Ever looked at the bottom of your shoes and noticed that one area of the sole is more worn than another? The way you walk causes this wear pattern to occur as you put more weight on certain areas of your feet. Now, imagine your tires are the shoe soles of the car. The act of driving throws the auto’s weight around, leaving distinctive erosion patterns on the tires. In order to combat the inevitable uneven wear, you have to rotate your tires to different locations on your vehicle.
What causes wear?
Tire treads can wear unevenly for a number of reasons. A car’s weight dispersion can be a factor, especially if you have a front-wheel-drive vehicle. Not only do the tires on these have to endure the steering, braking and accidental bruises from parking, but they also carry the entire weight of both the engine and the front axle.
Incorrect tire pressure and uneven alignment also can result in tire wear. In addition, because of the weight distribution in the car, the front tires can wear out more quickly than the rear ones.
Your tires will give you a little warning that the tread is uneven. There shouldn’t be noise emanating from your tires, so listen for a humming sound coming from them on smooth roads. It’s a good indication that a rotation may be necessary.
Car manufacturers recommend rotating your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles, or every other oil change. If you are hard on your car or have a four-wheel-drive vehicle, however, you may want to rotate your tires a little more often. In these cases, having your tires rotated at 5,000 miles is reasonable.
Why do it?
So, why do you need to be spending this much time on tire rotation? For one thing, it’s safer. If you have balder tires on the front, you are at risk of losing control of the steering and getting into an accident.
By rotating your tires, your vehicle’s braking will be more even and effective, and the handling will be more balanced. You’ll notice these improvements as soon as those tires get moved around. Evenly worn tires also equal a smoother ride with increased traction and better gas mileage.
With all your tires wearing down at the same rate, you’ll be able to purchase a new set of four when the time comes instead of going in for the front tires, followed by another visit to buy new rear tires. Essentially, it makes the buying process a less frequent affair. Combine that with a more efficient ride, and tire rotation should sit permanently on your car maintenance checklist.
This content was provided by DriverSide. For more information go to www.driverside.com.