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Thread: How often should I rotate my tires?

  1. #1
    Ridin Dirty dom's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Front Royal, VA

    How often should I rotate my tires?

    Should I do it by mileage, or time?

    Can I X-pattern rotate them?

    Does rotating tires really make them last longer?

    Do I need to get an alignment if I rotate my tires?

    "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato "
    All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    According to ancient lore, X-pattern rotation is not good for radials, which don't like to change direction. I haven't personally verified that; I just don't do it.

    Directional radials present another problem; they often wear differently on each shoulder.
    I have on occasion flipped them from side to side on the same axle. That requires demounting, and then remounting what is actually a used tire, swapping the in and out sidewalls in the process. The tire shop will refuse to guarantee that they won't break the bead. A little beer money passed directly to the tire tech will gain a little extra care in this operation. That's actually the only kind of tire rotation I do nowadays; my Camaros will wear the front outer shoulders before the front inner shoulders, so I have them swapped when they're about 3/4 used up.

    To answer an actual question, yes, tire rotation equalizes wear. Another reason why I don't do it is that I don't want to buy four tires at a time, unless there's a really steep discount for doing so. It always 'just happens' that tires in my size are hardly ever on sale. For an econobox, maybe it would make sense.

    Another reason for not rotating: Right now I'm running square shouldered tires on the back, and rounded shouldered tires on the front. I tried it the other way for a few days, but the square shoulders are really twitchy on the front; I swear they even grab the edge of paint stripes. They work fine on the rear.

    If the old tires are not worn in an odd way, and there is no reason to replace a suspension component, I won't even let an alignment tech touch the car. I try to keep track of the tire pressures, to which some cars are sensitive. This is my sixth Camaro, the fifth with 16" tires, and they all strongly preferred 34 psi front, 32 psi rear, for good performance and long wear. One psi up or down will change the wear pattern and shorten their life.

    As to when to rotate, if you insist on doing so, the most logical basis is neither time nor mileage but tread depth. Are you anal enough to measure and track that?
    Last edited by MikeHalloran; 11-16-2010 at 10:44 PM.

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