by Pat Goss
Everyone knows to keep their tires rotated, but like most things, there’s a right way and a wrong way. Pat Goss has advice on how often, and in what pattern tires should be rotated.
Have you checked the price of tires recently? They are expensive. So, how would you like to get twice as much ware out of the tires? Well, in most cases you can. That’s by properly rotating the tires on your car.
Now, contrary to what you might hear – proper rotation means that at least two of the tires on your car have to turn in the opposite direction, which means they have to get on the other side of the car. But before we get in how you do that, why is that so important? Well, if we look at this tire, we can see these blocks of rubber; now, as this tire rotates down the road, this edge of this block of rubber hits the road first and it pushes the rubber down and the back edge of it out. Well, that means that the back edge of that block of rubber gets more ware than the front edge. Well, over a period of time, the tire is going to get noisy and you’re going to get an uneven ware pattern along the edge of the tire. To prevent that, you simply turn it in the opposite direction.
Ok, so, what is the proper tire rotation? Well, we’re dealing with a front-wheel drive car so what we’re going to do is, we’re going to take the right front and go straight back to the right rear. Left front is going to go to the left rear; then, the right rear is going to left front and the left rear is going to the right front. We’re ‘x-ing’ the tires that are going on the drive wheel. Now, if you have a rear-wheel drive car, you would reverse that procedure. Now, by getting these tires to rotate in the opposite direction, well, you’re going to even out the tire ware and get longer tire life.
Now, a couple things you should be aware of – you’re going to do this yourself, get yourself a tire crayon and mark the position of the tires on the inside and where you’re going to put them before you take them off so you don’t get ‘em mixed up – that’s what we do in the repair shop.
And the second thing is, and this is especially true if you take your car to a repair shop to have the tires rotated – always use a torque wrench to reinstall the wheels. You see, torque wrenches will prevent warped brake rotors. Air impact wrenches almost always guarantee warped brake rotors. So this can save you a lot of time, a lot of money and a lot of aggravation, just like the tire rotation can give you a lot longer tire life. And if you have a question or comment, drop me a line, right here at MotorWeek.