Tires play a big part in helping you save money and stay in control on the road. They cushion your weight and grip the road through various weather conditions. Most of all, they work with your brakes to help you stop when you need to.
Tires aren’t cheap and replacing them can be a costly proposition. This makes tire maintenance one of the critical things you can do to keep your vehicle in shape. Take it to a professional regularly if you can afford it, but if you’d like to save a few bucks, and improve how much you get out of your sleek unibody crossover, pay attention.
Changing the tire when it is mounted on the car is tire rotation. This is one of the easiest ways to extend the life of your tires. Front and rear tires wear differently, and with the front carrying more than 60% of the weight, thousands of miles later, you could end up with very uneven tread wear. Rotating tires equalizes these natural wear patterns by changing the positions of your tires and gives you a much smoother ride. Plus, you’ll extend the life of your tires and save money in the long term.
What Is Tire Rotation And Why Should You Do It?
Your owner’s manual should give you a good idea about the recommended tire rotation schedule for your vehicle. But in general, most manufacturers recommend that you rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or when you do an oil change.
Carjack – A reliable hydraulic floor jack will cost you about $100 initially but has many uses when it comes to DIY auto maintenance.
Jack stands – A good set of jack stands should cost you about $30 and is essential to rest the car while switching tires. Though, in a pinch, placing a cinder block underneath is enough to stop the bottom from getting scratched. Lower the jack to allow the vehicle to rest on the cinderblock and two by four, and you have a quick and free solution.
Lug nuts – Before you begin loosening lug nuts, decide what pattern you’re going to use to rotate the tires depending on many factors, but mainly whether your tires are directional or non-directional. Directional tires have directional treads, and that is optimized for the direction the tires rotate on the car – either left or right. The grooves are angled for better handling and channeling water out on wet roads. This helps avoid hydroplaning and improves wet traction.
How Often Should You Rotate Tires?
Finally, make a note of the date and mileage. Save yourself and your tires by setting a reminder to do this again after another 5,000 miles
- Be safe and keep your parking brake engaged.
- Loosen all lug nuts but don’t remove them entirely.
- Lift one wheel with the jack and put a jack stand/cinder block in place.
- Remove all tires and rotate them according to the appropriate pattern.
- Place a tire back onto the wheel mount and screw the lug nuts on by hand as much as possible.
- Lower the car from the stands. Don’t forget to tighten the lug nuts. It’s best to work the lug nuts diagonally from one to another in a star pattern. This helps even tightening and avoids accidentally warping the brake rotor.