9 Instances When Not to Rotate Tires

Whether you’re driving an off-road vehicle, an all-terrain, or a passenger car, your tires are critical to your safety. Regularly rotating your tires can help increase their life and maximize performance. Follow to understand when not to rotate tires.

Tire rotation is not nearly as complicated as many people think. While it’s tempting to rotate them at regular intervals, it may not always be necessary at times. However, proper tire pressure is all about tracking mileage to know when to rotate your tires effectively.

Generally speaking, it’s best to follow the recommendations of your vehicle manufacturer and your local service provider when it comes to tire rotation schedules and procedures. Below are instances when tire rotation may not be of help.

When Not to Rotate Tires. Is tire rotation necessary?

1. If You Have an Alignment Issue

Rotating tires when you have an alignment issue can make things worse because it makes it easier for your wheels to become misaligned again — especially if you don’t have a mechanical alignment system in your vehicle. You rely solely on visual cues from the tire wear indicators on your vehicle’s sidewalls.

For example, if you rotate the tires and notice that one is wearing faster than its companions.

2. You Have Front-Wheel Drive or Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles

Front-wheel drive vehicles generally don’t require tire rotation because they have a limited weight on each wheel.

Rotation isn’t necessary if your vehicle has rear-wheel drive or all-wheel drive either, as long as it’s not an AWD crossover or SUV that sees a lot of off-road use (and thus sees an equal amount of driving on both sets of wheels).

Read: Over tightened lug nuts cause vibration

is tire rotation needed
vintage wheel

3. You Have a Front-Wheel-Drive Vehicle with Staggered Sizes of Tires

Front-wheel drive vehicles often have different size tires on the front and back axles. This is done for various reasons, including handling performance and tire wear characteristics.

The problem for rotational purposes is that this setup doesn’t allow for uniform tire wear across all four tires — so when you rotate them, you’re still only rotating two sets at a time.

If you have this type of vehicle and want to rotate your tires, make sure they’re all the same size. If they’re not, ask your mechanic if he can re-balance them so they’ll wear more evenly.

4. You Have Different Brands or Models of Tires

If the tires on your vehicle are different brands or models, they won’t wear evenly if they’re rotated together. For example, if Goodyear makes one set of tires while the other by Michelin, they will wear differently even if they have the same tread depth due to differences in manufacturing techniques.

So, it’s best to avoid rotating them all together until they reach 6/32nds of 2/32nds tread depth remaining before replacing them with new ones (whichever comes first).

Read: Find my tire size by make and model

When Should You Rotate Tires
lug nuts

5. You Live in an Area Where It Snows Frequently

If you live in an area where it snows frequently, you should consider not rotating your tires often because it could lead to uneven wear on each tire. When snow builds up on your wheels from driving through snow piles, it can throw off your alignment by causing excessive toe angle or camber angle issues.

This can cause premature wear on your tires and other suspension parts like ball joints due to uneven load distribution across all four corners of the vehicle.

6. When the Sale Is Good Enough

Tire rotations can be expensive, especially if you get them done by a professional, rather than spending money on something that might not even benefit your vehicle or help it last longer between replacements, wait until there’s a sale on a new set of rubber before getting them rotated.

You may also want to consider keeping track of when your current tires need replacement to take advantage of free rotation programs offered at some dealerships and service centers to save money while still maintaining the life of your tires.

7. The Tread Pattern Isn’t Even

Tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles to allow even wear over time. If one side of the tread has more wear than the other side, it will affect how well the tire works and how safe it is for driving purposes.

In fact, if you don’t rotate your tires regularly enough, you could risk getting a blowout or even causing an accident because of poor traction due to uneven tread wear.

8. When Should You Rotate Tires Then?

If you’re unsure whether your tires should be rotated or wondering whether it’s time to rotate them, here are some guidelines.

The need for tire rotation varies based on the type of tire and the vehicle’s weight. Generally, if your car is front-wheel drive, has an all-season or a summer performance tire, and doesn’t drive more than 10,000 miles per year, you can probably go two years without rotating your tires.

Similarly, if you drive more than 10,000 miles per year with a rear-wheel-drive vehicle with all-season tires, rotate them every six months — or sooner if they show wear.

9. Rotating Tires Keeps Them Balanced

When tires are mounted on rims, they tend to pull slightly inward towards each other as they age and wear out. This causes them to wear unevenly and may result in poor performance or handling problems.

Rotating your tires periodically helps keep them balanced to last longer and perform better for longer periods without needing replacement.

Ultimately, the decision to rotate or not should be based on the owner’s needs and requirements. There are several suggestions from experts with differing opinions and advice—but remember that not all of their advice applies to your vehicle.

The straightforward answers about whether or not to rotate your tires mostly revolve around two considerations: tire wear and tire lifespan.

The upshot?

Whether your goal is to run longer distances, have better traction in the rain, or shave a few dollars off your next oil change, proper tire rotation is easy to make your vehicle more fuel-efficient and safer.

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