Tire rotation is an important maintenance duty that extends the life of your tires and ensures safe driving.
All that parallel parking. All those three-point turns. With each turn of the steering wheel, pressure is brought to bear on the front tires. Resistance causes friction, which in turn produces heat. The result? The front tires wear quicker than the rears. Because of this, it's necessary to rotate the tires front-to-rear multiple times during their life cycle to 1) equalize tread wear and 2) maximize the life of the tires.
Tires work differently, depending on their location on your vehicle. Right-side tires have more exposure to curbs and other road hazards; moving them to the other side of the vehicle prevents excessive outside wear. Front tires will show more wear if you are driving a front-drive vehicle. If your car has staggered wheels - the front and rear tires are two different sizes - you can still swap the tires side-to-side, but not front to back.
If your tires are unidirectional (specific to one side of the car) you can rotate them front to back but not side to side. And if you happen to have staggered wheels that are also unidirectional or asymmetrical, you cannot rotate your tires at all! But that's rarely the case.
Every vehicle is different, but most manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. According to Goodyear, one of the largest manufacturers of tires, "a good rule of thumb is to rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles." Which would equate to about every other oil change. Check with your owner's manual for information specific to your vehicle.Rotating and balancing your tires on a timely basis will help keep maintenance cost down on your vehicle as well as help with lowering fuel consumption and increased safety. Rotating tires is a simple procedure that can be done at a reasonable price with your automotive professional. It is also a good time to perform a tire balance when rotating tires on your vehicle.
It is important to visually inspect your tires on a regular basis. The tread pattern has wear indicators built into it. These are little bumps or nubs manufactured directly into the tread. Inspecting them will tell you how close the tire is to needing replacement. They're located throughout the tread pattern. If the tread is wearing to the point where its height is approaching that of the wear indicator, you'll need to be shopping for tires soon. Obvious signs of wear need immediate attention.