Rotating Tires


#1

I have had a 2005 Legacy wagon with some Yoko tires for the last 30k miles. I dislike them as they have poor winter traction.

I have to pay our mechanic for rotations($40) so my wife apparently passed on it last 30k miles.

They have worn evenly according to my tire pressure/depth guauge. Should I bother or even bother in the future?


#2

in my non expert opinion, I think the need varies depending on the vehicle


#3

I assume this is one of those cars where the tire circumferences need to match within a certain allowance to prevent drivetrain damage. If you’re certain that you’re measuring the tread depth accurately, then I guess you can skip the rotations, but doing them seems like the safer way to go.

You may be aware of this, but you should research your next set of tires on Tire Rack’s web site. They have lots of reviews and survey results worth reading.


#4

I never rotate my tires unless I see some early signs of wear. My tires generally wear very evenly and I rejected routine tire rotation about 30 years ago. Most of my vehicles are either RWD or FWD because I never buy AWD or 4WD vehicles.


#5

I rotate my tires once when they’re about half worn out. I do a same side front to back rotation. I drive only front wheel drive nowadays. They do wear out somewhat faster on the front due to weight distribution and the stress of cornering on the front tires.


#6

yeah my tires wear evenly and the front ones slightly faster. I tend to buy two tires at a time and keep the best tires in front


#7

I rotate my tires every oil change, which is every 5000 miles for me

I’m putting the car on jack stands anyways, for access. Not much more work to rotate the tires

It’s worked for me. My tires have worn evenly, and I’ve gotten good usage out of them

When I buy tires, I replace the whole set at the same time


#8

wesw - Do a web search and you will find tests showing that if you only replace two tires at a time it is recommended that they go on the rear of the vehicle no matter which are the driven wheels. Most tire shops will make you sign a waiver form if you insist putting them on the front. A major lawsuit in Texas was about this issue.


#9

I m aware but I like my best tires on the front. they get more abuse in my opinion and have to withstand more different forces. this is rear wheel drive I m talking about. I can control a vehicle if the back wheel lose grip, if the front wheels lose grip there is not much you can do.
I also am aware that it is said that its better to get a flat on the front, but I disagree, at least for the vehicles I ve driven, work vans and pickups and this jeep I have now, I would rather lose a back tire on these as a front tire going flat would make it easier to roll over. especially this lifted jeep and the work vans

just my preference because of my driving skillset and experience


#10

I agree with wesw on this one. I’ve seen these videos. They show a car being driven in heavy rain conditions at speeds way too fast for the conditions then turning and spinning out. I’ll agree that having the better tires in the back would help in this situation. The difference is I have the sense too slow down and not corner hard in these conditions. Some people don’t have the sense to slow down in these conditions. If you are going straight ahead the front tires are clearing a path for the rear tires. I would think this would be very beneficial. The percentage of time I drive in these conditions is very small. The rest of the time I would rather have the newer, more structurally sound tires on the front.


#11

My advice would be to just leave them be.

Thinking varies on which tires should go on the front but I agree with wesw about the best tires going on the front. The only thing I worry about is hydroplaning on wet roads so I prefer the deepest grooves on the front and prefer the rears (if worn more) to follow in the path of the fronts which are shunting water aside and removing the water displacement angle from the worn rears.

If a tire is skidding sideways due to loss of control I fail to see how tread depth matters on the rear. Carrying it on out a bit, a pair of drag slicks might work best on the rear in a slide… :slight_smile:


#12

I’ve seen the videos, read the analysis, and after years of debate still remain unsure of the “best tires on the rear” theory. Wes, 2-cents, and OK4450 have described my reasons perfectly. And I believe it’ll vary depending on the vehicle. On pickup trucks, the rear ends (on some) are very light, the weight distribution highly rear-biased, and the rear end occasionally has to carry loads, so it would seem ridiculous to me to NOT put the good tires on eth rear, yet on Corollas and such the thinking of the three aforementioned posters reflects my own exactly.

Personally, on my car, I prefer the good tires on the front. In this litigious society, I can understand why many shop policies require the better tires on the rear. I could elaborate on what I think of the tort law system, but that’d be straying too far from the subject.

I think tire rotation is oversold. It does allow tires to wear out in sets of four, but it can also mask irregular wear causes. However, the OP has a Subie, and on those cars rotating makes more sense because of their design weakness (my opinion only) of Xfer cases prone to failure from what should be considered a condition within the normal scope of how a car is used.

To the OP I say you have no problem, I commend you on your attention to your vehicle, and you can sleep soundly.

A tire tread depth gage is dirt-cheap, and it’s worth the few bucks to help you feel better. You may want to spring for one. I have a friend who just had two new tires put on a Corolla, and the tire gage was worth every penny just to be able to show her that all the fears that some of her well-meaning family members had scared her with were bogus. The difference between the new tires and the other two (just installed last fall) was within the interpolation range of the gage, within normal variation of any tread.


