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Tire Rotation and balancing

Understandably, I’ve been told I need to rotate my tires more frequently. I’ve also been told that when I have the tires rotated, they should be balanced as well. I have the skills (minimal) to removed a tire from one location and put it on another location, but I don’t have the skills or equipment to balance them. Should I, in fact, balance them as well, and if so, how frequently should the rotation/balancing occur? This is a 2006 Honda CR-V with 75k miles on it. Thanks in advance for any advice.

Rotate the tires yourself. If all rides smoothly after the rotation then the balance is OK. Tires can go out of balance due to wear patterns, and/or throwing off the wheel weights. However balancing each tire every rotation is overkill.

I only have tires balanced at purchase and if a problem shows up.

I agree. Just rotate them yourself.

Rotate every other oil change and balance as needed…Clean off any dirt or debris that may have accumulated on the wheels…

Be careful when rotating directional tread tires. Front to back is the only option.

I agree with the other posters. I’ve rotated the tires on my 2007 Toyota twice a year and have never needed to balance them.

Get yourself a good hydraulic jack; I bought a “Black Jack” at Costco for less than $100. I save $38 every time I rotate the tires myself.

" Understandably, I’ve been told I need to rotate my tires more frequently. "

Who told you this ? What reason was given for it ?

It’s important information to consider because it could indicate another problem besides tire rotation or no problem at all, depending on what the reason was.


Rotate them as needed.  In my case, that is twice a year, Winter tyres then summer tyres.  I would suggest rotating them once or twice a year for most drivers.

If you have 4wd, you do need to rotate your tires frequently. You can do it every 7500 miles, or twice a year, every other oil change, or get a tire tread depth gauge and measure the tread depth and rotate them anytime the difference between the front and rear tread depths are approaching 2/32". 2/32" difference is the maximum the 4wd can tolerate.

If you have just the FWD, you only need to rotate the tires once, when the front tires are down to around 5/32", then rotate them front to back, but keep them on the same side. They will last longer this way.

Regardless of how often you rotate the tires, you should carefully inspect the treads every time you do an oil change and look for any unusual wear pattern. If you see an unusual wear pattern showing up, you need an alignment or maybe even some front end repairs done. Catch them early and you save the additional expense of new tires.

Rotating too frequently can mask any unusual tire wear patterns and can cause an alignment problem to go unnoticed and lead to excessive tire wear.

NoSoSkilledGuy I rotate my tires at every oil change. I got 80K miles out of my last set of tires by doing it this way. All of the tires were worn evenly. They still had 4/32" of tread, but the sun was starting to rot them. If the steering wheel shakes at freeway speeds, balance the tires, otherwise forget it.

As a general rule, drive tires tend to wear the centers of the tread, and steer tires tend to wear the shoulders. That means the RWD drive tires benefit greatly from rotation because the tires are wearing on different portions of the treads.

The problem with FWD is that the fronts wear much faster than the rears, so in order to be safe, you want all 4 tires to have the same amount of wear.

So frequent rotations benefit all cars.

Good advice all around. I heartily support the idea of frequent tire rotation. We are all on the same page… or are we?

For a sharp contradiction of the above wisdom (from the same experts), check out all the inquiries about the location of the single pair of brand new tires. There you will be told to have the more worn tires up front… and to keep them there.

So it all depends on which way you ask the same question.

If you say “They can’t both be right” my reply would be “Y’know, you’re right too!”

I agree with CapriRacer on his facts, but I disagree on his conclusion. Once a tire has established a wear pattern, then the tread is running flat on the road surface and wear is minimized. Every time you rotate the tires, you change the wear pattern, which means that not all the tread is on the road surface, so it will quickly grind down to establish a new wear pattern. Just like sawing a piece of wood with a hand saw, you instinctively change the angle periodically to get a better bite to saw through the wood faster.

BTW, I typically get over 100k miles on my tires, and I am a somewhat aggressive driver, especially in corners. Your tires, your choice though. Mine works for me.

Usually when I buy tires the stores I buy at offer free lifetime balancing/rotation. I usually rotate and rebalance about every 5-6K miles. If I don’t have lifetime balancing/rotation I simply rotate them myself and don’t rebalance unless there’s an obvious problem.

The saying in my neighborhood was “if your front tires aren’t wearing out on the edges first, you aren’t cornering fast enough”.

IMHO rotating tires does not save any money in the long run. IMHO what it does is allow you to replace the tires as a set of four…and it masks problems that I might want to become aware of. I prefer to monitor the wear patterns, correct any anomolies, and change my tires two at a time to amortize costs. I sacrifice the “forth tire free” promotions, but I do so willingly.

TSM, Right On, Right, Right On.
I’ve Written That Before. You Have Saved Me The Trouble.

TSM, CSA - I used to do the no-rotate buy two tires routine for years. Now I’m rotating, because the tire models go out of stock, and I don’t like different model tires on the car. But it’s not to save money or time, it takes so much rubber to drive a mile, regardless.