How often should I rotate and balance my tires?

Tire rotation and balancing are part of the basic maintenance of your vehicle’s tires to make sure they maintain traction and wear as evenly as possible. Like all maintenance, there are generally different manufacturer recommendations based on make and model. This will be an overview of the general “rules of thumb” that are accepted universally if there is no way for you find the specifications for your specific vehicle.

What is Tire Rotation?

First off, let’s go over what the services actually entail. Tire rotation consists of rotating your current tires to different positions around the car so that all of them wear as evenly as possible. Generally speaking, front tires will show more wear that the rear ones because they are responsible for steering. To combat this, the front and rear tires should be switched to equalize wear.

Depending on the tread pattern of your tires, you will want to just rotate from front to back and back to front, or with non-directional tread tires, you will also switch the side of the car the tires are on. Refer to your owner’s manual for which rotation is best for your vehicle.

What is Balancing?

Balancing tires is the process of checking all of your tires to see if they are supporting an appropriate amount of weight compared to the other tires. If one tire is supporting a disproportionate amount of weight to the others, it will be wearing more or less than the others.

How often should I get these services done?

In order to keep up with your tire maintenance, generally you want to have your tires rotated about every  6,000 miles. The easy way to remember this is to request to have your tires rotated at every other oil change. This interval will maximize the lifespan of your tires. If you have a full-size spare tire, then you can incorporate it into your tire rotation to get the most out of all of your tires.

Balancing the tires can vary more significantly between manufacturer recommendations, but a general rule is every 12,000 miles, or every other tire rotation. The tires should always be balanced if you have new tires put on your rims. If you are experiencing any wheel vibration through the steering wheel, the tires may be out of balance. Balancing the tires should alleviate the vibrations.