Rotating your tires is something that most people who aren’t car maintenance experts wouldn’t think was as important as, say, checking their pressure.
Our introduction to the topic contains everything you need to know on how, when and why you should rotate your tires.
When Should You Rotate Your Tires?
Experts have different recommendations, but the average interval between tire rotations comes out at around 5,000 miles (about 8,000 km) or every six months, whichever comes first. That said, you should check with your vehicle’s manufacturer for their recommendation as they’ve already taken into consideration its unique attributes such as transmission layout, weight, etc.
We’ve looked into some of the more common vehicle setups that would affect how often you need to rotate your tires as well as best practices below!
When Should You Rotate New Tires?
New tires should be rotated for the first time when they hit 5,000 miles (about 8,000 km) according to Bridgestone because fresh, deep tire tread is more vulnerable to wear.
When To Rotate RWD Tires?
On a rear wheel drive vehicle, the tires should be rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles (about 8,000 to 11,000 km). There’s a specific rotation pattern that we’ll cover later.
When Should You Rotate FWD Tires?
Like RWD, front wheel drive systems should also have their tires rotated every 5,000 to 7,000 miles and they also have a recommended pattern, discussed further below.
When Should You Rotate AWD Tires?
Because al all-wheel drive vehicle uses all tires to generate traction, they wear faster so they should be rotated more frequently, i.e. Every 3,000 to 5,000 miles (about 4,800 to 8,000 miles).
When Should You Rotate Tesla Tires?
In an updated user manual for the Model Y, Tesla recommends that you rotate your tires every every 6,250 miles (10,000 km) or if the tread depth difference is 2/32 in (1.5 mm) or greater, whichever comes first.
Tesla CEO Elon Musk said on Twitter that annual tire rotation for their vehicles is optional.
When Should You Rotate Jeep Wrangler Tires?
Jeep Wrangler enthusiasts recommend that you rotate your tires every 6,000 to 9,000 miles (about 9,700 to 14,000 km), every six months or every third oil change, whichever comes first.
When Should You Rotate Michelin Tires?
Michelin recommends that you rotate their tires every 3,000 to 6,000 miles (about 4,800 to 10,000 km) or six months.
When Should You Rotate Mud Tires?
Mud terrain tires experience a greater rate of wear due to the surfaces they’re used on, but depending on your use, drivers recommend you rotate them every 3,000 to 6,000 miles or every second oil change, whichever comes first.
When Should You Rotate All Terrain Tires?
Like mud tires, all terrain tires should be put on a rotation schedule that takes their use into consideration.
Under normal circumstances they should be rotated every 5,000 miles or every time you get service but if they’re being put under more rigorous conditions or they’re large, they should be rotated every 2,500 miles.
Do You Really Need To Rotate Your Tires?
You have to rotate your tires because it helps to spread wear evenly across your tires and you can get the most use out of them.
Each position on a vehicle experiences different types and levels of force – for instance, front wheels are used for steering and braking whereas rear wheels will usually only be used to generate traction.
Rotating your tires ensures you get the maximum use from one set and you can replace them all at once for convenience.
This uniformity also ensures a smoother driving experience since the vehicle is always operating a similar set of tires.
On an all-wheel drive setup, this also means that the vehicle doesn’t have to use more force to operate one wheel more than the others, a situation that would place more strain on the drivetrain and other internal components.
Some tire manufacturers might also require you to rotate your tires as part of maintenance in order for the warranty to remain effective.
How Do You Know When To Rotate Your Tires?
You can tell when you need to rotate your tires if you notice uneven wear in your tires, a rougher ride where your vehicle vibrates more than usual, and loss of air pressure.
How Much Does It Cost To Rotate Tires?
This depends on where you go to get the procedure done but major service providers like Walmart charge between $10 and $20 per wheel, for a total of $40 to $80 to rotate the whole set.
What Happens If You Wait Too Long To Rotate Tires?
If you don’t rotate your tires early enough, they could end up with a permanently uneven wear pattern that lasts for as long as you use the set.
Losing the uniformity discussed in the section above results in a much rougher ride that could become worse over time regardless of whether or not you rotate the tires after you notice it.
In fact, if you take too long to rotate your tires, you will miss out completely on its benefits and you will no longer be able to achieve even wear because it’s going to be too late to catch the treads up.
What Happens If You Never Rotate Your Tires?
If you never rotate your tires, you’re going to wear your tires unevenly, have a rougher ride, and potentially damage your vehicle’s internal components like the transmission and drivetrain if the situation isn’t addressed soon enough.
What Is The Proper Tire Rotation Pattern?
On RWD and AWD vehicles, you should move the front tires to the opposite rear position (e.g. front right tire moves to rear left) while the rear tires just move to the front but on the same side (e.g. rear left tire moves to front left).
On an FWD vehicle, you should move the rear tires to the opposite front position (e.g. rear left tire moves to front right) while the front tires remain on the same side but move to the rear (e.g. front right tire moves to rear right).
How Much Longer Will Tires Last If Rotated?
Rotating your tires does help them last longer, but only up to the point the manufacturer rated them.
For example, if a tire’s mileage was listed at 50,000 miles, rotation makes it more likely to last the full 50,000 miles.
Can You Rotate Tires Too Often?
Honestly, it’s better to rotate your tires too often than too little or not at all; if you can get it done every time you get your car serviced, even better.
Rotating your tires regularly still ensures more even wear across all treads and the only parts that could wear more as a result are the wheel studs and lug nuts, but they’re a lot more durable so you should be fine.
Upping your rotation frequency is actually recommended for tires that experience more demanding conditions such as off-road and freight vehicles.
Can I Rotate My Tires Every 10,000 Miles?
From the sections above, we’ve shown how experts, enthusiasts and manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires much sooner than this.
However, if you absolutely can’t make these schedules, you can rotate your tires at least once every 10,000 miles (16,000 km) provided you use your vehicle under normal conditions (paved roads, no heavy loads, etc.).
If you want to learn more, you can also read our related posts on how long do Firestone tires last, tire feathering, how long does it take to rotate tires, and the tire statistics & facts.
Rotating your tires ensures even wear across the whole set and ensures you get the most out of every wheel as well as a smooth ride.
You should rotate your tires every 5,000 miles (8,000 km) or so, or six months, whichever comes first, but be sure to check with your vehicle and tire manufacturers.
Your rotation schedule should take into consideration your vehicle setup and use i.e. The more extreme conditions you go through, the more regularly you should rotate your tires.
Waiting too long to rotate your tires could cause irreversible uneven wear and a rougher ride so it’s better if you rotate them more often than not.
Rotating your tires helps them last longer than they would if you hadn’t, but they would only last up until their manufacturer’s stated mileage.