By Gene Hannon Jr.
“How come every time I have service work performed the shop always wants to rotate my tires?”
Tires are one of the most critical components on our vehicles and most of us overlook them. If you use a repair shop they should be reminding you to rotate your tires. By rotating tires on a regular basis you can save time, money, and have peace of mind.

Tire rotation diagram. (Courtesy General Motors)

Facts:

  1. Rotating tires maximizes each tire’s life.
  2. Rotating your tires every 5,000-10,000 miles, is usually recommended for maximum tire life.
  3. Not balancing your tires at the time of rotation can cause new vibrations.
  4. Some tires cannot be rotated, or are directional only.
  5. Wheel nuts need to have proper torque when the tires are rotated.
  6. The wheel mounting surface must be cleaned before the tire can be properly mounted and torqued (tightened).
  7. All wheels have a specific tightening sequence. Check the owner’s manual.

Sample wheel lug nut tightening sequences. (Courtesy General Motors)

Fiction:

  1. Plug-type tire repair or flat fixing fluid is acceptable.
  2. If a tire has a slight tread design showing, the tire is safe.
  3. All tires are the same, any size will do.
  4. The tire pressure monitor system (TPMS) is always accurate.
  5. You must have the alignment checked when wheels have been rotated.
  6. You must always purchase 4 tires, so they match.
  7. Premium tires do not need to be rotated.

Badly worn tire.

Benefits of Regular Tire Rotation

  1. Tires are inspected for tread wear and possible nails, screws, etc.
  2. Brakes and suspension systems can be checked at the same time.
  3. Tire pressure is checked and set at the correct pressure.
  4. Peace of mind for you and your family.

Caution: Before installing a wheel, remove any dirt or buildup on the wheel mounting surface (1) and the brake drum or brake disc mounting surface (2). Installing wheels with poor metal-to-metal contact at the mounting surfaces can cause wheel nuts to loosen. This may cause a wheel to come off when the vehicle is moving, possibly resulting in a loss of control or personal injury.

Caution: Before installing a wheel, remove any dirt or buildup on the wheel mounting surface (1) and the brake drum or brake disc mounting surface (2). (Courtesy General Motors.)

Need the wheel lug nut and TPMS component torque specifications for a particular year, make and model vehicle? Subscribe to Chilton for maintenance intervals, testing, procedures, and specifications.
 Gene Hannon Jr., ASE Master Technician lives in Maryland with his wife Paula; they have 3 girls, Jocelyn, Sarah and Carly. Gene began working with cars when he was 13 at his father’s (Gene Sr.) ESSO service center where he cleaned equipment and tools, scrubbed out the repair bays, and pumped gas. By age 16 he was turning wrenches and receiving technical training. He worked at the ESSO (later Exxon) station for 29 years. With his father and brother, the three opened Avalon Automotive, an 8-bay repair center, where he was a partner for more than 10 years. Gene joined the Chilton Team in 2006.