a. What is the current thinking regarding the number of miles that a
passenger car (with all-season tires) should accumulate between tire
b. Is it necessary to have the wheels balanced, again, at this time ?
c. Curious about the rotation order (front to back, or...?) for
asymetric thread tires like the Nokian WR G2 ?
Different rotation order/positions for the normal, symmetric, type
of tires ?
I'd suggest checking the owner's guide that came with your car or the maker
of your tires.
From http://www.michelinman.com/tire-care/tire-saving-tips/ :
"Regular rotation helps extend the life of your tires, saving time and money
in the long run. For rotation, each tire and wheel is removed from your
vehicle and moved to a different position. This ensures that all of the
tires wear evenly and last longer. If no period is specified in your vehicle
owners manual, tires should be rotated every 6,000 to 8,000 miles. If you
have a full-size spare, it should be included in the rotation process."
From http://www.tiresafety.com/maint/maint_content.asp (a referal from
Firestone / Bridgestone ):
"Tire rotation is vital to achieving even tread wear and long tread life.
Rotation is necessary because of the uneven wear characteristics of each
wheel position on the vehicle. Rotate tires at the vehicle manufacturers's
recommended intervals or at 5,000 - 7,000 miles if not specified."
"Refer to your Vehicle Owners Manual for recommended rotation pattern and
interval for your vehicle. It is recommended to rotate your tires every
6,000 to 8,000 miles, or sooner if uneven treadwear begins to appear. The
purpose of regular rotation is to achieve more uniform treadwear on all
tires on your vehicle. If tires show uneven treadwear, ask the service
person to check and/or correct any alignment or other mechanical problems
"This is true for both front wheel and rear wheel drive vehicles. Full size
spare tires should be included in the rotation pattern for your vehicle.
Compact spares (temporary use spares) should not be included in the rotation
From http://www.goodyeartires.com/care/tire-maintenance/ :
"While many people are knowledgeable enough to rotate their own tires, the
procedure is especially quick and easy for a professional. Your vehicle's
owner's manual will specify the proper rotation pattern and schedule for
your vehicle. If no specific schedule is indicated, a good rule of thumb is
to rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles.
From a recent Ford Owner's Manual:
"Rotating your tires at the recommended interval (as indicated in the
scheduled maintenance information that comes with your vehicle) will help
your tires wear more evenly, providing better tire performance and longer
tire life. Unless otherwise specified, rotate the tires approximately every
5,000 miles (8,000 km)."
From http://www.toyota.com/dealers/services/tire_center.html :
"How often should my tires be rotated?
"On average, tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles."
For tires I bought at Costco, they said to bring them in for rotation after
Persoanlly, I try to rotate my tires every 5000 miles.
For an AWD car, or asymetric tread tires, I do a straight front to rear and
don't include a spare.
If I do it at home, I don't worrry about the balance unless there is a
vibration after the rotation. For the Costco and Sam's Club tires, they do
the balance for free when they do the free rotation.
As has already been posted, check the manual for your car. Toyota
has a sequence for rotation and the book claims that the warranty
on the tires is void if this is not followed. (Yeah, what warranty?)
It is not always necessary to rebalance the tires, but I have found
that this can sometimes be very helpful to return the car to its
since this is all in your owners manual, it's most likely that you're
but if you're not, and because i'm sick of seeing other people
regurgitate same-old same-old without bothering to think, here are some
1. tire rotation was "invented" in the days of bias ply. we don't use
bias ply any more.
2. a tire wears to direction of rotation and station on car.
3. when transferred to a different direction and/or station, the amount
of tire/road contact area is reduced.
4. reduced contact area reduces traction, and thus ability to brake and
turn. kinda important in emergencies.
5. you *cannot* rotate on performance vehicles with directional tires
and different tire sizes.
6. many manufacturers selling in the usa are afraid of lawyers and
practice "cya" based on an "industry standard" that will stop them being
sued, even though the technical facts contradict.
conclusion, just like some performance vehicle manufacturers have the
gonads to say, and like frod say in europe but don't say here, don't
rotate your tires. if you're experiencing uneven wear issues, fix the
problem with the car, don't lipstick the pig and hope that a tire
rotation will cover the evidence.
My Ford manual for my F350 DRW states not to rotate the tires unless
they are showing uneven wear. This is in large part due to the different
wheels involved (AL front and DRW outer, steel DRW inner and spare)
making rotation a dismounting and remounting chore.
dude, think through that statement and analyze how that can /possibly/
be. rotation as a mask for mechanical issues with the car is
fundamentally wrong. wear because of more loading on the front axle of
a front wheel drive car is fundamentally right - it's what you should
expect to see.
facts still remain, tires rotated away from their wear sense give less
traction. less traction means you can't stop or corner as safely.
there's no arguing around that. "manufacturer recommended rotation" is
just lawyer-speak for "don't sue us if you crash", it's /nothing/ to do
with the physical facts - the physical facts observed by the minority
manufacturers [like bmw] who dare to state them.
