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What Is Tire Rotation & Why Is It Important?

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Perhaps you've heard of tire rotation from your local mechanic or read the term in your owner's manual, but you might not know what this car service actually is.

Well, tire rotation is necessary because your vehicle's wheels don't wear evenly. The engine and transmission – both very heavy parts – are usually mounted at the front of the vehicle. Additionally, most vehicles steer from the front and the front wheels take the brunt of cornering forces. All this means the front tires are put under more strain when you drive. As such, they wear down faster.

During a tire rotation, your front tires will be switched with your rear tires. In most cases, left to right will also be switched, so your front left tire will become your rear right tire. Here are just a few reasons why that's necessary.

Prevent Future Blowouts

As tires become excessively worn, there's an increased risk that they will fail. If you've ever had a tire blow out as you drive, you'll know how scary it can be and how easily it can cause you to lose control. Even if it doesn't, you'll be left in the middle of nowhere needing a tire change, which isn't a situation you want to find yourself in when you aren't sure how to change one or don't have a spare. Regular tire rotations prevent excessive wear to help avoid blowouts.

Save Money on New Tires

You might be thinking that tire rotations are a waste of money, but you'll end up saving in the long run. Even if your tires don't actually fail, having two wear down faster than the rest doesn't make financial sense. You'll only need to replace the whole lot much sooner. Having the tires rotated keeps each one at the same level of wear, meaning you'll get your money's worth from all four.

Maintain Good Fuel Efficiency

When some tires are worn down much more than others, horizontal friction increases. Even if you don't notice that from the driver's seat, you'll notice at the gas pump. More friction means decreased fuel efficiency.

Maintain Proper Control

You need all four tires wearing down evenly if you want your vehicle to respond under pressure. Things like the swift acceleration needed for passing or the quick stops required in emergency situations depend on evenly worn tires. That's one reason why many people have their tires rotated just before winter to ensure dependable traction across wet, slippery and icy roads.