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How to Rotate Tires

Jul 18, 2022

A young man in a store is discussing rotating tires with an auto retailer.

Rotating your tires is an important part of car maintenance that many drivers neglect, and it's something that every driver should know how to do. By rotating your tires regularly, you can ensure they wear evenly and last longer. In this article, we’ll show you how to rotate your tires safely and effectively. Here are eight steps that will help you rotate your tires properly.

Use These Eight Steps to Rotate Your Tires

1. Find the Recommended Rotation Pattern for Your Tires

When rotating your tires, it is important to consult your vehicle's owner's manual to find the recommended rotation pattern. Many different patterns are possible, but the best one for your vehicle will be specific to the make and model. Some types of rotation patterns include front-to-rear, side-to-side, and an x-pattern.

2. Remove the Tires

Once you’ve found the appropriate rotation pattern, the next step is to remove the tires from your vehicle. You’ll need a tire iron and a jack to complete this task. First, use the tire iron to remove the hubcap or center cap from the wheel. Next, use the jack to raise the vehicle off of the ground. Be sure to place jack stands under your vehicle before you get started to prevent the vehicle from falling while you work.

3. Clean the Tires

While you have the tires off the car, take the opportunity to clean them. This will help you get a better idea of the tread depth and condition of the tires. This is also a good time to check for any nails or other objects embedded in the tread.

4. Inspect the Tread Depth

Once the tires have been removed and cleaned, you can more easily inspect the tread depth. It’s important to have tires with sufficient tread depth to ensure good traction and safe driving. An easy way to do this is by doing a penny test, which involves placing a penny in the tread with Lincoln's head upside down. If you can see all of Lincoln's head, then the tread depth is less than 2/32 inches, meaing it’s time to replace the tires.

5. Rotate the Tires

After inspecting the tread depth, you can proceed with rotating the tires. For a front-to-rear rotation, the tires on the front of the vehicle are moved to the rear, and vice versa. For a side-to-side rotation, the tires on one side of the vehicle are swapped with the tires on the other. An x-pattern rotation is a little more complicated, but the front tires are moved to the opposite rear position, and the rear tires are moved to the opposite front position.

6. Reinstall the Tires

After the tires have been rotated, it’;s time to reinstall them. Begin by putting the tire on the wheel and snugging it down with the tire iron. Once all four tires are in place, lower the vehicle off the jack stands and remove the stands. Finish by screwing on the hubcaps or center caps.

7. Double Check the Lug Nuts

When rotating tires, you must check your vehicle's lug nuts to ensure they’re tight. Lug nuts can loosen over time, and if they aren’t properly tightened, it can cause the tire to come off while driving. To check the lug nuts, use a torque wrench to ensure they’re tight enough.

8. Determine How Often to Rotate Your Tires

How often to rotate your tires will depend on the make and model of your vehicle, as well as your driving habits. It’s generally a good idea to rotate your tires every 5,000 miles or so. However, you should always consult your owner's manual for specific recommendations.

How to Tell if You Need New Tires

There are several signs that you may need new tires, such as uneven wear, low tread depth, and cracks in the sidewall. If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to have your tires checked by a professional. Driving on worn-out tires can be dangerous, so it is best to err on the side of caution.

How Can Acima Leasing Help?

If you're in the market for a new set of tires, Acima Leasing can help you get the tires you need without using your credit*. Our flexible lease-to-own solutions* make it easy and affordable to take home the tires you’ve been looking for. Acima Leasing also puts you in control with an empowered shopping experience. If you make the number of payments as defined by your lease, you have the option to purchase your items early at a discount. Also, if during your lease, you decide that you don’t want to keep the tires, you can return them in good condition without further obligation and you will only be responsible for any past due lease renewal payments and any associated fees. Find what you’re looking for at a location near you, all without using your credit. ? If you are still interested in reading more about Acima Leasing check out this page or our FAQ page.

Common Questions About Rotating Tires

What happens if a tire rotation is done wrong?

If a tire rotation is done incorrectly, it can cause uneven wear and lead to premature tire failure. It is important to consult your owner's manual or ask a professional to ensure the rotation is done properly.

Why does my car shake after a tire rotation?

If your car shakes after a tire rotation, it’s likely due to an issue with the lug nuts. Check the lug nuts and ensure they’re tight before driving.

Can tire rotation mess up my alignment?

In most cases, a tire rotation will not affect your alignment. However, if your tires are significantly worn, it is possible that the rotations could cause the alignment to be off. If you are concerned about your alignment, it’s best to consult a professional.

Do you cross tires when rotating?

There are several ways to rotate tires, such as front-to-rear, side-to-side, and x-pattern. Consult your owner's manual or a professional to determine the best way to rotate your tires.