Last week, our first time car buyer, Leaving the Nest in Naples, asked why tire balancing and rotation are so important, and while we’ve already answered her question regarding balancing, we need to get back to tire rotation. The wheels on the bus do, indeed, go round and round, but that’s not what we mean by rotating your tires; what we mean is moving them from one position on your car to another. Most commonly, rotating means that the front tires move to the back, and the back tires move to the front; but they move left to right and vice versa, as well. So, why do you need to rotate your tires?
We rotate tires because tires tend to wear unevenly, to some degree. Did you know that 60% of your car’s weight rests on your front tires? This means that your front wheels will generally wear down faster than your rear wheels. Also, the tires on the front of the car tend to wear a bit more towards the outside edges because the tires lean when you turn a corner. A little trivia for you: In this country, we tend to take left turns faster than right turns, so our right front tires wear more quickly than the left. Since rear tires tend to just play “follow the leader” with your front tires, they tend to wear a bit more evenly (if your tires are in balance, have the proper pressure, your alignment is good, etc.), so rotating the position of your tires on your car occasionally will actually extend the life of your tires (which will save you time and money in the end) and, generally, make your ride smoother and life easier. Rotating is the great equalizer when it comes to tires. If you don’t rotate your tires, you may have to replace them thousands of miles earlier–not good.
Most people recommend rotating your tires every 5,000 miles, and you can do it yourself, but there are some things you need to know. Do you have directional tires? These tires are specifically made with a tread pattern that is one way only. These tires are made specifically for either the left or right side, so when you rotate them, you do it front to back, and the tires stay on the same side of the car that they were on. There should be little arrows or triangles on the sidewall of the tire to let you know which direction the tires go.
Non-directional tires have tread patterns that are designed to be used in any direction of rotation. When you rotate these tires, you’ll use a cross-pattern. The front tires will move to the back–left front to right back and right front to left back, but the back tires will move directly forward, if your car has rear-wheel drive. If your car has front-wheel drive, the opposite applies. Move the rear tires to the opposite sides on the front and move the front tires straight back. Easy-peezy, right?
So, here’s the rub to the rotate-them-yourself crowd: Usually tires are rotated and balanced at the same time. If you read last week’s blog about balancing, then you know why. So, you can still rotate the tires yourself, but you’ll probably need to take them somewhere to have them balanced; the other answer, of course, is to take them in to have the tires rotated and balanced together and save yourself the time and energy. Any RNR store can take care of rotating and balancing, and certain locations (call ahead to find out if your local RNR is one of these locations) can also align your wheels. And remember: When you buy your new tires with RNR, FREE LIFETIME ROTATION AND BALANCE is included for as long as our tires are on your car.
When you take care of your tires, they’ll take care of you. They’ll keep you safe on the road, make your ride smooth and comfortable, and they’ll last a lot longer and save you time and money. That’s a good for everyone.
If you need some tire advice, a new set of tires or your tires need to be rotated and balanced, RNR can help you out. Come see us at any of our locations, and we’ll get you back on the road safely and soon!