I've been associated with two different vehicles where rotation seems to be
necessary - a 1986 VW Jetta and a 2008 Mazda 3. In both cases the rear tires
developed strange wear patterns and became very noisy over time if not
rotated. For both cars the alignment was checked and rechecked and it was
claimed to be within specs. The same problem occured with two different sets
(and completely different brands of tires) on the Jetta. The wear patter was
really odd, not a worn sholder or excessive wear in the center. Rather it
was if you sanded bands across the tire at an angle to the direction of
rotation. Hard to see, but if you ran your hand along the circumfrence of
the tire you could definitely feel it. For boh the Jetta and the Mazda it
only affected the rear tires. The front tires wore perfectly (in both
cases). If you didn't rotate the tires, the pattern on the rear tires became
very pronounced and the tires roared to annoying degree after 10k miles
(more or less). Routine rotation seemed to eliminate the problem (definitely
eliminated it for the Jetta - it seems to eliminate it for the Mazda - but
we are only 10k miles on the new Mazda tires). My sister ruined two sets of
tires before she started rotating the tires ('86 Jetta). My son's first set
on the Mazda were ruined. He started routine rotation on the second set and
so far so good. I assume it has something to do with the style of driving,
rear suspension design and type of roads. Both my Son and Sister are gentle
drivers. Both do the majority of their driving on highways. North Carolina
uses a lot of rock in the asphalt and most of their driving is on asphalt
roads. For me, I've never seen much benefit to tire rotation, but Sam's club
does it for free for my car, so I let them. Doesn't seem to hurt anything.
Rotation is not free for my truck tires, so I'll probably just leave those
tires alone unless I see a wear problem (original tires went 45K and I only
replaced them becasue of multiple punctures).
that ed, is a carppy tire. pure and simple.
even though radial tires have circumferential bands, they still have
bias plies that go through their side walls and under the tread. if
those are defective, i.e. they're not anchored correctly to the mounting
bead wires, or they're not wound properly, different plies end up at
different tensions and the angled tread deformation you describe
results. it is possible that a tire that's been run too hot or with
excess pressure can develop similar faults, but again, that only occurs
on carppy tires. rotating them simply masks the underlying tire flaw -
it's not a solution.
"doesn't seem to hurt anything." so apparently that dog you ran over
because you couldn't brake as well was inconsequential.
what a folksy little story. shall i tell you a folksy little story
about a friend's civic that tracked to the left with their [new
sumitomo] tires mounted in one direction, and to the right when the
front axle tires were reversed? or should we have kept on rotating
until we found a combination where that didn't happen and just let
another tire manufacturer off the hook for producing that carp?
mean while, digest this:
the accompanying text is classic german understatement:
"diagram o shows the different braking forces that were achieved with
different tires under aquaplaning conditions. the noticeable difference
in the performance levels of the tires is striking."
I not exactly a strong advocate of tire rotation. For some vehicles I've
done it, for others not. I've had at least one vehicle where rotating tires
always led to problems, a 1986 Sable - all the tire wore square, but the
front wore much much faster. If you tried to even out wear byt rotating, the
car invariably developed a pull to the right. After the second set, I quit
rotating tires on this car. On my current Fusion, rotating the tires seems
to have no detectable (by me at leat) negative consequecnes. And I managed
to wear out all four original tires (OE Michelins) almost perfectly evenly.
My sister's experiences with the Jetta did not involve cheap tires, unless
you think Michelins are cheap.
I tried to find some sort of study that quantified the effect on tire
performance of swapping ties around between axle locations and couldn't find
anything other that vauge statements. For sure BMW advises against it. The
following is from an online BMW Owner's Guide:
"Swapping wheels between axles
"BMW advises against swapping wheels between the front and rear axles, even
if all tires have the same size, as this could impair driving
characteristics. If the tires are of mixed sizes, swapping wheels between
the axles is not permissible."
They don't exactly clearly state what they mean by "impair driving
characteristics." Have you seen any studies that quantify this impairment?
Interestingly, Mercedes-Benz does recommend routine tire rotation (for
vehicles that have the same size tires on front and rear axles and they'll
do the first rotation for free). They do specify that tires should not be
cross rotated, as does Volvo. It seems that Volvo used to recommend against
routine tire routation (back when they built rear wheel drive cars). These
days, Volvo also recommends routine tire rotation.
So it seems to me that most vehicle and tire manufacturers recommend routine
rotation with the cavet that you cannot swap tires of different sizes
between axles, and that several manufactuers don't recommend cross rotation
in any case.
I have a hard time with the idea that most vehcile manufacturer's are
recommending rotation as some sort of anti-lawsuit measure. Particualrly if
you buy BMWs arguement that swapping wheels between axles might impair
driving characteristics. It seems as likely to me that you might get sued
for telling people to rotate tires as you might if you didn't tell them to.
