Rotating Tires - CarTalk column recommendation

I know that I read in a CarTalk newspaper column about a year ago that they recommended NOT rotating your tires. I searched this site but cannot find this information anywhere.

Does anyone else remember reading this or had I better go get my tires rotated as recommended in my manual for my 25,000 mile checkup?

Thanks for any help!

I think the argument is that it is not worth rotating your tires if you have to pay for the rotation.

Many places offer free tire rotations when you buy tires, which of course makes it worth it.

It’s been many years since I’ve bought tires at a place that charges for rotation. Perhaps some still do, but if so I apparently don’t patronize them.

Rotating tires gets better life out of them overall. But I agree that if you have to pay for it it isn’t worth it.

Well, since these are the original tires on my car, of course I have to pay for it! So, maybe I’ll skip it.

There aren’t too many places around here (suburban Philadelphia) that rotate tires for free. Exceptions would be a tire dealer that gives a lifetime rotation when you purchase. From personal experience, I’ve gotten noticeably more life out of tires that are rotated at every other oil change.

I figure they rotate every time I drive the car.

You get more life out of tires rotating them. If you drive a car with non-performance tires rotation can be skipped although tire life is usually shortened.

High performance tires are more likely to get ruined by lack of rotation. Also they tend to be on cars with firmer suspension that transmit imperfections more. Also performance tires tend to give a more connected feel of themselves and the road making it seem worse. I have always rotated tire but never had any car with a non high performance tire on it.

If you have a vehicle with AWD, have them rotated as per the manufacturer’s recommendations. Things can get ugly (read: expen$ive) if a great disparity in diameter develops between the front and rear tires.

Right on NYBo. What if you have an AWD SW that you never put anything in the back of- no rotation. Good chance front tires will wear more quickly than rears. How about somebody who has back deck of SW loaded to it’s max constantly- wouldn’t rears then wear faster than fronts w/no rotation? I would like to see a survey done on the average cost of a repair on a modern AWD system. Does anyone know if Tom and Ray brought this up in their column, or maybe how to retrieve column? I am still pretty “computer illiterate”. Thanks.

I found the Tom&Ray advice column mentioned by the OP. Here it is:

Rotating your tires on a regular basis will extend the life of the tires. Just make sure that you don’t pay for it and, if they are directional tires, they are not remounted in a position where they face the wrong way.

When you buy tires, you can either make sure they come with lifetime balancing and rotation, or you can pay a small per tire charge to add this feature. I think it is worth it to get them balanced and rotated every 6,000-8,000 miles, especially if you want to make them last.

I think that advice is basically sound, with a few clarifications. Are we talking about RWD, FWD, AWD, or 4WD? I drive RWD cars and don’t bother with rotations because the tires wear pretty evenly anyway and I just replace all four together before they reach minimum tread depth. With FWD, rotating the tires will probably allow you to replace all four together, if you don’t rotate them the fronts will probably have to be replaced more frequently (put the new tires on the rear if you do this). Some AWD/4FW cars are sensitive to differences in tire diameter, I would probably rotate them to have them wear evenly and them replace all four together.

I’m coming up on my second set of tires that will go over 100,000 miles. The first set on a RWD PU, no rotations and the second on a FWD car with one front to rear only rotation at 55k miles. Now how many of you guys that rotate regularly have gotten 100,000 miles out of a set.

If your so sure rotation is a good idea, why don’t you tear down your engines every 25k or so and rotate the rings and lifters? Every time you rotate your tires, they have to take a new set, and they wear faster while getting this new set.

Wow, all kinds of opinions! Thanks for the link to the article. I have no idea if my tires are directional. But I do have AWD. Now I will have to decide what to do!

I’ve never bought a hard enough set of tires to last 40K miles, and I don’t plan on doing so (I prefer traction to longevity)

If I had a AWD, I would probably rotate the tires (probably not at 5000 miles as recommended by the tire places) often enough that they are all due for replacement at the same time. That way you will be able to buy four new tires and not have any issues with uneven sizes (a problem for most AWD systems). Rotating them at 25K miles seems reasonable.

2wd pickups are much easier on tires than FWD cars. You would never get that kind of mileage on a FWD vehicle.

Comparing rotating piston rings to tire rotations is a pretty weak and illogical argument.

I have owned several pickups, and I always get better results with rotating tires. I also run mud tires on an old K5, and I get best results by rotating the tires every 3-5000 miles?that?s every oil change! Oh, and I?ve never rotated my piston rings, and it?s a 21 year old truck:)

Barring a road hazard, I expect to get well over 100,000 miles out of the tires on the FWD. I got 84k out of the first set, but they were not very good tires.

Bridgestone Turanzza’s have plenty of traction.

AWD is another story. You have to keep all the tires circumferences within a narrow range. You should invest about $2 in a tire depth gauge and check the tread depth frequently, like every oil change. Whenever the tread depth between the front tires and the rear tires is more than 1/32" different, then rotate them front to back. Don’t worry about the miles, monitor the tread depth instead. If the tires all wear at the same rate, then you won’t have to rotate them.

Don’t worry if the outer treads on the front wear more than the center treads and the center treads wear faster on the rear than the outer treads, that’s normal. If it seems excessive, then adjust your air pressure, more pressure if the edges are wearing, less if the centers are wearing. 1/32" between the centers and the outers would be ok. If it doesn’t exceed this, then don’t make any changes as changes will cause a temporary increase in tire wear. Once you find the ideal tire pressure, check often, but early in the morning before the sun has a chance to heat the tires up unevenly.

Good luck, I’ve never gotten more than about 40K out of anything with decent grip (i.e., very soft compounds) on either a FWD or RWD car, with or without rotation.