Tire rotation extends the life of your tires by preserving balanced handling and traction. It is a very important maintenance duty that ensures tire safety, and should be done every 5,000 to 10,000 miles.
An activity that can be performed on your own with the proper tools, tire rotation is relatively simple and straightforward. All you need is a torque wrench and a car jack.
Here are the basic steps to rotate your tire:
1. Park your car on level ground. Block the tires on the opposite side you are working on first. Loosen the lug nuts on the front and rear wheels (the vehicle’s weight will hold the wheels in place).
2. Elevate the side of the vehicle with your car jack, positioning the jack stands under the axle and behind each wheel.
3. With the side of your car raised, spin off the lug nuts and put them in a safe place. Now comes the fun part — remove the front tire, then the rear, and switch their positions (remember to roll the tires, don’t drag).
4. Before you mount them, inspect the tread. If the tread is worn down to the point it’s at the same height of the wear indicator, it means the life of your tires is nearly finished.
5. After checking tire safety, mount the tires in their new setting. It’s best to have a trusty assistant help out at this point. Have them hold the tire while you snug the lug nuts back on with your torque wrench.
6. With the lug nuts good and tight, jack the car up off the jack stands and slowly let the car drop to the ground.
7. Back to the torque wrench — tighten the lug nuts to their recommended specification. A tip: work lug nuts in the order of a star. When you tighten the lugs that face each other diagonally, it allows them to fit better in their cradles.
8. You’re done with the first side. Now move on to the opposite side and repeat.
Congratulations, you rotated your tires!