With this unstable economy, we are all looking for more ways to save money. One way to save is doing your own auto maintenance, at least for the small things. For major adjustments, you should visit an auto repair shop; but for things like changing the oil or rotating the radial tires, you don’t need professional assistance.
Tires aren’t cheap, and if you are not careful, they can become a huge financial burden. If you go through a new set of tires every year, you will probably spend at least $800, depending on the size and brand.
One way to extend the life and improve the performance of your radial tires is to rotate them regularly. All tires don’t wear evenly due to each one performing a different task. To achieve longer life, you should rotate the tires every 5,000-7,500 miles or 8,000-12,000 kilometers.
But how do you rotate radial tires? Keep reading this post to find out.
The Short Answer
It is essential to rotate the rites according to the exact tire rotation pattern. By following the proper steps, you can spread tire wear evenly, reduce the risk of tire breakage, and prolong tires’ life.
Start by loosening the lug nuts on all wheels. Next, lift one wheel with a car jack and place the jack stand. If you have two stands, you will spend more time adjusting. If you have four jack stands, you can get the tire rotation done faster.
Remove the tires carefully and rotate them according to the pattern for your tire type. When you place the tire back, screw the lug nuts as hard as you can.
Why Rotate the Tires?
Front and rear tires wear variously. The front tires carry more weight (around 60%) than rear tires, meaning they wear down faster. Also, we turn tires at different rates and speeds. Most people usually take left turns faster than right ones, which puts additional pressure on the front tires, resulting in faster wearing.
After thousands of miles, the driver ends up with uneven tread wear.
Rotating your tires evens up these tread patterns. When rotating them regularly, you will increase your tires’ performance and ensure yourself a safer ride. It also extends the life of the tires, saving you money and time in the long run.
How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?
How do you rotate radial tires? When is the right time to rotate tires? These are the two most common questions drivers want to know the answers to. Knowing how and when to rotate tires will help you maintain your vehicle the right way.
The tire rotation schedule depends on your vehicle, how often you drive it, and the tires’ brand. Low-quality tires require frequent rotation, while high-quality ones are more durable. How many miles should tires be rotated? Most manufacturers recommend rotating the tires every 5,000-7,500 miles. The easiest way to remember is to do it whenever you change the oil.
If the manual states that your vehicle doesn’t need new oil that frequently, plan on rotating the tires every six months.
What Kind of Tools Do You Need to Rotate Tires?
Whenever you are rotating tires and wheels, you need the following tools:
While the jack that comes with the vehicle is useful for minor adjustments, it isn’t the most suitable tool for rotating radial tires. The car jack serves to lift the car so you can replace the tire.
Ideally, you should use a hydraulic floor jack. While it is an additional expense, keep in mind the money you’ll save with rotating your own tires. Investing in a high-quality car jack can come in handy for various auto maintenance jobs. Learn how to rotate your tires with one jack.
While you switch your tires out, you will need jack stands to set the vehicle on top of. Ideally, you need four jack stands to quickly and safely change the tires.
With the torque wrench, you can tighten the lug nuts and make sure they are in place tightly.
How Do You Rotate Radial Tires: Tire Rotation Pattern
Before you put your vehicle on jack stands and start loosening the nuts, you need to know what pattern to follow. The way you rotate radial tires depends on your car’s drive type – front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, four-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Next, you need to determine the wheel size, tire brand, and whether you have directional or non-directional tires.
Front Wheel Drive Vehicles
For front-wheel drive vehicles such as crossovers and minivans, the X pattern or forward cross pattern rotations are most suitable.
Start the rotation by moving the front wheels to the rear and the rear wheels to the front. Then, switch them so that the right rear is on the left, and repeat the pattern for all four wheels.
Read more: How To Rotate Front Wheel Drive Tires
Rear, Four-Wheel, and All-Wheel-Drive Vehicles
For rear-drive vehicles, move the rear wheels straight to the front, and then move each wheel to the opposite corner (move the right front to the left rear).
For four-wheel and all-wheel-drive vehicles, crisscross all tires – move the left front to the right rear, the right front to the left rear, the left rear to the right front, and the right rear to the left front. The X pattern is pretty simple, and once you do it, it will be much easier the next time.
You might be interested in our blog – How To Rotate Tires 4×4
The rotation pattern for non-directional tires means you can move the tire in any direction. The cross pattern is for non-directional tires only.
Directional tires have a limited tread pattern. Therefore, you should rotate them based on their direction – left or ride side of the vehicle. These tires have angled grooves for better handling and do an excellent job carrying water out from under the tire. When rotating directional tires, switch the front right tire for the back right and the front left tire for the back left.
So, how do you rotate radial tires? First, it is essential to determine the tire’s type and follow the pattern. Tire rotation is necessary to maximize tire mileage and achieve even treadwear. It is an inexpensive and quick preventative practice to establish, and once you repeat it a couple of times, you will become an expert at it.
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