The tires on your car are meant to last for around 50,000 miles (depending on the brand and type) but that doesn’t mean that they won’t need any maintenance during this time. If not properly cared for, your tires can wear unevenly, which can shorten their life a lot. Having your tires rotated periodically not only helps them to last longer, it increases your gas mileage, and improves the performance of your car.
Causes of Wear and Tear
If your tires were to be left in the same position on your car for their entire life, you would quickly begin to see signs of uneven wear and tear. This is because the weight and pressure of your car is not evenly distributed over the tires. The engine, which is the heaviest part of your vehicle, is almost always centered over the front tires, so they take the biggest hit in terms of wear and tear.
In addition to the front wearing faster than the back, the outside of your tires wears out more quickly than the inside. This is due to how the suspension handles, and the position of the tires when you turn. Mechanical problems like misalignment also affect how your tires wear, and certain types of tire wear and tear can be an indication of other problems.
Signs That it’s Time
Your auto manufacturers will have a recommendation about how often your tires should be rotated, which is usually around every 5,000 miles. If you have the tires rotated regularly, and there are no mechanical problems affecting them, they should wear evenly, showing equal signs of wear and tear. If you skip rotating or there’s some other problem, you’ll begin to see that the front tires are in worse shape than the back ones. You may also notice that the outsides of your tires is losing tread faster than the inside. When having your tires rotated, make sure it’s being done from front to back, from side to side, and from inside to outside.
How to Rotate Your Tires
Rotating tires isn’t rocket science, and you can certainly handle the job on your own if you want to. All you need are a jack, a set of jack stands, and a tire iron. The most important thing to remember is to follow the same rotation pattern each time, so each of your tires spends a little time at each position on your car.
A good rotation pattern is something like this: move the front tires straight to the back and put them on. Then, move the back tires to the front, and switch them left to right before putting them on. This will keep your tires wearing evenly. Before you invest the time and effort, though, remember that most tire stores include free rotation for the life of the tire when you buy from them, so they can get the job done for you.