How often should tires be rotated?

Tires need to be rotated to even up the wear between front and rear tires. Most cars on the road today have front wheel drive. The heaviest components of the vehicle, such as the engine, transmission and the battery are placed in the front. This causes front tires to wear faster than the rear ones.

For example, this Nissan (in the photo) came from a car rental company.Tire wear without tire rotations It has only 20K miles, but without regular tire rotations its front tires are worn out, while the rear tires have plenty of tread material left. Click on the photo to see a larger image.

In addition, many modern cars have an independent rear suspension, which often causes the rear tires to wear more on the inside. In some cars with an independent rear suspension, rear tires may even become "cupped" if not rotated for a long time. "Cupping" is a wear pattern where the tread material wears unevenly, as patches of flat spots.Cupped tire Cupping may also be caused by worn out struts or shock absorbers or when a tire is not balanced properly. Cupped tires can cause howling or rumbling noise when driving.

What are the benefits of regular tire rotations:
1. Tires will last longer.
2. Front and rear tires will wear at equal rate.
3. While doing tire rotation, your mechanic can check the condition of your brakes and other components.

How often should tires be rotated?
Most car manufacturers recommend rotating tires between 5,000 and 8,000 miles or at every oil change. You can find the recommended tire rotation intervals in your maintenance schedule.
Do all car require tire rotation?
No, many sports cars with different size tires on the front and rear axles (e.g. Chevrolet Corvette, Nissan 370Z), do not need tire rotation. Your mechanic may also advise against tire rotation if the rear tires are worn unevenly or if one of the rear rims is bent. This is because an unevenly worn tire or a bent rim tend to produce more vibration or tire noise when placed at the front. Also, if all tires are completely worn out, tire rotation won't be much of a benefit.

Tire rotation patternDo tires need to be rotated front to back or in a cross pattern?
If tires are non-directional, your owner's manual may recommend rotating them either on the same side or in a cross pattern. Most auto repair shops rotate tires front to back and it usually works well. Directional tires can only be rotated front to back on the same side.

Why am I getting a humming or rumbling noise or vibration after tire rotation?
Usually this happens when unevenly worn tires are moved from the back to the front of the car. Your mechanic may suggest to reverse the tire rotation to see if the problem goes away.