Tires seem to be the most neglected part on a car. If proper maintenance isn’t given to tires, you can find yourself forking over some serious dough replacing them more often then you should. Tire rotation is an important part of proper tire care. Most people take their cars in to shops and pay up to $20 for this simple 15 minute job. Today we’ll discuss why tire rotation is important and how you can do it yourself to save some money.
Why rotate your tires?
Tire rotation means changing where individual tires are mounted on the vehicle. Different tires wear differently because they carry different loads and face different road conditions. For example, the front tires carry about 60 percent of the car’s weight. So, the front tires are going to wear much more quickly than the rear tires. To make those front tires last longer, we need switch them with the rear tires to give them a break.
How often should you rotate tires?
Check your car’s owner’s manual for the recommend tire rotation schedule. If the manual doesn’t give you a recommendation, shoot to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles.
How do you rotate tires?
Rotating tires isn’t very difficult. Think of it as changing a spare tire on each wheel.
You’ll need jack stands to do this. Jack stands allow you to keep your car elevated while you switch the tires out. If you look around you can find jack stands for about the same price you would spend on one tire rotation at a shop.
- Loosen the lug nuts on all your wheels. You don’t want to take them completely off yet. This will make unscrewing them when the car is elevated much easier.
- Use a car jack to lift up the car and place a jack stand under both the rear and front axels.
- Take off the lug nuts and put them in a safe place.
- Now the rotating begins. There are different recommendations of how you should rotate your tires. Some professionals recommend you switch the front tires to the rear, keeping the tires on the same side. Other professionals recommend the “cross rotation” in which the front tires are moved to the opposite sides of the rear, right-front to left-rear and left-front to right rear and the rears are moved straight forward. Give your dealer a call for what they recommend on your particular car.
- After you rotated the tires, screw the lug nuts on by hand as much as you can and then with the lug wrench as much as you can.
- Lower the car from the jack stands. Take the lug wrench and tighten the nuts even more. It’s best to work in the lug nuts diagonally from one to another. It looks like a star pattern. It allows the nuts to screw in better.
- You’re done. Now go drink your favorite cold beverage.
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[tags]car maintenance, tires, frugality[/tags]