One of the most important things you can do to keep your car running well is to rotate its tires. Tire rotation is the routine repositioning of your vehicle’s tires in specific patterns such as side to side or front to back.
If you are a vehicle owner, it is essential to know how to rotate your tires. This is important because it helps keep the tires safe while running. Not only does this make them last longer, but it also improves your car handle and improves braking performance.
There are a few different ways to rotate your tires, so consult your owner’s manual or talk to a mechanic if you’re unsure how to do it yourself. Rotating your tires every six months or 5,000 miles is a good idea. But you may need to check it regularly if you drive in particularly harsh conditions (off-road driving or lots of stop-and-go traffic). Let’s learn about DIY methods of rotating the tire.
What is Tire Rotation?
Rotating the tire means the periodical change of position of each tire of your vehicle. The vehicle manufacturer recommends rotating the tires every 5,000 miles. This means that every time you change the vehicle’s oil, you must also rotate the tires. Also, regularly rotating the tires gives you an excellent opportunity to inspect the damages, check air pressure, balance both tires, etc.
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Why rotating the tire is important?
There are many reasons behind the importance of rotating the tire. Regular rotation keeps your tires in good health and ensures the safety of your vehicle. Here are other reasons why you should rotate the tires:
- Firstly, by rotating the tires, the wear spreads evenly across the four tires, and as a result, the tread life gets maximized.
- Secondly, even treadwear keeps the tread depth on the tires uniform; thus, it helps maintain traction and handling consistency across the four tires. Ultimately, it results in improving cornering and braking performance. So, in a way, it ensures your safety while driving.
- Lastly, if you own an all-wheel-drive, evenly worn tires lower the stress on the drivetrain and eventually reduce the wear on the costly driving components.
What tools are needed?
We all have a car jack at home. But, the regular car jack is not recommended for rotating the tires. It might work, but it is unsuitable for rotating vehicle tires. The regular jacks that come with cars are designed to lift your car for a short time so that you can change the tires fast.
The safer option is to use a hydraulic floor jack. A good floor jack is around 100 to 150 dollars, but it is one of the best investments you can make for your car. It will come in handy for other maintenance purposes, not just for tire rotation.
You will need some jack stands so the car can rest on top of it while you’re rotating the tires. A set of jack stands cost around 30 dollars.
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What should be the rotation pattern?
Before we loosen the lug nuts, it is essential to know the pattern we will use for rotating the tires. One of the most important factors for rotating the tires depends is whether your car has directional or non-directional tires.
Rotating the directional tires
The directional tires have one-way tread patterns optimized for the direction the tires rotate, so they are specially made for either the right or left side. The little triangles or arrows on the sidewalls indicate how the tired should be turned. For rotating directional tires, switch the front right one for the back right one and the front left one for the back left one.
Rotating the non-directional tires
The tread pattern on the non-directional tires is designed so that the tire can be mounted on the wheel in any direction. For rotating the directional tires, use the usual cross pattern. For cars with rear-wheel drive, you need to move the front ones to the opposite sides of the rear while the left-front ones to the right rear and right-front ones to the left rear.
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5 Simple Steps to rotate your car tires
- Step 1: Engage parking brake
- Step 2: Place the car jack safely
- Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts of the wheels of the vehicle
- Step 4: Rotate The tires
- Step 5: Lowering the car down from the jack stands
You can easily rotate the car tires at home following these simple steps.
The time needed: 20 minutes
Step 1: Engage parking brake
You need to engage the parking brake for your safety. There are a few things you can do to rotate your tires on your own, and engaging the parking brake is one of them. First, make sure that your car is parked on a flat surface. Then, put the gearshift into the park and apply the parking brake.
Step 2: Place the car jack safely
For this, you need to lift one wheel with the help of the car jack and place the jack stand below it. If you have one or two jack stands only, you will need to do a little planning before jacking. First, think about how you will lower or raise the car since you do not have enough stands. One thing, you will need more time for this since you will spend more time lowering and raising the car to switch the jacks out.
Sometimes, we recommend people to use four jack stands. It is not the safest thing to do, but it will help you do the work faster and with much ease. On top of that, you do not need to switch the jack stands in the middle of work.
Step 3: Loosen the lug nuts of the wheels of the vehicle
Loosen the lug nuts on each tire using a lug wrench or socket wrench. Here, you need to remember that you don’t want to take them off completely. Just loosen them for now so that when you elevate the car, it will be much easier to unscrew the lug nuts.
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Step 4: Rotate The tires
Rotating the tires according to the appropriate pattern for your type of tires. As you have already removed the tires, you need to follow the previous given directional and non-directional patterns for rotating them. After this, place the tires back onto the wheel mouth and screw the lug nuts as tightly as possible with your hands.
Step 5: Lowering the car down from the jack stands
With the help of a lug wrench, tighten the nuts diagonally rather than side-by-side. The pattern should be like a star pattern. The pattern ensures even tightening. Uneven tightening can result in warping the brake rotor.
It will not take you more than 20 minutes, even with the extra effort.
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