Car Care - Rotating Tires


It is an excellent idea to rotate the tires on your truck, van, car or SUV.

Think about how much work your tires do for you. They are in constant contact with the road. They protect you against bumps and potholes, and obstacles like stones, glass, and tree branches. They help steer the vehicle as it turns a corner or rounds a bend. Your tires give you a smooth, safe ride.

Reference the maintenance schedule in your owner's manual to see how often you should do this task. Usually it is every 7,500 miles.

A good time to do this is when you have your oil changed. Not every time, of course, just when you have put 7,500 miles on your tires. Rotating the tires helps prevent premature wear. When you rotate the tires according to instructions in your owner's manual, you are distributing wear evenly on all four tires (five, if you have a full-size spare tire). Therefore the front tires, which normally receive more wear than the rear tires, do not wear out before the other tires, and you retain full steering, braking, and turning capacity.

You may want to consider rotating your tires yourself. It is a relatively easy job and will save you money over the years. You will need a jack, the one that came with your vehicle for changing tires will do; a jack stand; and a tire iron.

Before you start, place your vehicle in "park," or in gear if a manual transmission, and set the emergency brake. Remove the hubcap from one of your tires. Loosen, but do not remove, the lug nuts (it is much easier and safer to loosen the tight lug nuts when the tire is still on the ground). Now jack up this end of the vehicle according to the instructions in your owner's manual. Place a jack stand securely underneath the vehicle at this end, near the jack. Lower the vehicle slowly onto the jack stand. (Caution: always use extreme care when putting your vehicle on a jack or jack stands.)

Now remove the lug nuts and the tire. Note where you are supposed to move the tire for the correct rotation. Remove the hubcap and loosen the lug nuts as before. Similarly jack up the vehicle on that end. Remove the lug nuts and the tire. Place the tire from the previous position onto this axle. Spin the lug nuts on and tighten them, but not all the way. Lower this end of the vehicle.

Moving on to the next part of the vehicle, do the same thing: remove the tire and put the next one in the rotation on the axle. If you have a full-sized spare, don't forget to include it in your rotation.

When you have all of the tires on their respective axles, lower the vehicle. Secure all of the lug nuts on all of the tires tightly using the tire iron. Now you are finished. Record when you rotated your tires and remember to do the rotation again after the prescribed mileage.