Every expert and manufacturer recommends that you rotate the tires on your vehicle on a periodic basis, and that's so the wear and tear is as even as possible to prolong their useful life. But plenty of drivers inevitably wonder if rotation really is necessary. Many drivers certainly don’t think rotation needs to be done regularly, and we know that because tire rotation and tire balancing are among the most neglected tasks when it comes to routine car maintenance tasks. So, let's look in a little more depth at tire rotation and consider just how necessary a part of a good car care or car servicing regime it really can be.
Signs of neglect
It's pretty easy to to identify vehicles where tire rotation has been neglected, and that's because they’re the ones with front wheels are completely black from a large accumulation of brake dust on them. In most cases, the front brakes on a vehicle are usually bigger than the ones on the back because they need to do as much 75 percent or more of all the required braking, which is why so much dust from the pads ends up on the wheels.
Why we need to rotate tires
It doesn’t really matter if your vehicle is front-, rear-, all- or four-wheel drive, rotating your tires on a regular basis is necessary because the weight and workload they carry is always likely to be unevenly distributed across the four wheels. This inevitably results in them wearing unevenly. As most vehicles on the road today are either front-wheel drive or all-wheel-drive systems, where they operate as front-drive when conditions are good, the tires at the front are going to be carrying the majority of the load.
Also, the tires at the front have to deal with a lot more weight than those at the rear due to the engine and transmission usually being mounted transversely over the front axle. When the brakes are applied, a lot of weight shifts forward, which only further adds to the load they have to cope with. The front tires also experience extra wear through the powering and steering of the vehicle, and they also bear the brunt when it comes to cornering as the weight shifts to the outside of a turn. Ironically, while the front tires are taking all this punishment the rear tires on front-drive vehicles are pretty much just along for the ride in comparison.
It's true that rear- and all-wheel drive vehicles spread more of the load to the rear tires because the rears are driving the vehicle to some extent, but those on the front still do the bulk of the work because of steering and the extra weight upon them.
How often to rotate?
How often you need to rotate depends on the vehicle you have and the interval recommended by the manufacturer, which you should be able to find out by looking in the service section of the owner's manual. Generally speaking, it's a good idea for tires to be rotated at least as often as you change the oil, or even more often. For example, if you do something like 20,000 to 24,000 km per year, your tires should probably be rotated twice a year.
The type of vehicle you have also has a bearing on how you rotate the tires, so for front-drive vehicles it's normal to swap the front tires with the rears on the same side of the vehicle and crisscross the rear tires to the front. The rotation pattern could vary if you have a rear- or all-wheel-drive vehicle, and it's a similar story with cars that have directional tires or tires of different sizes on the front and back. If you do have directional tires, they need to stay on the same side and only get moved between front and back. And if your front and rear tires are different sizes, your only option is to swap them for to the other side of the same axle.
For more information or to make a booking to get your tires rotated, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Yarmouth Mazda today.