Tire Rotation & Tread Inspection

Tire Rotation and Tread Inspection – Getting in Gear with Car Maintenance

Tire Rotation and Tread Wear InspectionTires are the focus of this post in our series on Getting in Gear with Car Maintenance. As one of the most important safety and performance features on your vehicle, tires need the same attention to maintenance that essential mechanical components require. Tire rotation and tread inspection are two recommended maintenance items that need to be done regularly.

What tire rotation and tread inspection do for vehicle performance

Tire rotation and tread inspection are about extending the usable life of your tires and making sure they are safe. By rotating the tires, you can balance out the wear to get the most even wear on all four tires. Since tires in different positions do not wear the same, this will also help to assure there is a safe and sufficient amount of tread on every tire.

What happens during tire rotation and tread inspection service?

Rotation service consists of rotating or repositioning tires by moving them from one side of the vehicle to the other. Depending on the vehicle manufacturer recommendation, this may include moving them from front to back. Tires tend to wear differently depending on their position, the condition of your suspension, and the way you drive. When your auto service professional rotates your vehicle’s tires, the front tires are usually swapped with the rear tires. Typically the driver side tires stay on the driver side and the passenger side tires stay on the passenger side. This can vary with different types of vehicles or tires.

Why tire rotation and tread inspection are necessary

Regular rotation and tread inspection are important because tires are subjected to a tremendous amount of wear. Without proper rotation, your tires will wear prematurely, preventing you from getting the most from your tire investment. Tire rotation protects your investment by extending the quality and service life of your tires. Tire rotation is also important because it promotes safe and even tread wear. Front and rear tires wear differently. Front tires are subjected to much more pressure than rear tires, so the tread wears more rapidly on the front tires. Regular rotation also improves driving performance and gas mileage.

Quality tires are expensive! It only makes sense to get the most for your money. Tire rotation and tread inspection service will keep your vehicle safe and to keep your tires properly maintained to get the most from them.

How often tire rotation and tread inspection are needed

Generally speaking tire rotation is recommended every 5,000 to 10,000 miles. Your service manual will provide you with the best maintenance schedule for your particular make and model vehicle.

On the Road Again

Dear Tracy,
This summer my family and I are planning to take a driving trip out west, with the Grand Canyon National Park being our ultimate destination. We expect the trip to be around 3,000 miles. Although our car is reliable, it is several years old, has over 100,000 miles on it, and it has been awhile since we’ve purchased a new set of tires. Tracy, what do you recommend we do to prepare our car for the trip?

-Beverly D.

Dear Beverly,

It sounds like you have a wonderful trip planned! When I was a kid, we made a similar trip, traveling the Historic Route 66 and taking in the sites of classic America, including the Cadillac Ranch. If you happen to stop there and see “Tracy Was Here” on the tire of a 1949 caddie, you’ll know who it was!

You are smart to think about preparing your vehicle for a long road trip. When it comes to your tires, you will first need to check your tread depth – the old fashion penny test works great for this. Adequate tread is absolutely essential to assure proper traction and safe handling. Next, you should make sure that your tires are properly inflated. For summer driving, you can keep the pressure a little closer to the maximum, but always keep it below that maximum. Finally, it is a good idea to make sure you have a spare tire available, and that it is in good working order.

To be extra confident on the road, you can have your tires and spare inspected before your trip. This would also be a great opportunity to have a few other important auto service checks performed:

  • Hoses & Belts
  • Oil, Coolant, & Fluids
  • Brakes
  • Wipers
  • Lights
  • Battery

Though preparing for a trip can keep you extremely busy, it is worth the extra time to have these tire and auto service checks done. Your summer vacation time is limited, and you want to spend that time on the road, not on the side of the road, waiting for a tow!