Rock Talk

Why I Should Rotate My Tires

Last updated on January 29th, 2019 at 11:47 am

Tire rotation, until recently, hadn’t been my number one priority when it came to car maintenance. That changed a year or so back when not rotating them frequently enough ended up with a sucker punch to my wallet to the tune of a new set. It was a tough way to learn why I should rotate my tires.

My steering wheel had been shimmying at higher speeds and was pulling a bit. At the next oil change I told my mechanic about it and he came back with, what I thought, was an unusual response: “Your tires aren’t round anymore.” Apparently, that’s a thing that can happen.

Uneven wear can stem from a number of places: alignment issues, under or over inflation, or potentially from other mechanical problems. Wear patterns have terms like cup, feather, shoulder, camber, and toe, and all point to a different story with what’s going on with your car—I trust my mechanic and leave it to him to decipher it.

The culprit, in my case, was uneven wear. It was caused by some underlying problem and partly from an alignment issue in which a few New Jersey pothole seasons almost certainly played a role. That left me buying a new set of tires prematurely. My mechanic fixed the alignment problem and ratcheted on the new set.

I rotate my tires every other oil change now, meaning they’re trading places about every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. I keep track of all the maintenance in a three-ring binder in case I forget when I did what. The general consensus from some tire manufacturers is to rotate tires every 5,000 to 8,000 miles to even out and slow down wear patterns.

Aside from helping to insulate your wallet from additional wear, rotating your tires on a regular basis has a number of potential benefits:

  • More miles out of your tires. That means fewer replacements and more of your hard-earned cash staying where it belongs—in your pocket. You can get a car insurance quote to see if you can offset the extra rotating expense with a better insurance rate.
  • Maintaining good gripping power. That will be important when April showers come pouring down.
  • A quieter car. Uneven wear can contribute to a bumpier and noisier ride.

There’s a litany of rotation patterns that can vary by tire type and whether or not you have a full-sized spare in the rotation. Ask your mechanic to put your car on a regular schedule and stick to it! Got any other tire tips for Plymouth Rock Assurance? Let us hear it in the comments below or on Twitter.

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