Rotating Tires

I was kind of shocked when I read about the advice to the father of a 24 year old woman about safely rotating her tires. I don’t think there’s anything safe about a novice putting an entire car on jack stands and removing all four tires. I’ve been rotating my tires for 40 years and I would never do that. My method takes a little longer but is nearly risk free. If I’m rotating front to back or side to side, I only put two wheels on jack stands. If I’m rotating diagonally it takes a little longer because I use the spare and have to jack one wheel twice, but there’s almost no danger. There’s no way I would advise my daughter to put her entire car on stands.

Better yet, for her (and most folks) just have a shop do it.

I hear you. But I would advise your daughter to buy tires at Tire Wharehouse or the like that rotates tires as part fof a hazard package.

Rotating tires can be very hazardous for a novice. I normally recommend they have it done by a capable shop for about $35. I just rotated my tires and put on the winter tires as well. I have a 2 ton Black Jack hydraulic jack from Costco ($99). I do one wheel at the time and the whole process takes about 35 minutes.

Rotating tires without winter tires is more difficult of course. But doing it 2 wheels at the time using the temp spare makes sense.

For those with only summer tires, Costco and a number of other shops have free lifetime rotation. I don’t use Costco because they want $50 or so to change the winter tires over.

I’ve been putting cars and trucks on 4 jack stands for 40 years with no incident whatsoever. Jack from the pinch weld or frame rail at the side on FLAT pavement. A jackstand under the pinch welds inside the wheelbase at the manufacturer’s indicated point or under a suspension mounting bracket. Combine with a good shove before you get under it to insure it is solid. She needs a little supervision for the first couple of times but she’ll be fine. Teach her how to check the brakes while she’s there and do an oil change, too.

I can think of a million other (and safer) ways to save 20 bucks which is what the shop I deal with charges for this service.

I don’t see much a safety issue between one, two, or 4 jack stands. Either the car is properly jacked and hoisted or not. I don’t see anything inherently dangerous about a car that is on 4 quality jack stands, with the stands properly located under the car, located on a flat clean concrete floor.

Notice all the qualifiers there. Now, a car on mismatched stands on a sloped gravel driveway…

As long as the car is level and properly supported on good jackstands I don’t see a problem with them although my preference is to leave a jack or two in place.

If anyone follows the BBC show Top Gear and saw the episode about the 3 hosts putting a Caterham together from scratch, that show also presented the car falling off the stands and which may or may not have been part of the schtick.
I believe those stands in use were the stamped steel type and it was also stated in another segment that the floor was not level.

I can rotate tires with a single jack stand and a jack.

Place the jack stand under any corner and remove the tire, then jack the corner where that tire goes and replace the tire there . Then go to the next one. at the end you’ll be back to the corner with the jack stand. Put the car back on the ground THEN torque the wheel nuts.

If the jack stand is placed properly, it doesn’t matter whether it is one, 2, 3, or 4 - it’s safe.

There’s not one place I know that sells tires that doesn’t offer free rotation. I buy from a small place in Nashua NH. Literally a small 3 bay place in a building that’s well over 150 years old. And even this place offers free rotation. All the big chains do (but I don’t trust them).

My family has had no problems using Discount Tire for the rotations included in the warranty. Usually we just pull in and they put the car on the lift, do the rotation, and we drive off. Just a little bit of paperwork. Most tire chains around here include rotation as part of the warranty.

I generally rotate my own tires and never use jack stands at all. I just use the spare and take one off at a time. I like doing it myself because it is a chance to clean the inside of the wheels as well as take a look at the brakes. I just can’t see using jack stands to put two wheels up at a time when you can do it in about 45 minutes normally including wheel cleaning.

I don’t rotate my tires very often, like only once per set on FWD, none on RWD and when I do rotate I only do front to back, I don’t switch sides. For this, I find a spot that I can jack using a floor jack that lifts both tires on one side of the car.

I also don’t bother with jack stands for this because I am not going under the car.