Frequent tire rotation

Toyota wants my new car in every 5000 miles. They don’t want to change the oil then (another thread), but they want to look under the hood and
ROTATE THE TIRES EVERY 5000 MILES. That really seems excessive to me. I’ve never done that–rotated tires maybe once or twice during their life, and everything seemed OK. I’ll probably stop that when it’s not free.

  1. Anyone think they have the right idea?
  2. Could simply not doing this rotation somehow void my warranty? (it’s on their required service list).

In the old days, tires got rotated every other oil change, or every 6000 miles, which falls right in line with tire manufacturer recommendations (every 6 to 8k miles). Now that oil changes can go 7-10,000 miles, the tires wear too unevenly if you wait 20k miles to rotate them. :wink: If your oil change interval turns out to be 7-8k miles, I think it would be fine to just rotate the tires every oil change.

No effect on warranty.

Rotate at oil changes or when you feel like it…

For the first time ever I decided to not rotate the recent set of Yokohama tires on my wife’s 2005 Subaru since I despise them. The 60k rated tires have all worn evenly however have grown a bit loud at 48k. I presume the rotation would help this as they were silent before.

While they are doing it free, its OK. The 5000 mile rotation was based on tires lasting 20k miles back in the bias ply days. That gave each tire one time at each corner of the car. If the spare was included, that gave a total of 25k miles for a set of 5 tires.

Todays tires last anywhere from 50 to 100k per set, spare not included in the rotation so I think 5k is a little excessive. It has taken a long time for some of use to get off the 3k oil change interval and accept 5k, 7.5k or 10k intervals. We seem to still be stuck on the 5k rotation though.

The only warrantee that you will void if you don’t rotate is the tire life guarantee. If the tire is guaranteed for 80k miles and you don’t rotate on schedule, the tire manufacturer will not honer the guarantee if the tires wear out sooner. It will not affect any road hazard guarantees or the vehicle warrantee.

One exception is if you have all wheel drive. With all wheel drive, the rolling circumference of the four tires must match within some specified measurement, something like 1/4" or so. Because the front tires wear at a different rate than the rear tires, if you fail to rotate and the difference in the circumference of the tires exceeds this amount, any damage to the transfer case or differentials will not be covered by the warrantee.

Cars with traction control can also be affected by any differences, even if they are not AWD, but I think the tolerance is greater, but I don’t know for sure. I have not seen a spec for this.

As always, The Devil is in the Details, and in this case the detail regarding the actual Toyota model is missing.

So…if the car in question is a Toyota with front wheel drive, then a 5k rotation is not essential–although it would probably be a good idea. If not on a 5k schedule, then certainly they should be rotated by 7.5k or–at the latest–10k. If you wait longer than 10k, then you might as well not even rotate them, IMHO.

On the other hand, if the OP’s mystery Toyota is a Rav-4, or a Highlander, or any other AWD/4WD model, then–yes–he does need to have the tires rotated on the schedule dictated by the mfr.

If you have a FWD car, letting it go too long will result in overly worn front tires, and you wouldn’t want to rotate them to the back. Somewhere between 5000 to 10,000 miles is probably about right.

Not only do the front tires on a FWD wear faster, but the rears tend to develop irregular wear. If you wait too long to rotate the tires, then the irregular wear tends to accumulate, eventually causing noise and vibrations.

andrewRA said: “… The 60k rated tires have all worn evenly however have grown a bit loud at 48k. I presume the rotation would help this as they were silent before…”

Actually, they didn’t wear evenly. They wore irregularly, and the cause was misalignment - and by misalignment, I don’t mean “out of spec”. Not only do tires wear irregularly when barely “in spec” (it only takes longer), some alignment specs aren’t set up for good tire wear - they are sometimes set up for good handling.

As long as it’s still free then I’d make the appointments. Free coffee, a couple of doughnuts or a muffin, a little quiet time paging through a few mags.

If a salesman walks over to give you a sales pitch, just look up at him in confusion and babble some gibberish. This technique also works on, Jehovah Witness people.


I rotate tires twice a year when I mount the winter tires and then take them off again in the spring. I use small stickers to designate where the tire was last mounted.

If I lived in a no-winter area, I would go with the manufacturer’s recommendation and go 8000 miles or so before rotating them.

I cannot vouch for “not rotating tires regularly” as we have always done it. One thing is for sure, our fwd cars were much more sensitive to late rotations then AWD and rwd cars and trucks. The absolute best were the two AWD Subarus we had. So, if I had a fwd car, I would err on the side of 5k miles and feel easier about stretching them out for other drive trains.

Dealers love to see you every 5K miles. It gives them more opportunity to get money out of your pocket.

About the only downside to rotating the tires frequently – besides that dealers sometimes tend to use these appointments for revenue purposes – is that they foul up something in the process. Like overtightening the lugs and warping the brake rotors. Or just so tight you can’t get them off if you get a flat tire. Or so loose the wheel wobbles.

So were I in this situation I’d have the tires rotated at 5k, refuse any extra-cost ideas they propose, and after the job is done I’d check the lugs in my driveway with a torque wrench to make sure they aren’t over or under tightened.

+1 to Joe’s post.

Personally, I prefer to not rotate tires unless the wear difference between the front set and the rear set is becoming obvious. I feel rotating tires masks possible problems and, if a problem does develop, can make determining where it came from more difficult. Typically I’ll rotate the set once, half way through the tire life. “Tire life” to me is about 80% of the total usable tread (above the wear bars), so the tires get rotated (front to back only) when about40% of the usable tread is worn off. Since on my car the front tires wear about twice as fast as the rears, it works out well.

I should add that I’m also OCD about monitoring wear for any anomalies. If any irregular wear begins, I want to know immediately and correct the cause.

I emphasize that this is a highly personal choice and may not be a good one for those with actual lives. But I got nothin’ better to do than monitor my car’s condition. For me it works well. Of course, it that blond were to accept my offer my plan would go all to heck… {:smiley:

On my FWD car I now do the first rotation at 5K, then every 10K after.

We still don’t know whether the OP is talking about a FWD vehicle, or one with AWD.
That makes for a significant difference as to whether failure to rotate tires will have a bearing on warranty coverage.