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Everything you need to know about tire rotation
You have new top-of-the line tires, you have officially completed the tire break- in period and you check your tire inflation pressure monthly throughout the year and weekly in the winter. You have covered all of the bases for essential tire maintenance, right? You are close, but there is one more critical step to get the most from your tires. You also need to have your tires rotated on a regular basis to achieve the smoothest and most cost-effective ride.
VIP specializes in tire rotation and alignment, and even offers you free tire rotations and tire rebalancing for the life of tires when you buy them from us through our Lifetime Tire and Alignment package. When you rotate your tires, you ensure that you have the most even distribution of wear and tear. If you don’t complete this process, you may find that certain tires need to be replaced much more quickly or often, costing you more money in the long run. At VIP, we want to make sure that you get the most from your investment, and you have the information you need on how to rotate your tires.
Why you need to focus on tire rotation
When it comes to tires, their position on your vehicle is not equal. More specifically, your front tires take on most of the work. These front tires hold about 60 percent of the vehicle’s weight, are responsible for almost 80 percent of the vehicle’s braking, and are in charge of steering. Additionally, the front right tire takes on even more demands. In our daily driving, we tend to take left-hand turns at higher speeds, further putting pressure on the front-right tire. Additionally, our right-side tires tend to get the brunt of curb collisions and coming into contact with road hazards. With all of these factors combined, you can see why our front tires (most notably the right side) can wear out more quickly than our rear tires.
If you want to inspect your tires for wear and tear, take a look at your tread. Tread depth can be a great indicator of your tire health, and can often illustrate the need for tire rotations, or even tire replacements. Treads are the grooves on your tire that are responsible for wicking away rain, snow, and ice, so your vehicle can maintain its firm contact with the road. Legally, your tread needs to be at least 1/16th of an inch. A “Penny Test” can help you measure this. When you put a penny into your trend, is Lincoln’s head covered? If so, you are fine. If not, you don’t have enough tread on your tires. However, if you technically have enough tread but notice some significant wear and tear differences between your front and rear tires, you may be in need of a tire rotation. This tire rotation will bring the gently used rear tires up front, and place the front tires in the back, extendeding the life of your tire.
However, it is important to note that lack of tread may sometimes result in replacement. If you don’t rotate your tires as often as needed, you may notice that your front tires in particular may have a “TWI” and an arrow that become visible. This means that you need a tire replacement, since this level of tread is unsafe to drive with. Unless the tire is replaced, you could run the risk of tire explosion. Luckily, tire rotation helps you avoid this dangerous and costly situation.
How often to rotate tires
Typically, you should have your tires rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles. Even if the tires look fine, or pass the “Penny Test” with flying colors, you still should follow these guidelines to ensure your tire safety and driving performance.
Many vehicle owner manuals have specific recommendations about tire rotation. For example, it may state that the driver should complete a “cross-rotation” (front tires moved to the opposite sides of the rear, and the rears moved straight forward) every 5,000 miles. Tire rotation like this simply ensures that every tire lives on every spot of the vehicle at some point, to even out the driving wear and tear. It is important to note that some tires will require tire rotation to preserve the validity of the manufacturers’ warranty.
It may be difficult to remember how often to rotate tires, since it is easy to lose track of 3,000 to 5,000 miles. This is why many people have their tires rotated at oil changes, since the vehicle is most likely already in the shop. This is also an ideal time to do a quick health inspection of your tires. Take the time to check out your tread depth, look for any tire damage, and check your tire inflation pressure.
How to do a tire rotation
Since tire rotation is labor intensive and requires compliance of specific guidelines, most people rely on a professional shop. At VIP, our ASE certified technicians are available to complete your tire rotation for you, even on Sundays.
Why is a professional needed for tire rotations? While it’s pretty simple to remove the wheels with an air-powered impact wrench, you can’t use this same tool to tighten the bolts or wheel nuts since they will be too tight. A torque wrench, mapped to the manufacturer’s recommended settings, should be used instead for this process. Professional technicians are well versed in these specific settings.
At VIP, we’ll also make sure your tires are at their proper pressure levels. Sometimes vehicle manufacturers have guidelines for “differential tire pressures” to reflect the different roles that each tire plays (i.e. the front tires take on the bulk of weight and braking) on the vehicle. Once you rotate your tires to different positions on the vehicle, it is essential to make sure that the tire pressures also change as needed. There also tends to be some nuances between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive vehicles and the wear and tear between tires, so rely on a professional to make sure you’re getting exactly what you need to extend the life of your tires.
While tire rotation cannot fix problems attributed to tire inflation pressure issues or worn/damaged mechanical parts, it can help maintain your traction and vehicle handling when you follow the recommended rotation schedule. If you really want to ensure tire longevity and performance, it is typically recommended that you buy all four of your tires at the same time. This will ensure that all four tires that have the same technology and will wear at the same time, further boosting your handling capabilities.
Let VIP handle your tire rotation
When you have your tires rotated, you save money. If you wear down your front tires without proper tire rotation, you’ll find yourself constantly buying new tires, and that can get pretty pricy. At VIP, we offer many different services that save you money and boost vehicle performance, including tire rotation. We offer our customers our VIP 30 Day Ride Guarantee our VIP Road Hazard Replacement Guarantee and our 200% Low Price Tire Guarantee, making us a smart choice for all your vehicle needs. Whether it’s new products, new tires, or smart strategies for your existing parts, VIP has you covered. Call or visit VIP today!