your particular make and model. In addition to performing the tire rotation as your manufacturer intended, they'll also conduct a thorough safety inspection of your tires.