How To Rotate Your Tires And Why It's Important

Posted on: 28 September 2016

Rotating your tires on a regular basis is a great way to increase their lifespan. And the good news is that, for those who are relatively comfortable performing automotive maintenance, this task isn't too difficult. If you would like to learn more about how to rotate your tires, read on. This article will walk you through the entire process.

Importance Of Tire Rotation

The principal reason why people rotate their tires is to ensure even wear. You see, your front tires and your rear tires experience different amounts of wear. This is tied directly to the fact that the front tires carry a larger proportion of an automobile's weight—60%, as opposed to the 40% carried by the back tires. Likewise, the outside front tire experiences more wear as the result of turns.

If all of your tires were left on their original wheels, these differences would cause certain tires to become worn down much more quickly than others. Not only would this lead to the expense of replacement, but it would also mean that your tires would be perpetually uneven—a potentially dangerous scenario, as it could result in the loss of crucial traction. Tire rotation ensures that the level and location of wear remains consistent across all four tires.

Tools You'll Need

Where tools are concerned, it doesn't take much to rotate your tires. The most important thing you'll need is a trustworthy jack. While your car likely has a jack already stashed away in the trunk's wheel well, it's better to invest in a hydraulic floor jack. These are much sturdier tools and are better suited for holding your car up for longer durations.

You'll also want to have a couple of jack stands on hand. Once you've raised the car with your hydraulic jack, a jack stand should be placed beneath each of the four corners, thus providing an extra degree of safety and security. Finally, you'll need to have an appropriately sized lug wrench to remove your tires' lug nuts.

The Process

Before you've put the car up on the jack, begin by loosening—but not removing—the lug nuts on each of the wheels. This will make it easier to get the tires off once the car is up on the jacks. Now proceed to raise the car using your hydraulic jack, placing a jack stand beneath each corner.

Now proceed to remove the four wheels. Because most tires today contain directional grooves, the rotation pattern is quite simple. The left front wheel will replace the left back wheel, and the right front wheel will replace the back right wheel. Crossing from right to left should be avoided, as this will result in a tire whose tread is not pointing in the right direction. Once the tires are all rotated, you may proceed to lower your car back down.

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