It can sometimes seem like there are a thousand things that can go wrong with your vehicle at once, but the truth is that they’re just intricate machines. They require maintenance and upkeep to continue to run at maximum efficiency. There’s a lot of things that mechanics know how to do that will avoid problems down the line. Our definitive guide provides some context related to brake systems, which is affected by tire health.
Nowhere are these preventative measures more evident than in your tires. Tires are one of the more vulnerable parts of the car. Even with consistently good driving and a well cared for vehicle, they face the worst wear and tear. Luckily, mechanics know how to help you get the most out of your tread through tire rotations.
What is a Tire Rotation?
While your tires are all subjected to wear and tear, the way that vehicles work is that the four tires do not wear equally. Depending on the car you have, front and back tires can wear out at different rates. For instance, rear-wheel-drive vehicles will wear out their back tires faster than front-wheel drive vehicles due to how the engine drives the tires. Tire rotation also affects Wheel balance.
A tire rotation saves you from replacing two tires more frequently than the others by rotating which axis the tires are on. This can be done differently depending on the type of tires you have, your drivetrain (all-wheel, front-wheel, rear-wheel, or four-wheel drive), not your tires are all the same size, to begin with.
Tire rotation ultimately encourages an even wear across all four tires. Timely rotation can extend their lives and negate problems associated with an overworn tire that could be costly to find, let alone fix.
The Myth of Rotation and Alignment
There are a few myths associated with tire rotation. Still, none is as well known as the urgent need for a realignment after a rotation. People express that after having their tires rotated, the vehicle’s steering began pulling, which required an alignment on top of their rotation.
This has more to do with your tires than the act of rotation itself. Sometimes the pull is associated with a temporary difference in tire camber (the specific inward or outward angle on a tire, possibly caused by different wear). Driving on the tires in their new position for a while should be enough to level that issue, which shouldn’t be too much of a problem. This issue is particularly prevalent on used vehicles, where the current owner may not have a complete tire history.
Your tires pulling after a rotation could also indicate that the tire was a poor quality to remain in rotation at all. There’s also the possibility of the tires being unevenly trodden.
Improper or total lack of tire rotation would make it so the tires couldn’t trade places without being further deteriorated by more stress than they can handle.
Tire rotation does not create the need for an alignment; however, a tire rotation can bring to light problems with your tires that can mimic the need for an adjustment. Don’t take these warning signs at face value: make sure to talk through your mechanic issue. A professional can work through the problems you’re having together without unnecessary expense.
Do I Have to Rotate My Tires?
The short answer is yes. Tire rotation helps maintain the quality of your tires for longer. It can prevent much worse damage to the vehicle through damaged wheels. Not taking care of your car is a safety risk, especially when it comes to tires that can blow out, flatten, and hydroplane or slip depending on weather conditions.
Depending on your vehicle, the recommended range of kilometres before you need to rotate your tires is about 8000 – 16000 or every other oil change. Your mechanic will have more specific recommendations based on:
- how frequently you use your vehicle,
- how much wear and tear you accumulate, and
- your type of vehicle and the tires on it
If you’re wondering whether your tires need rotation, contact your mechanic today!