Tire rotation...why and how often

I have heard you should rotate your tires on your car every so often, so my question is “How often” and what purpose does it serve to rotate and how should they be rotated?

It evens out tire wear. Front and rear tires on a typical FWD car wear at very different weights. I am different from most people and don’t feel like with my RWD vehicle I should rotate the tires if they are wearing evenly. Rotating them can mask an alignment problem that might be picked up by observation of the bad tire wear.

Rotate them as often as it tell you in your owner manual service schedule or as often as the tire manufacturer says to if you want to preserve your tire wear warranty. That said, the latter is probably not worth the paper it is printed on anyway. There are too many loopholes. Rotate them as directed in the owner manual.

First, let’s differentiate between “should” and “must”.

If you have an AWD vehicle, you MUST rotate the tires at an even and consistent interval, such as every 5k or every 7.5k miles. Otherwise, uneven tire wear will lead to very expensive damage to the AWD mechanism.

If you don’t have an AWD vehicle (I assume that you are still driving that Kia Sedona van), then it is advisable, but by no means absolutely necessary to rotate the tires. The tires will wear unevenly from lack of rotation, but no mechanical damage will take place. What will take place is uneven levels of traction from tire to tire as they wear, and this could lead to problems ranging from difficulties in rain (hydroplaning) and snow (skidding) to poor road-holding and poor ride quality.

There are some folks on this board who state that they never rotate their tires, but the usual result of failure to rotate tires is that you only buy 2 tires at a time as they wear out. By the time that you are ready to buy the next two tires, the original model tire may not be available, thus leading to different types of tires on the front and back of the vehicle. This in and of itself can lead to handling and traction problems.

Yes, it costs a few bucks to rotate your tires, but I think that the additional safety benefits make the cost worthwhile. And, if someone chooses to not rotate the tires on an AWD vehicle, they are literally flushing money down the drain, rather than saving money.

As to specific questions regarding your own vehicle, I can’t give you any better advice than to tell you to open the glove compartment, take out the Owner’s Manual, and see what the vehicle manufacturer has to say regarding the recommended rotation pattern.

Check the owner’s manual. It will tell you what you need to know about tire rotation.

Yes, it costs a few bucks to rotate your tires, but I think that the additional safety benefits make the cost worthwhile

I agree with you of the benefits and it’s well worth it.

BUT every time I’ve bought tires in the past 20+ years they all came with free rotation.

“every time I’ve bought tires in the past 20+ years they all came with free rotation.”

As do the tires that I buy at Costco.
However, not everyone is savvy enough to buy tires at places that combine low prices and free rotation and lifetime repair/replacement.

For those who bought their tires from retailers who don’t include free rotation, it is worthwhile to spend the extra money for rotation.

The shop where I get my tires is a local alignment shop where I have much of my other work done (that I don’t do myself). The tire purchase doesn’t include rotation, but they rotate mine free anytime I ask I supposed just b/c I’m a regular. I just buy my tires from them b/c I’d rather give the $$ to a local business rather a corporate chain.

I live in the snow belt, so I rotate them each winter.

“Rotate” Is A Misnomer. My Tires “Rotate” Every Time I Drive My Car. However, The Only Time They Get Revolved (Orbited To A New Position On The Vehicle) Is When I Purchase A New Pair.

[list]I generally get over 75,000 to 100,000 miles (or more) out of my tires. [/list]
[list]I get to use the tires to “read” their behavior relative to suspension steering well-being. [/list]
[list]I save a lot of time. We have at least 4 cars on the road at any given time, my wife and I driving a combined 60 to 70 thousand miles, annually. [/list]
[list]I never have problems doing this and run all-season tires. [/list]
[list]I think the need to rotate (revolve) tires says a lot about the car they’re on. I had a car once (long ago) that necessatated switching tires around (Mickey Mouse Suspension).[/list]
[list]I think modern steel-belted tires help tires wear evenly. Some folks rotate as a carry-over from the days when it was necessary.[/list]
[list]I don’t want my cars lifted or jacked up every other month, wear and tear on the lugs, etcetera, especially by a discount store employee.[/list]