Tire Rotation Overview: Why and When to Do It

April 23, 2024
A car parked in the snow.

Keeping your tires in good condition can be the difference between a safe ride and an accident. If your tires wear or get misaligned over time, this can lead to a more dangerous ride. That’s why it’s important to get your tires serviced so they can be rotated and wear more evenly. [1]

What is tire rotation?

Rotating your tires means changing the location of each tire on the car periodically to promote more even wear on the tire tread. Check with your vehicle manufacturer to see the recommended amount of time you should wait to rotate your tires. For many, it’s every time you get your oil changed. [2]

Types of tire rotation patterns

There are a few ways you can rotate your tires, and these can vary based on the drive layout. The various tire rotations are:

  1. FWD: Easy and straightforward, the front tires move to the rear and the rear tires move to the front.
  2. RWD: Your rear tires move directly forward and the front tires crisscross to the opposite rear corners.
  3. AWD: The tires crisscross, meaning the front left moves to the rear right while the front right moves to the rear left.
  4. Directional: If your tires are directional, the front and rear tires stay on the same side and swap places. The tires must be removed from the wheel and flipped, so that the grooves are pointing in the right direction.
  5. Staggered and directional: If you have directional tires that are staggered, the tires just rotate from one side to the other. [3]

Why is tire rotation important?

Tire rotation helps keep the tread of your tires even, which helps maintain traction on the road. It also protects your tires against blowouts because all 4 tires are wearing out at a safe, similar rate. If one of your tires is wearing out faster than the others, this can cause a bumpy ride. Regular rotations can help keep your ride smooth. Maintaining even tread wear helps reduce drag and prevents engine strain, which helps maintain better fuel economy. [4]

What happens if you don’t rotate your tires?

Failing to rotate your tires can lead to uneven wear. This can affect how your car handles and also how long your tires last. In the worst case, if your tire is worn out, it can rupture while driving, which can be very dangerous and lead to an accident. [3]

How often should you get tires rotated?

The main rule of thumb to follow is to rotate your tires about every 5,000 to 8,000 miles. It’s a relatively easy procedure that will help extend the longevity of your tires and improve fuel economy. [5]

Signs you may need to get your tires rotated

If you think that it might be time to rotate your tires, look for these telltale signs:

  • Check the mileage: If it’s been 5,000 to 8,000 miles since your last oil change, it might be time to take your vehicle to a professional.
  • Tire pressure: If a tire is losing air pressure, this could be due to the extra pressure it’s under from uneven weight distribution across the tires.
  • Uneven wear: If you notice that one tire is more worn out than the others, you may need to rotate or replace those tires.
  • Vibrating: If you notice your car shaking while driving, especially at high speeds, this could mean it’s time for a tire rotation or other service. [6]

How much does tire rotation cost?

The cost of getting your tires rotated varies. Many tire shops give you free rotations if you’ve purchased your tires from them. However, higher-end vehicles may require specialized professional attention and time to ensure the tires are properly rotated. [7]

Make sure to look for the signs that a tire rotation is needed and take your car in to get your tires rotated to maintain a safe and smooth ride. Also, make sure that you and your car are protected with the right insurance for you.


[1] “4 Reasons Why Tire Alignment and Rotation Are Important,” Oxmoor Toyota, oxmoortoyota.com/blog/4-reasons-why-tire-alignment-and-rotation-are-important (Accessed January 2024).

[2] “Tire Rotation: How and Why to Rotate Your Tires,” bridgestonetire.com/learn/maintenance/tire-rotation (Accessed January 2024).

[3] “Tire Rotation: Why It’s Important & How It Works,” Nick Kurczewski, carfax.com/blog/tire-rotation (Accessed January 2024).

[4] “What is Tire Rotation & How Does it Help My Car?” cornerstonechevrolet.com/service/service-and-parts-tips/what-is-tire-rotation-and-how-does-it-help-my-car (Accessed January 2024).

[5] “What’s the difference between tire rotation and wheel alignment?” zappysautowashes.com/blogs/news/whats-the-difference-between-tire-rotation-and-wheel-alignment (Accessed January 2024).

[6] “Everything You Need To Know About Tire Rotation,” Naylor’s Auto Repair, naylorsautorepairidaho.com/blog/everything-you-need-know-about-tire-rotation (Accessed January 2024).

[7] “How Much Does It Cost For Tire Rotation,” John Goreham, cartalk.com/car-owning/how-much-does-it-cost-for-tire-rotation (Accessed January 2024).


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