The aging process of your automobile components cannot be avoided. Sooner or later your car parts will succumb to the terrible effects of wear and tear. What you can do instead is reverse the effects of aging. One way to slow down the aging process of certain parts is to change tires. If you change the position of your tires from time to time, tire wear will become more even, which contributes to long-lasting rubber components. Since most of us drive every day, how often should you change tires?
What types of tire rotation are there?
Let’s have a basic understanding about tire rotation first, in case you want to do it yourself. You can’t just take your tires off and place them anywhere around the vehicle.
There are several factors you need to take seriously or else your car will move abnormally after your do-it-yourself tire change. Are your tires different sizes? Is there a spare wheel on the back of your vehicle? Do you drive a four-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive or front-wheel drive car? Finally, do you have directional or non-directional tires? That last bit is crucial for directional tires turn in one direction only.
Without further ado, here are several types of hoop rotation:
side by side
This applies to tires of different sizes. Simply put, the front tires swap positions with each other. The same goes for the rear tires.
Obviously, this type of rotation is intended for vehicles with a full-fledged spare wheel at the back. However, the samples we are going to give you are only for non-directional spare tires that are not marked for temporary use. Your spare wheel should be the same size as your four main wheels. If, despite the necessity, you decide against the five-tire rotation, your spare tire—once mounted—would have a different tread depth than the other three. The result is excessive force applied to your car’s powertrain.
If your owner’s manual doesn’t include recommended tire rotation patterns, consider the following options instead:
The forward cross pattern is for a front wheel drive vehicle. The rear tires are transferred to the front tires, but they must occupy opposite positions. Meanwhile, the front tire moves from the left to the back. It must still be on the same page. It should be left all alone. Next, the spare wheel is moved to the rear position on the right. Lastly, the front tire from the right side becomes the new spare tire.
On the other hand, the rear cross pattern is obvious for rear wheel drive. It is also applicable to four-wheel drive. The first thing to transfer is the rear tire on the left. It should move forward but still on the left side. The same applies to the right rear tire. Meanwhile, the right front tire that you removed goes onto the left rear tire. As for the spare wheel, it should be transferred to the right rear wheel. The new spare wheel is the front tire from the left side.
Regarding four-wheel drive and rear-wheel drive cars that have non-directional tires of exactly the same size, a rear-facing cross is an ideal pattern. The rear tires are simply transferred to the front section while keeping their side. Meanwhile, the front tires move backwards, but on opposite sides.
This pattern is ideal for front wheel drive cars. The front tires are simply moved to the rear position without going to opposite sides. As for the rear tires, they are transferred forward while occupying opposite sides.
An alternative to the forward cross, the X pattern differs from the previous one only in that all tires from the front and rear go to opposite sides. No tire follows a straight direction this time.
From the front to the back
The simplest for last, the front-to-back pattern is primarily for directional tires of the same size. Without criss-crossing, the front tires simply move backwards while the rear tires obviously take the front of the vehicle with them.
How often should you change tires?
Some experts recommend changing tires at least once a year, on the same day as your oil maintenance schedule. To be more specific, changing your tires twice a year is highly recommended if you change your oil every six months or 7,500 miles. Some cars can go as much as 15,000 miles before needing an oil change, but that mileage is a long wait to spin your tires. To determine the interval more precisely, consult your owner’s manual.
How is tire rotation performed?
Tire rotation is one of the maintenance activities that you can absolutely do in your own home. As long as you know how to use shop tools and how to remove and install tires, you can definitely make a successful tire change. Here is a quick guide to turning tires:
Prepare the vehicle.
Make sure the work area is completely level. Then apply the parking brake. Finally, prepare large pieces of wood so that you can block the wheels that have not yet been lifted.
Remove wheel caps.
Before jacking up the vehicle, use a flathead screwdriver to remove the wheel caps to expose the wheel nuts. Next, loosen the wheel nuts with a wheel wrench. Remember, just loosen the nuts – do not remove them yet.
Raise the vehicle.
In order to successfully perform a full tire spin, the car must be completely off the ground. This is only possible if you have several jack stands, preferably four. If you only have two stands you really need to plan your pattern first and raise the car step by step.
Spin the hoops.
When you’re finally ready to spin your tires, it’s time to remove the lug nuts from the first tire. Then remove the tire. Place it next to its new location while removing the existing tire there. This initiative prevents confusion when following the pattern. When you mount the new tire, simply tighten it by hand. Do the same process for the next hoop and so on.
Lower the vehicle.
Raise the car a little more with the jack so you can remove the stands. Then lower the car. Do this gradually as the car has been completely lifted off the ground.
Reinstall the hubcaps.
Finally, to tighten the tires even more, reinstall the hubcaps and tighten the lug nuts with a lug wrench. Check the air pressure in all tires before using your car again.
Again, how often should you change tires? The standard is at least once a year, but changing your tires twice a year is highly recommended if you change your oil every six months or 7,500 miles.
For additional knowledge about tires, find out how long they typically last! Also check out the best all-season tires to help your car survive most road conditions.