Novices often underestimate the critical role of rotated tires – and this guide is crafted to remind them again of how important regular rotation is. As someone who used to spend thousands of dollars fixing an ill-serviced car, I strongly suggest you not follow in my previous footsteps!
So how often should you rotate tires, exactly? And how to assess whether your car even needs it or not? My insightful guide has all the answers you are looking for; keep scrolling.
In this article:
How Often Should You Get Your Tires Rotated?
As per industry experts, keeping the rotation schedule aligned with your oil change would be the best. And though that might translate to different tire rotation intervals for car models, the rough calculation falls between 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
In simpler terms: change your oil AND rotate the car every 5,000-7,000 miles. But that is just the general rule of thumb; in fact, some higher-end car models might go through a bit more complications than that.
For instance, BMW’s modern technologies and premium oil reservoirs allow a long oil change interval of 15,000 miles – which can be a bit too long for tire rotations; it would still be best to lower the frequencies to at least 7,500-8,000 miles.
Another example is the Subaru. After several experiments, it is safe to conclude that raising the bar to 7,500-8,000 miles (or 7.5 months, whichever arrives first) does not hurt the tire’s balance.
So, all in all, confirming the issue with the vehicle manufacturer – or any person you know who owns vehicles from the same brand – would be a smart move.
And what if you barely reach 7,000 miles per year? Even those who never take their car out for any occasion are still advised to have it rotated at least once per year. This sentiment applies to most vehicle models.
Signs That Your Car Need Rotation
Note that any defects or malfunction signals demand IMMEDIATE rotation. I once had to take my Subaru to car services right away after its wear-down symptoms grew too obvious – despite the car not approaching the 5000-mile benchmark since my last tire replacement.
At least once a month, take your car out to check for the following indicators:
Take a closer look at the tires. Do you see any bald spots (FYI: no visible tire tread can be spotted)? “Yes” to that question clearly signifies the need for tire rotation – or worse, replacements. Schedule a service appointment whenever you can.
Clear Vibrations While Driving
I understood that more than anyone else; the uneven tire wear threw me round and round on the road like a spinning roller coaster, especially at high speeds!
Does that also happen to you? Do you sense violent violation as the car gets on highways? Then it’s time to pull your car aside for a more thorough treadwear check.
Sometimes, vibrations do not necessarily stem from uneven tread; still, they are transparent signals of malfunctioning tires that need further inspection. Leave that to a trustable service center; I am certain they will know where to locate the problem source.
The Car Is Pulled To The Side
A well-operating car should keep its straight line regardless of the steering wheels’ direction.
That’s how I started noticing abnormal alerts with my car: although the curvature was minor, it was more than enough to tell me something had gone seriously wrong with the tires. Most of the time, uneven tread depth is the culprit – but other hidden issues might also lurk around.
Doing the tire rotation on your own is alright, though you should keep in mind that different car models (RWD, AWD, or FWD) warrant different tire rotation patterns. It would be best to leave the matter to someone who knows what he’s doing.
The Tire Pressure Is Reduced
One tire losing air pressure – while the other three remain full – screams a hidden weak spot caused by excessive wear or tread damage.
I often encounter this problem more with my driver-side tire than others, since that’s where most of my weights are anchored. Worse, my Subaru sent no warning light, so it took me a while to notice the issue!
Unlike my old Subaru, most modern cars have a TPMS system installed, so I guess detecting the pressure loss should not be that challenging for you. Refill the tire(s) as soon as possible, and remember to always keep an eye out for the warning light!
One substandard tire installed under the car forces the other three to work thrice harder than usual to compensate, which results in bad fuel efficiency. Been there, done that!
Back in those days, I even had to manually adjust my steering wheel to rectify the pulling. The weight was distributed unevenly as a result, putting even more pressure on my three good tires.
The only solution is to replace the bad tire and have the car rotated regularly; there are no shortcuts to go about it.
What Happens If You Keep Driving Without Rotating Tires?
Only dreamers or total beginners would expect the ride to go smooth and seamless without any tire rotation. I almost had to vomit a couple of times after such trips; the entire road was so bumpy that no one in the car could stay in their seats!
Plus, tire failures and accidents are on the horizon. Uneven tread wear poses immense difficulty to car control, making it a challenge to veer the vehicle away on time to avoid collisions on slippery roads.
Should You Rotate Tires On Your Own Or Have It Done By Auto Shops?
To each their own, although for me, auto services will always be the ultimate choice.
For once, these technicians know what to do, and secondly, the price range ($10 to $40) isn’t even that costly – considering the rotation is only recommended once or twice per year. I would rather pay a bit more money to have things done quickly rather than spend days on my own struggling.
Is It OK to Rotate Tires Every 10,000 Miles?
It’s acceptable, though not recommended. As mentioned, 5,000 to 7,000 miles (or stretching to 8,000 miles for cars like my Subaru) would be ideal.
Can You Rotate Tires Too Much?
Too much rotation actually wears down the tires even faster. The rule of thumb is to avoid overdoing it.
Hopefully, my take on the recommended rotation frequencies can lend you some excellent pointers for maintaining all car types. Still struggling? Remember that my inbox is always open for all questions regarding tire care.