How often should you rotate your tires?

Tire rotation is one of the easiest maintenance tasks you can have performed on your car. It's also one of the most important. It can extend the life of your tires, improve gas mileage and ensure your car handles steadily when you need to make a sudden turn or stop.

What exactly does tire rotation mean?

Well, tire rotation isn't simply rotating tires around the axles. It means moving the tires to different locations around the car so that they wear evenly.

Think about it. If you leave all four tires in the same location for years, some tires will have more stress put on them more frequently and will wear out more quickly. The front tires in particular carry a much heavier burden. The weight of a car isn't distributed evenly, with the engine being the single heaviest thing in a car. The front tires have to carry this weight and are also responsible for all steering actions. Braking also causes your car to shift forward, which again adds pressure to those front tires.

Rotating your tires will help spread the burden and can keep you from replacing your tires earlier than needed.

Mechanics recommend having your tires rotated every time you get your oil changed, assuming you do that at least once a year or more often depending on how many miles you're putting on your car.

Vehicle manufacturers also strongly agree with this recommendation and their advice is to have the tires rotated on the same schedule as oil changes. In most cases that means every 7,500 miles or six months.

If you drive fewer than 7,500 miles per year, you should probably rotate tires every six months or so.

Stick to this schedule and it will help you avoid costly tire replacements!

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