Regardless of what car or truck you drive, it is highly advisable to rotate its tires routinely. Tire rotation involves switching your tires’ position in a specific pattern, at routine intervals.
Not rotating your tires can lead to various issues due to uneven tread wear and eventually, force you to replace your tires earlier. Manufacturers recommend regular tire rotation to maximize the lifespan of your tires and enhance their performance.
What happens if you don’t rotate your tires?
Tire rotation’s key purpose is to ensure all four tires wear out uniformly. Not rotating your tires will cause one or two tires to wear quicker than the rest, thus losing tread thickness. This, in turn, can lead to a number of potential issues and even pose safety hazards:
1. Poor traction
Treads on your tires help by providing traction and grip over the surface of the road. The deeper and sharper the tread, the higher will be the traction from a tire.
Now, when you don’t rotate your tires and the tires undergoing more stress wear out quickly, they lose a great deal of tread. This results in poor traction from these tires, leading to the risk of a crash.
Especially when driving in wet or icy conditions, these tires will tend to slide due to having no grip over the surface. Ultimately, it can make your car spin out of control.
When you drive, the friction between the road and the tires generates significant heat over time. Now, although tire manufacturers keep such factors in mind and design their tires to be heat resistant, rubber is still susceptible to expanding and weakening from heat.
As long as your tires have sufficient tread left, your tires won’t usually overheat. This is because treads create a space for airflow that helps cool the tires.
Once the tread has worn out and can no longer help keep the tire cool, heat builds up. Eventually, overheating can separate the tread or cause a tire blowout.
As the tires have to support varying portions of the load depending on their positioning, one of your tires might suffer increased wear at a specific spot.
Not rotating it with other tires will further weaken this spot, making it more susceptible to damage.
Eventually, the weak spot will have little or no tread left, and can easily end up getting punctured by a nail or a shard lying on the road. In many cases, tires also blow out due to a spot wearing out too thin.
Hydroplaning refers to a situation where a vehicle’s tires travel on a thin film of water on the road, after losing all grip on the road itself. This is extremely dangerous, as it limits your ability to steer the car or even stop it by braking.
Thin tread thickness is one of the many factors that can potentially result in hydroplaning. Even if you’re using an expensive tire from one of the best brands, they can hydroplane and skim over the water once they lose too much tread.
5. Reduced performance
Your tires play a greater role behind your vehicle’s performance than you might realize. When you don’t rotate the tires and they wear out at uneven rates, it hampers the car’s performance. This includes braking, handling, and cornering issues that can negatively affect your control over the vehicle.
As you may notice, not rotating your tires is actually quite dangerous as the increased wear on the tires suffering more stress can potentially put your life at risk.
In fact, 25% of all tire-related accidents are a result of poor tread conditions. Even if it doesn’t endanger your life, you may still have to spend money replacing a tire that has worn out too much due to the lack of rotation.
How long will tires last if you don’t rotate them?
Your tires will have a much shorter lifespan if you do not rotate them, as compared to how long you could make them last by taking proper care.
It’s hard to estimate how long they will last, as different tires have varying levels of durability and damage resistance. However, we’ll use the example of an average 60,000-mile tire to give you an idea.
An average tire has a life expectancy of 60,000 miles, after which you’ll have to replace it. However, it can achieve the mileage of 60,000 miles only if you rotate it as recommended.
Not rotating your tires can reduce their lifespan by about 17%, which, in this case, would be around 10,000 miles. Thus, a tire with a potential life expectancy of 60,000 miles will actually last only around 50,000 miles if you don’t rotate it.
Is it really necessary to rotate your tires?
Although you can keep using your car without any tire rotation, that wouldn’t be a very wise choice considering the downsides of not rotating tires.
As described above, various issues could occur due to the lack of tire rotation, some of which are quite dangerous.
From this aspect, yes, rotating your tires is necessary to keep your car’s performance optimum and ensure a safer ride. In some cases, your tires’ warranty terms may require you to rotate them too.
Pros of rotating your tires
Rotating your tires properly has several key benefits that make it worth the effort. Some of the most notable advantages of tire rotation are:
1. Increased longevity
Firstly, rotating the tires will help them last longer by spreading out the wear and tear. When a specific tire undergoes more stress than the rest, it wears out much faster to the point where you have no choice but to replace it.
Thus, tire rotation will help you save the expenses and hassle of having to change your tires more often than what would have been necessary.
It will also be much safer for you to drive a car that gets its tires rotated routinely. As described above, the lack of tire rotation can lead to uneven tread wear and make your car lose traction.
This affects the car’s handling and its ability to drive safely on snowy or wet roads. Ignoring the need for tire rotations will only endanger your life.
Tire rotation is also necessary for your car to deliver optimum performance. Professional racers who participate in events like MotoGP and Formula 1 agree that a tire rotation strategy is crucial in enhancing their vehicles’ performance. The state of your tires directly impacts how well you can accelerate, brake, and turn around corners.
Are there any cons of tire rotating?
As such, there isn’t any major downside of tire rotation, apart from the time it would take. However, rotating your tires isn’t something that you have to do very often – once every 5000 to 7500 miles is usually fine.
In many cases, this will correspond with the oil change, i.e., when you are already getting the car serviced anyway. This shouldn’t be too inconvenient, and considering the perks of tire rotation, it’s definitely worth the time it takes.
Does Rotating your Tires Mess Up Alignment?
Rotating your tires will never mess up your alignment, unless you install them properly. This is why you might want to get the job done by a professional if you aren’t sure that you can do it right.
As it is advisable to get the alignment checked and fixed regularly anyway, you might as well take care of it when rotating the tires. This will help you make both monetary and time savings.
Should you rotate your tire own?
Tire rotation isn’t too complicated if you know how to do it, have the tools needed for it, and can use them. However, if you aren’t exactly familiar with removing and installing tires safely, you could damage your car or install the tires improperly.
In this case, it would be better to take your car to a garage and let a professional mechanic handle the job. While doing it yourself will help you save money, letting a professional take care of it will usually be a safer choice.
We understand that getting your car’s tires rotated might feel like a chore, but it is necessary. After all, routine rotation of the tires makes your car much safer to drive, boosts its performance, and extends the lifespan of the tires.
Different tire rotation patterns exist, such as a rearward cross, a forward cross, or an X-Pattern. While the forward cross is the most common pattern used in front-wheel drive vehicles, the X-Pattern is suitable too.
Experts recommend deploying the rearward cross pattern for rear-wheel, 4-wheel, or all-wheel drive vehicles. If you aren’t sure, you can always get help from a professional.