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Tire Rotation – Easier and More Important Than You May Realize

By R&D
Published on July 10th, 2024

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Believe it or not, tires could very well be one of the most important systems on the entire vehicle. After all, the whole automobile is riding on them. They are the one thing that is between every person and the ground. The proper care and safety of the tires can make all the difference down the road.

Vehicle tires

Every year people experience tire blowouts while driving, which can cause accidents. Additionally, thousands each year find themselves pulled over on the side of the road with a flat tire. Taking some simple steps to keep your tires in good shape can keep your vehicle running smooth, and you and those riding with you safe. Maintaining proper tire pressure and keeping your tires rotated is essential to vehicle safety. Additionally it also improves your fuel economy, it can make your tires last longer and will keep your vehicle handling better.

Pressure Points

It’s estimated that there are around 660 people that die and over 33,000 people that are injured each year in accidents that are related to underinflated tires. Checking the pressure in your tires can be as easy as pulling up to a service station, or as you can take two minutes to do it yourself. Tires that are not inflated properly can lead to major problems. It puts a lot of irregular wear and stress on the tires that can eventually lead to accidents. It’s important to check your air pressure weekly because a tire may not appear to be flat, yet it could have lost up to half of its pressure.

To easily check your tire pressure pick up a digital or analog tire gauge at any auto parts store. Alternatively, many service or gas stations have them readily available for customers to use. Here are the steps to follow once you have a gauge:

  • Locate the air pressure specifications are for your car. This information can usually be found on the doorjamb of the driver’s door. If you can’t locate it there, check the glove box or the owner’s manual.
  • Remove the air valve cap and press the gauge against the valve. You should not hear a hissing sound, if you do, then you need to press firmer.
  • The gauge will give you an air pressure reading. Use this to compare to what your air pressure should be at. Then you can see if air is needed. At this point you can use the air pressure hose to add air, making sure to not add too much.

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Get Rotating!

Now that you’ve checked the air pressure in your tires, it’s time to make sure you are up to date on having them rotated. The tire rotation process is simply moving them around so that the all the wear doesn’t continue to happen in one place. It’s similar to barbecuing on the grill. You don’t throw something on the grill and keep it in one spot the whole time. It would burn and it not cook evenly. Rotating tires is the same type of concept. If you move the tires around, they will wear more evenly and last longer, while ultimately keeping you safer.

Keeping tires rotated can help maintain good balance, keep your tires from going bald and having a blowout, help with traction and even improve the gas mileage that your vehicle gets. With all those benefits, there’s just no excuse for not getting it done. You can check your owner’s manual for recommendations on how often it should be done and what patterns are recommended for your particular vehicle. However, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) a good rule of thumb is to rotate them every 5,000 miles. Here are some important tips to keep in mind regarding rotation patterns, which can vary depending upon what type of vehicle you have:

  • As illustrated in the graphic, the X-pattern is a common and often recommended sequence to follow when rotating.
  • In this X-pattern, it’s typical for vehicles that are rear wheel and front wheel drive to have the front left tire moved to the right rear side and the front left tire moved to the back right side. Then both of the rear tires would be moved directly forward.
  • For front-wheel drive vehicles the back left tire should be moved to the front right side, while the back right tire should be moved to the front left side. Then both front tires would be moved directly to the rear.
  • For vehicles that are four wheel drive and rear wheel drive, you should rotate your tires using the X-pattern or the rearward cross pattern.
  • Directional tires, those that need to turn in one direction, usually have arrows on them and need to stay on the same side of the vehicle. These should be rotated using the front to rear pattern.
  • Rotate tires using the side to side pattern if they have differently sized non-directional wheels and tires on the rear axle and front.
Tire and Wheel Service

Keeping Safe

Let the air out of a balloon and it no longer stays afloat. In the same sense, tires that are not properly inflated and rotated cannot keep the vehicle safely afloat. Taking a few minutes to check tire pressure and rotating the tires every 5,000 miles can go a long way in keeping you and your family safe.

Even if an oil leak is not indicated, you may not be in the clear just yet. Although rare, another form of internal leak, caused by a failed gasket, can allow engine exhaust to make it’s way into the coolant. The easiest way to check for this condition is to have a service technician check the pressure and integrity of your vehicle’s coolant system.

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