Taking Care Of My Car

When Should You Rotate Your Tires?

In order to keep one's vehicle safely running, for the passengers of that vehicle and those who share the road, it is important to follow a vehicle maintenance schedule.  That maintenance schedule is generally listed in the owner's manual or can be found online.  A maintenance schedule includes when to schedule oil changes, checking of the car's hoses, brakes, transmission, belts, etc.  Another important feature of the car is the tires and specifically following a maintenance schedule of rotating the tires in accordance with the recommendations of the manufacturer for both the tires the vehicle.

What Does It Mean?

In order to understand the importance of rotating the vehicle's tires and when to perform this maintenance, it is beneficial to know what it means to actually rotate the tires. Specifically, the rotating of tires mounted on the vehicle is a process in which the four tires that are currently on the vehicle are rotated to different positions on the two axles.  Generally, the tires are rotated from side to side and front to back.  Also, there are three standardized patterns that most tire companies or dealerships follow.  The various rotation patterns include the rearward cross, the x-pattern, or the forward cross.


There are a number of reasons why the vehicle owner should have their tires rotated. First of all, the rotation of one's tires will help to prevent uneven tire wear.  Uneven tire wear will reduce the performance of the vehicle as well as create or be a safety issue for the passengers when they are traveling. Also, uneven wear on the tires may adversely affect gas mileage. Another primary reason for rotating the tires on the vehicle is to maximize the life of the tire.


Generally, the manufacturer of the tires and the owner's maintenance manual suggest that the tires be rotated every 3000 to 6000 miles.  Additionally, if a front wheel drive vehicle is owned, there is an added caveat to rotating the tires.  This is due to the fact that the additional power placed on the front end of a four-wheel drive vehicle places greater stress on the front tires. Also, the added weight of the transmission and engine adds to the need for the tires on a four-wheel drive to be rotated more frequently. In closing, it is best to maintain the health of your tires and by visiting an auto repair shop on a regular basis.