How Often Should I Get My Tires Checked?

I recently met someone who told me they didn’t know that tires rotation, like oil changes, should be performed regularly. They didn’t even know that it was a thing that should be done. This encounter got me thinking about the importance of tire rotation. 

Tire rotation is a minor-seeming task that is crucial for vehicle safety. Your engine could run fine, A/C and heating systems perfect, but if your tires aren’t well-maintained you’ll have a much more difficult time getting where you need to go. 

What is Tire Rotation

When someone says ‘its time to rotate your tires’, what they mean is it’s time to switch each tires position on your vehicle. During the process each tire is removed from its position on the vehicle and swapped with or moved to the location of another tire. 

Why is Tire Rotation Important? 

There are several advantages of rotating your tires. Tire rotation is a great opportunity for a technician to take a look at your tires and inspect them for nails, holes, or any other damage that may compromise that tire’s integrity. This is also a great time to get air pressure and tire tread checked. 

However, the main reason that routine tire rotation is important is ensure that wear is distributed evenly between all four tires. Factors like weight distribution, the type of drive a vehicle is, and braking habits can all cause uneven wear to occur. 

While uneven wear may seem like a minor problem initially, disproportionate wear can affect grip, putting you and other drivers at risk on the roads. 

Evenly distributing wear to all four tires can give you a safer ride overall and can help extend the life of your tires. 

Maintenance Schedules

Now that we understand a bit more about the importance of rotation we can move on to the importance question: How often should I get my tires rotated?

Your particular vehicle manufacturer may say something slightly different, but, generally speaking, you’ll want to have your tires rotated every 5,000 to 8,000 miles (or more or less every time you get your oil changed). 

Is there a “standard” tire rotation pattern?

The exact rotation pattern a technician may employ depends on several factors, including whether your vehicle is front-wheel, back-wheel, or all-wheel drive. Typically, though, technicians will employ a front-back swap, at the same time swapping the tires to the opposite side to help even out wear even more. 

Combining Rotation and Alignment

Getting your tires rotated is also a great time to have your vehicle’s alignment checked out as well! Getting your car realigned entails a technician adjusting the angle of how the tires meet the road and connect with the chassis. Improper alignment can lead to premature wear on tires and, if left unchecked, can cause issues with your handling.

Since alignment maintenance schedules are longer than tire rotation schedules (every two to three years) it can be easy to overlook a problem.

These are signs that you should get your alignment checked sooner rather than later:

  1. Pulling. Have you ever noticed your vehicle pulling to one side or the other while driving, even if you’re driving in a straight direction? Chances are, you have an issue with your alignment. If you notice your vehicle being pulled in either direction when the wheel is centered, it may be time to get your alignment checked. 
  2. Uneven wear. As we mentioned earlier, issues with your alignment can cause uneven, premature wear on your tires. Even if you aren’t getting your tires rotated, it’s good to keep an eye on your tread depth and take note if any tires seem like they’re wearing faster than the others. 
  3. Vibrating wheel. Alignment issues can also also cause your steering column to vibrate while driving. A vibrating wheel is typically a sign that one (or more) of your tires are unbalanced and pulling against the others. 

If it’s time to get your tires rotated, come in to Superior Auto Service of Seattle! 

Getting an oil changed? Mention this ad and get your tires rotated for free! Request an appointment today.