If someone told you there was a fairly inexpensive way to improve your vehicle's handling, fuel economy and extend the life of your tires, you'd probably ask, "What do I have to do?" The answer is to rotate your tires. But you have to do it regularly.
A lot of drivers think skipping tire rotation is a way to save money. But when you don't rotate your tires, they will almost certainly wear unevenly. That's because when your tires touch the surface of the road, the friction and traction causes miniscule parts of the rubber to come off. And that process isn't exactly the same on each corner of your vehicle. Some vehicles have the drive wheels in the front, some in the rear and some on all wheels.
Rotating your tires at regular intervals minimizes the differences in the way the tires wear. The amount and pattern will be spread out equally if your tires spend time at all different positions. The more even the wear, the more consistent traction, handling and braking will be. All four tires will last longer this way, and when it is time to replace your tires, they'll all be worn out the same so you can replace all four with the same model tire.
Some people who choose not to rotate their tires find that one or two will wear much faster than the others, and often they'll replace just the worn ones. While you can find similar tires, they won't all be the same and will certainly not have the same amount of wear.
There are different tire rotation patterns depending on several factors: front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, all-wheel drive, directional tires/wheels, different sized wheels/tires on front and rear axles. Also keep in mind that when your tires are new, some tire manufacturers require you to rotate them or else they won't honor the warranty.
Your manufacturer recommends intervals for tire rotation, so it's best to follow their suggestion. Your vehicle service facility can advise you when you need to get your tires rotated. And many facilities include free tire rotation for as long as they're on your vehicle if you buy your tires at their shop.
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