Our tires help get us down the road safely, so whether it’s a family trip or transporting you back and forth to work, you want your tires to last. While it might be a headache now to learn how to rotate tires on front-wheel drive, it’s an even bigger headache to have to replace your tires sooner than expected. When you rotate your tires regularly, it helps your tires last longer, which helps save you money and keep you safe.
How many miles should tires be rotated? Experts recommend rotating your tires approximately every 3,000-6,000 miles. Having the tires rotated when you get your oil changed is a good way to save yourself some time and make sure you don’t forget this important task.
The tires on the front axle have a different purpose than the rear ones, so you’ll often notice the front and back tires have different amounts of wear. Rotating your tires helps them all to wear equally, which promotes drivability, boosts safety in inclement weather, and helps maintain the vehicle’s performance.
The Short Answer: Tire Rotation Made Simple
Learning how to rotate tires on front-wheel drive can be an easy process if you have the know-how and the tools to get you going. We recommend a rotation pattern called a rearward cross for front-wheel drive vehicles.
Aside from that, the steps for rotating your tires are similar for a front-wheel drive car as they are for any other vehicle. First, take the time to make sure your vehicle is secured to prevent it from rolling away during the rotation. After that, loosen the nuts and then jack up the car. Learn how to rotate your tires with one jack.
Place the stands under the vehicle for extra support and remove the jack. Then it’s time to rotate your tires. When you’re done, lower your car back to the ground. Once the tires are back on, remember to not over-tighten the nuts, which can strip the threading.
Getting Started with Front-Wheel Drive Tire Rotation
Before you’re ready to rotate your tires, an essential part of the process is to make sure you have the proper equipment.
- The first thing you will need is a jack. Most vehicles come with a standard one for roadside emergencies. If you plan on doing regular maintenance on your car, you may want to consider getting a heavier version for long-term use.
- Jack stands are helpful safety options for extra security when you are working on your vehicle. They come in different sizes, so make sure you get the right one for your car.
- You’ll need a lug wrench or torque wrench for loosening and tightening the nuts on the wheel.
- Also, have your owner’s manual handy for specifics about your vehicle’s wheel and tire information.
Before you get started, determine the kind of tires you have. Are the tires directional or non-directional?
The difference is that directional tires have grooves that go in the same direction in the middle of the tire. The tracks can be in the shape of a Y or a V. A non-directional tire will have left-to-right grooves.
There are three specific options for rotating tires based on what kind of vehicle you have to avoid uneven tread wear. For a front-wheel-drive car, you can use the rearward cross method.
This method means you move the front tires to the opposite back position once they are off the vehicle. For example, you would move your front right tire to the left rear, and the front left tire to the right back.
Using the correct rotation pattern for your tires will ensure proper tire wear. It will also help with the tread patterns to promote longer life in the tire.
Getting the Vehicle Ready
Ensuring your vehicle is in a safe position is a priority, so find a place to park it on flat ground. Set your emergency brake to stabilize your vehicle while working on it.
From there, taking the time to block a tire will help add to your protection. You want to loosen the lug nuts before lifting the vehicle, so you have the support of the ground for traction.
Get Your Vehicle off the Ground
Once you know your vehicle is ready, start with your owner’s manual or the manual that came with your jack. Most jacks have a standard system to follow. Be sure to inspect your car’s undercarriage and look for the frame’s metal. Use the frame for your placement so you don’t damage weaker parts of the vehicle.
Place the handle into the jack and move it up and down until you see it start to rise. When it makes contact with the car, keep going until you see a tire is off the ground. Remove the lug nuts, then the tire.
Next, raise the vehicle until you can place a jack stand safely under the car. After that, release the jack and lower the vehicle onto the stand, and repeat on the other side.
Time to Rotate
How long does it take to rotate tires? Depending on what type of tires you have, you can begin moving the tires either in the front-to-back, side-to-side, or rearward cross rotation pattern. After moving each tire, put the lug nuts back on with your fingers to get the tire stabilized. Follow up with your wrench, but hold off on tightening them completely until the car is back on the ground.
Remove the stand and lower the vehicle down, then repeat the process with each tire.
The last step is to tighten the lug nuts with your wrench. Experts suggest going in a star shape to create equal balance in how tight the lug nuts are. Following this method will ensure more safety and equal footing.
Be careful not to over-tighten the lug nuts, as this can cause the threads on the rim to move. In some cases, this can reduce the wheel’s attachment to the axel, resulting in the wheel coming off or a stud breaking away from the axel.
Doing It Right the First Time
Knowing that you can take care of your vehicle is a rewarding experience. Once you’ve learned how to rotate tires on front-wheel drive, you will rest easy knowing you have increased your vehicle’s tire and wheel longevity, which means a higher safety rating and more money in your pocket.
We hope these simple instructions have made it easier to rotate your tires on a four-wheel drive car or any vehicle. Be sure to take your time to follow all the steps listed in your owner’s manual for your vehicle’s tire and wheel specifications. While rotating your tires can be challenging the first time, practice makes perfect, and it’s a valuable skill to learn.
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