I suppose they might recommend it as a way to avoid fixing design or
manufacturing flaws that lead to uneven tire wear, but it seems jsut as
likely they are recommending it as a way to equalize wear on tires for cars
that inherently wear the front tire faster.
The 1986 Sable I owned wore out the front tires more that twice as fast as
the rear tires. If you didn't rotate the tires you were forever buying two
tires. I always liked the idea of running four matched tires. My family had
a 1978 Fiesta. When we bought it, the advice given was to not rotate the
tires. The car had very small (12 inch wheels) tires and the fronts wore out
evey 25 to 30k miles. The rear tires didn't appear to wear at all. When the
car was 8 years old, I finally swapped the rears to the front becasue they
were so old. I figured I'd get as much out of them as I could before they
dry rotted. We were lucky for that car. It came with Michelin tires, and at
least for the first 8 years tyou could buy the identical replacment tire, so
we always had a closely matched set. These days it seems whenever I go to
buy tires, the tire model I used to have is no longer available. I hate the
idea of having different front and rear tires. Maybe this is a silly
personal thing, but I rather wear all four tires out as close to the same as
possible and buy four news ones. For my trucks, this doesn't seem to be a
big deal. The fronts and rears mostly wear the same. Ditto for my Fusion
(an AWD Fusion). But for my son's Mazda3, the front tires wear at a much
faster rate. Same is true for the SO's RAV4, and my sister's old Civic. The
SO is on her third set of two tires. Whenever she buys two new tires to
repalce the worn out front ones, they insist on moving the rear tires to the
front and putting the new tires on the rear. So she is constantly buying new
tires, two at a time. She doesn't mind and she doesn't like to have the
tires rotated. Do you think rotating four tires that are the same imparis
the driving characteristics more than having front and rear tires that are
not the same?
I think most people should just foolw theeir own counsel when it comes to
tire rotation. If you don't have a strong opinion, then I'd suggest
following the advice of the vehicle manufacturer, which in most cases means
5000 to 8000 mile rotations. Although Volvo had an interesting
recommendation - they recommended doig the first rotation at 3000 miles, and
then following that up with the longer interval.
no, not all michelins are cheap. most are excellent in fact. but, some
are awful - rain force for example. those mxv's that came oem on
interga's are another.
<snip inane verbosity>
ed, this is one of those real basic things like you not finding many
studies on how wheels work - it's obvious to anyone who has any form of
observational ability. take a nice FLAT surface like some 3/4 ply.
dust it with builders chalk, then roll your car across it. on
inspection of the chalk marks on the tires, you'll see how much of each
tread block actually contacts the surface. then, rotate the tires so
the sense changes, and repeat. you'll see a dramatic difference. since
traction with tires is a form of adhesion, not coulomb friction, and
therefore proportional to contact area, it doesn't take a rocket surgeon
to figure out that reducing the contact area by rotation reduces
traction and thus your ability to keep the rubber side of the vehicle
Two thoughts on this experiment:
1) Given that tires support the weight of the vehicle via a combination of
air pressure operating over the contact patch and sidewall stiffness,
shouldn't the contact patch be relatively constant? I can't see how rotating
the tire significantly effected the sidewall stiffness and therefore you
need approximately the same contact patch size to support the vehicle. I
suppose the shape might change somewhat, but this seems like it would be a
2) OK, so how exactly did rotating the tires change the contact patch in
your experiment? Say I move the front tire to the rear. I suppose the actual
load on the tire will be different, so the contact patch would change, but
would it be different than the tire that was originally on the rear? Is the
idea that the tire tread profile is now different? So if the tires are
wearing relatively well, rotating should not be a big deal? So as long as
you rotate before you develope significant wear patterns, then no problem?
3) How significant is this change? Is it really that significant?
Well, as others here have said, not rotating cannot *cause* any
problems whatsoever. It simply allows the signs of the real problem to
show up sooner. Alignment, balance (and not just the wheel/tire
combo), steering, suspension, faulty tires, all of those things can be
the cause. And there are alignment measurements that are rarely
checked, or they are misunderstood.
Look at it this way: If you have a problem that's causing the right
front tire to wear funny, and you rotate, you will now have two tires
wearing funny. How do you gain anything? Find the problem, fix the
problem, and replace the tires as needed. Of course, if it's just bad
design, you won't be finding *or* fixing the problem.
Anyway, the single most important thing you can do to extend tire life
on newer vehicles is balancing. As the car gets older, you do have to
pay attention to alignment and steering/suspension wear or damage.
Sorry, but I absolutely agree with the former and have never
rotated tires, pistons in cylinders, pushrods, rocker arms or
anything else. Establish and maintain the best wheel balance
and alignment you can, be vigilant about and replace worn
suspension parts and go from there.
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