Rotation can increase your tire life

Rotate your tires for longer life. The life I'm talking about is YOURS, not your tire's

Tires subject to regular rotation can last up to 20% longer

Even though tire dealers will frequently offer free rotation for their customers, this is a benefit which is far under used.  I know that the dealer I was trained by offered this free benefit because they hoped to get extra business from the problems which generally become obvious if tires are inspected regularly. 

I think that most people avoid this free service because they don't like the surprise of being told that they need to pay for some service that they didn't know they needed and they mistakenly believe that what they loose in shorter tire life is made up by lower repair costs on their car.

This may be true, but because tires are the only things which allow you to safely control your vehicle, I consider the risk of having a dangerous tire defect remaining undetected as too high a price to pay for saving a few dollars on maintenance.

In the end, this is something you'll have to decide for yourself, but be informed so that you at least know what risks you are taking if you choose to ignore the recommendations of experts. 

The Rubber Manufacturer's Association (RMA) lists rotation as the third most important factor in caring for tires.  It is the third in their list of recommended practices which they list as PART.

The purpose of rotation

The purpose of regular tire rotation is to produce a more even wear for all tires on a vehicle.

Before rotating your tires, check your vehicle owner's manual for rotation recommendations. If no rotation period is specified, tires should be rotated approximately every 6,000 miles, or sooner -- especially if signs of irregular or uneven tire wear are evident. Have the vehicle checked by a qualified technician to determine the cause of the wear problem. The first tire rotation is the most important.

irregular tire wear

Sometimes irregular tire wear can be corrected by tire rotation. Consult your car owner's manual, the tire manufacturer or your tire dealer for the appropriate pattern for your vehicle.  The illustration below gives some patterns which are common.

rotation guide
Tire rotation patterns

If your tires show evidence of uneven wear, ask your tire dealer to check for and correct any misalignment, imbalance or other mechanical problem involved before rotation.  If you don't you may be compounding the problem.

Sometimes front and rear tires on a vehicle have different inflation pressures. After rotation, adjust individual tire's air pressure to the amount recommended by the vehicle manufacturer for the tire's new position.

Do not include a spare tire designed for "Temporary Use Only" in any rotation pattern.

If you have a matching full-size tire as a spare and wish to include it in the rotation process, use one of the patterns shown. Insert the spare in the right rear position and place the tire that would have gone on the right rear in the trunk as the new spare.


Some tires cannot be rotated in a standard pattern. These tires include uni-directional tires and tires with asymmetric tread designs. Also, some vehicles may have different-sized tires mounted on the front and rear axles, and these different-sized tires also have rotation restrictions. Check your owner's manual, or with your tire dealer or tire manufacturer, for the proper rotation recommendations in these cases.

This, gauge from, is one of the nicest of the new breed of easy-to-use Tire Gauges which I've seen around.


Other useful links

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