DIY Car Maintenance:
Rotating your Tires

To keep your tires in great shape, regular tire rotation is important. Because your front tires carry about 60% of your vehicle’s weight, they wear more quickly than your rear tires. Turning is also a wear and tear culprit for the front tires. By rotating your tires you will even out the tread wear that comes with daily driving, prolonging the life of your tires.

At Home Tire Rotation

Typically tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles. Your owner's manual may also have a recommended tire rotation schedule.

Time Requirement: 20 to 30 minutes

Materials Needed:

Rotation Pattern

Before you start taking the tires off your vehicle, you need to establish the pattern you’re going to use to rotate your tires. The rotation pattern depends on if your vehicle has directional or non- directional tires.

Directional Tires

Directional tires have tread that goes one way. This type of tire has grooves that are designed to channel water and other road debris outward, improving handling. If you have directional tires, you should rotate your tires in a front to rear rotation pattern, because you cannot switch the driver’s side and passenger’s side tires. Small arrows or triangles on your sidewall will indicate which way the tire is supposed to turn.

Non-Directional Tires

Directional tires have tread that goes one way. This type of tire has grooves that are designed to channel water and other road debris outward, improving handling. If you have directional tires, you should rotate your tires in a front to rear rotation pattern, because you cannot switch the driver’s side and passenger’s side tires. Small arrows or triangles on your sidewall will indicate which way the tire is supposed to turn.

  •  If you have rear wheel drive, move the front tires to the opposite side of the rear – left-front to right-rear, and right-front to left-rear. The rear tires are moved straight forward.
  •  If you have front wheel drive, do the opposite. So your rear tires get moved to the opposite sides of the front, and move the front tires straight back.

How to Rotate your Tires

Before starting, engage the parking brake for added safety, and make sure you’re working on a flat surface.

Loosen the Lug Nuts

Loosen the lug nuts on each wheel. Don’t take them completely off yet, but by loosening them at the start, you will have a much easier time getting them off when the car is elevated.

Use your Car Jack and Jack Stand to Elevate the Car

Use an automotive car jack and jack stand to raise your vehicle. Depending on how many jacks you have, you can either lift your entire vehicle off the ground, or you can go one by one. Consult your owner's manual to determine the proper placement of the jack.

Remove and Rotate the Tires

Remove the tires and rotate them according to the correct pattern for your tire type. When you place the tire on the new wheel mount, screw the lug nuts on by hand as much as you can.

Lower your Vehicle

With your jack, raise your vehicle up off the jack stand until you can safely remove the stand, then lower your car back down. Make sure you have tightened the lug nuts by hand before doing this.

Use your Lug Wrench

Once your vehicle is on the floor, take your lug wrench and fully tighten the lug nuts. The best way to do this is to tighten diagonally, in a star pattern, to ensure even tightening. If you tighten them unevenly, you run the risk of warping the brake rotor.

This is also an ideal time to check the tire pressure, and add air if needed. When you're done, mark the mileage and repeat this process every 5,000 miles to ensure your tires stay in excellent shape.