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How Often Do You Rotate Tires? What You Need To Know

Young mechanic rotating car tires

Rotating your tires is a routine maintenance procedure where your tires are swapped out with each other. Ideally, you should have your tires rotated every 5,000–8,000 miles or every 6 months, depending on the type of car you drive. Some types of cars need their tires rotated sooner than others, depending on whether it’s front-wheel drive (FWD), all-wheel drive (AWD), or rear-wheel drive (RWD).

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How to Tell When to Rotate Your Tires

If you need a guide to tell when to rotate your tires, here is a simple chart that should give you a good idea.

Type of Car How Often to Rotate Tires
Front-wheel drive Every 5,000–7,000 miles or every 6 months
Rear-wheel drive Every 5,000–7,000 miles or every 6 months
All-wheel drive Every 3,000–5,000 miles or every 6 months

These figures are only rules of thumb. For more detailed info about when to rotate your tires, read your owner’s manual. Precise mileage depends widely based on your make, model, and what year your car is.

Tire rotation typically costs about $60, but many auto shops offer free rotations if you buy tires or an oil change from them. If you happen to need tires or an oil change, this is a great deal! We definitely suggest shopping around to get the best deals on your rotation and any other necessary services.

a mechanic checking the tire of a car
Image Credit: stux, Pixabay

How Does Tire Rotation Work?

For most cars, your drive tires are doing the heavy lifting. For RWD and FWD cars, these are the rear and front tires, respectively. All tires on AWD cars wear at an increased rate, which is why they need their tires rotated more frequently.

When your tires are rotated, the tires are taken off and their positions are swapped.  By switching them out regularly, they’ll wear more evenly and last longer. If you don’t rotate your tires, they’ll wear out much faster than if you simply have them rotated as recommended.

For FWD cars, the front tires are moved directly backwards, and the rear tires are swapped diagonally forward. The driver’s side rear tire will become the passenger side front tire, and vice versa. RWD and AWD tires are swapped in a similar yet distinct way: the back tires are swapped directly forward, and the front tires are swapped backwards diagonally. The driver’s side front tire becomes the passenger side rear tire, and vice versa.

There are many other benefits to having your tires rotated. Let’s check out a few of them below.

  • Tires last longer, which saves you money on replacements over time.
  • Increased fuel efficiency, which saves you even more money.
  • Better traction, which helps your car handle better in adverse conditions.
  • Greatly reduces the chances of tire failure or blowout, which enhances safety.
  • By evenly distributing tire wear, you enjoy a smoother ride.
person changing car tire
Image Credit: Virrage Images, Shutterstock

Signs You Need to Rotate Your Tires

Like many car issues, you can tell if you need your tires rotated by observing some telltale signs. Let’s take a look at how to tell that you need to rotate your tires.

Signs Your Tires Need to Be Rotated
  • Uneven tire tread. By gauging your tire tread in different areas, you can get an idea of whether the tread is relatively even or not.
  • The tires are significantly more worn or bald than the others. This happens when you neglect to rotate your tires for too long. The tires will likely need to be replaced.
  • You feel vibrations while driving. This may be a sign of uneven tread and will harm your car over time.

car and road divider

Conclusion

Like a lot of other routine car maintenance, tire rotation is important to keep your car running and in good condition. Specifically, tire rotation keeps your tires from getting too worn prematurely by moving their positions. Tire rotations are often done at the same time as oil changes, and if you haven’t had it done in a while, now is the time to do so.


Featured Image Credit: antoniodiaz, Shutterstock

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