Best of Deals Car Reviews Repair Shops Cars A-Z Radio Show

Tire rotation after driving 15k miles


A while back, I bought a set of 4 new tires. Unfortunately, I haven’t rotated them at all and after 15K miles, the front tires are at ~5.5/32nd tread while the rear tires are at 8/32nd tread. My question is: should I still rotate the tires? Since the rear tires should always have more treads, I feel that the difference here is already too large for me to rotate the tires. Would it be dangerous for me to rotate the tires now and have 5.5/32nd tread in the rear and 8/32nd in the front, in case of hydroplaning?

Does it make more sense for me to just keep going as is and then getting a set of 2 new tires once I finish wearing out my front tires?

any advice would be appreciated! thanks!


Yes,buy 2 new tires and install them in the rear and move the rear tires to the front.Make sure you rotate them at 5-6k miles or every oil change.

But then, say, the rear tires move to the front and the new tires install at back. the new front tires will then wear a lot more than the rear new tires, causing the difference to be even higher. so there really isn’t any good time to rotate after this? even after 5-6k miles after installing the new tires.

It would be helpful if the OP disclosed whether his/her vehicle has FWD, or RWD, or AWD.
For the OP’s sake, I REALLY hope that it isn’t an AWD vehicle.

I’d rotate them now and check the tread depth at 5-6k later and decide then if you rotate. That assumes this is a FWD car.


This is a FWD. 2007 VW GTI to be exact.

be sure to check the inside and outside edges of the front tires. Steer tires, especially with the weight and drive of the front end of a FWD, will wear the edges of front tires much faster than the the rears will. make sure the top edges are in good shape before you install these tires anywhere. 15K miles is a lot to have before rotating, and if your alignment is off at all, you could have 5/32nds in the middle, and 0/32nds on one of the edges.

But 5/32nd’s is not unsafe to have on the back. if the tires are good, move them to the back and start saving or some new ones


Yes, I’d rotate them and prepare to replace all four of them soon. I like to replace my tires before they get to 4/32" of tread depth.

According to some standards, 2/32" is the limit, but in commercial trucking, the limit on steering tires is 4/32", and on a FWD vehicle like yours, most tire shops would insist on the better tires being on the back, where there is less weight on them.

If it was summertime, I would say keep the tires, rotate them and keep them in place until front ones get worn more than the backs, something like 15K will do just that :slight_smile:
In winter, that’s not safe if you gonna get into snow or ice, so probably better to replace at least one pair.

1 Like

Yeah rotate them and buy two new tires before the weather turns bad. I just replaced four that were at 5/32.

That’s the way I always do my FWD vehicles. Rotate front to rear only, do not rotate side to side. All the tires will now reach 3/32 at about the same time and should be replaced then. This is how I get the most miles out of a set of tires. Frequent rotation actually wears them out faster.

One thing, don’t do any 10/10ths driving with less tread on the back, but for normal or reasonable driving, you will be OK.