Rotation: Taking Turns
You can slow down uneven tread wear by rotating your tires-which simply means moving them around so that they “trade places” on your vehicle in a systematic way. Rotation is important because each tire on a car carries a different amount of weight, making them wear at different rates. By rotating them, you basically even out those differences. Your owner’s manual will tell you how often to rotate your tires, but as a rule of thumb, it should be done every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. You might want to rotate them sooner if you see signs of uneven wear. Misalignment and other mechanical problems can also cause such wear, so check with your mechanic to determine the cause.
There are various patterns for rotating tires (see below). A common one for front-wheel drive vehicles involves moving the tires in a criss-cross fashion, with the left front tire trading places with the right rear, and right front trading with the left rear. If you have a full-size spare, you can include it in your rotation pattern-but don’t do so with a small “temporary use” spare, because those are meant only for low-speed, short-distance emergency use.
NOTE: If your tires show uneven wear, ask your tire service professional to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation. Before rotating your tires, always refer to your vehicle owner’s manual for rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated approximately every 5,000 to 8,000 miles.
Many vehicle manufacturers recommend replacing all tires on the vehicle at the same time. This makes rotation even more important for maintaining uniform tread depth and optimum tread wear of the entire set.
In the absence of vehicle manufacturer rotation recommendations, follow the rotation patterns in the diagram. Note that certain types of tires cannot be rotated in the manner shown. Such tires may include directional and asymmetrical tires. Also, some vehicles may have different sized tires mounted on the front and rear axles, and these different sized tires have rotation restrictions. For these special cases, check the recommendations in the vehicle owner’s manual for proper rotation.
When tires are rotated, the inflation pressures must be adjusted for the tires’ new positions in accordance with the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendations; refer to the vehicle tire placard, certification label, or owner’s manual.
If the vehicle has a matching full-size spare tire, it is recommended that it be included in the tire rotation. Use one of the tire rotation patterns illustrated, inserting the full-size spare at the right rear position. Always check and adjust the inflation pressure of the full size spare when incorporating it into the rotation pattern. Do not include a “Temporary Use” or T-type spare tire in any of these rotation patterns.