#13

I rotate I dunno every 5,6,7,000, whenever I feel like it. I do it myself so that I can clean the insides of the wheels at the same time. I also am unconvinced, although I used to prefer the new tires on the front, you folks convinced me they should go on the back. Still unsure, I just get all four instead. Ice, snow, rain, sometimes I’ve appreciated the better tires on the front pulling me along on ice or deep snow.


#14

The front tires on a FWD vehicle really do have to deal with a lot more and still maintain traction. They have acceleration and deceleration forces, lateral forces while turning, the inclination of the steering angle (SAI) and caster, which during turns change the way the tire interfaces with the tarmac, clearing of the water on the road (more so that the rears), braking forces (some 70-80% of the braking is done by the front tires), and other issues that the rear tires don’t have to deal with. It would make more sense to me to put the best tread on the front.

That’s my feeling this evening. Over the years I’ve waffled on the issue. I prefer the best tires on the front, but I’m reticent to suggest to others that the best tires should be on the front, just based on the testing videos I’ve seen.


#15

If you buy an AWD car and equip it with crapppy tires and /or fail to rotate them, you defeat the whole idea of having AWD. With all due respect, it’s one of the most contradictory things you can do. If you do much winter driving and expect AWD to actually help you, rotate winter tires on rims.

Once you pay for the rims, the cost effectiveness is better then using one set of tires. You won’t be buying new all seasons for winter traction and you will be safer all the time. AWD cars in the winter, require the best tires for conditions because they allow you to drive too fast for conditions that poor tires can’t handle and create more dangerous situations when they should be helping.

Might as well drive a Corvette on ice and expect it to handle well. It’s right up there on the top of the list of really poor decisions people make preparing for winter. You are sacrificing gas mileage for AWD and not getting the full benefits while buying all season tires too frequently…people who own AWD cars and do lots of winter driving with poor all season tires need a dope slap. ;))) And, not rotating tires in general so the tire wear is matched as close as possible all the time, is the second poorest decision. Another dope slap ! Buy a tire gauge and tires that come with free rotations with a package deal…otherwise, it’s like milking poor shoes then having to go to the foot doctor to have it corrected later. Another poor decision.

This stuff seems to go together. I know a guy who is a millionaire, (family wealth) prides himself on milking tires and shoes as long as possible. Now in his sixties, he can barely walk with post tib tendon dis function and is always getting stuck and calling for help in the winter. What a dufus. The guy is an engineering professor. Go figure.


#16

@wesw‌
You sound like you know more then the experts. I suffer from that affliction too when it comes to a lot if things, like making my wife happy by buying her a truck. We need to compare our “not so great decisions” that could definitely get both of us in trouble.:wink:


#17

@dagosa‌ my wife would never admit she bought crappy tires in terms of winter.

She is an amazing winter driver who is used to cruddy FWD Japanese econoboxes with poor/balding all-seasons tires in her first 16 years of driving.

She did not choose Subaru for AWD but instead wagon, heated seats, manual transmission and wonderful turbo engine. Her first brand new car instead of $1000 typical cars.


#18

no. I just believe there are too many variables for a one size fits all theory to be accurate.

driving on the poorly drained rt 6 on cape cod for a couple tears and hydroplaning convinced me that new tires on the front are absolutely essential in some situations


#19

“I know a guy who…prides himself on milking tires and shoes as long as possible. Now in his sixties, he can barely walk with post tib tendon dis function”

My oldest friend, whom I have known since 1965, is a major cheapskate, and he almost always manages to shoot himself in the foot (in this case, literally) with his cheap ways of doing things. Even though he has more than enough money to buy new shoes, he insists on buying all of his shoes at a thrift shop.

The result of buying other people’s old shoes is that he always has several toes wrapped in band-aids as a result of blisters from all of those ill-fitting shoes. And, he never seems to be able to rid himself of various types of foot fungus that–obviously–is the result of wearing other people’s old shoes.

Last week, he took his shoes off at my house as a result of the pain he was in, and I couldn’t help but notice that he has 4 or 5 toenails that are black as a result of the constant pressure from shoes that simply do not fit.

If he was a person who simply couldn’t afford to buy clean, properly-fitting new shoes, I could understand his way of doing things, but for someone with MORE than enough money for all of his needs, this type of behavior is just absolutely self-defeating. When I say that he just keeps shooting himself in the foot, I am describing his actions very accurately, I think.


#20

when I was working in steel shops I would buy the best boots or steel toed shoes that I could find, regardless of cost. in my last few years I would only wear boots when it was very cold, as the weight of them caused me problems. I would also buy expensive insoles.

not only do they support your arches better and help stop your feet from hurting, they make a huge difference to back pain and knee health.

even if a 179.00 pair of boots only lasted 6 months in that harsh environment it was worth it to me. the Walmart specials would only last half the time and would do nothing to help stop pain or to protect other body parts from the 10-12 hrs on concrete and steel.

now I still get good shoes, but they are not too expensive and they last longer now that I m not abusing them on a daily basis. cheap shoes are penny wise but pound foolish, IMHO