Tire Rotation Interval - too short vs. too long?

Joined
Aug 30, 2004
Messages
28,639
Location
CA
Due to various reasons, a neighbor's vehicle was in my driveway for a service visit. It had been 3600 miles since the last oil change and tire rotation. Since the car was already here, he asked me to perform an oil change.

He usually changes his oil when the vehicle's computer alerts him - which tends to be every 6,000 miles. We always rotate the tires at every oil change.

Is it better to rotate the tires now (after only 3,600 miles) or wait until the next service visit (which would result in 9,600 miles since the last rotation)?

Please explain your position and why.

For reference, this is a Honda Civic that sees city driving in hilly terrain. Tires are Michelin X Tour A/S (same as Defender T+H) and as of today, have 9,600 miles on them.
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jan 24, 2013
Messages
1,133
Location
Upstate NY
I'd just do them now, better that waiting for 9k. Its just being conservative, 9k isn't going to hurt either, but I'm anal so I'd do it now.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
1,640
Location
98245
IME, FWD cars cause more uneven tire wear than RWD or AWD. The fronts bear all the forces both acceleration & steering, the rears are just rolling along. So FWD cars need more frequent tire rotations. I'd rotate them because it's FWD, city driving in hilly terrain, and you don't know how long it will be until he returns. It might (or might not) help but it certainly won't cause any harm.
 
Joined
Dec 28, 2011
Messages
4,506
IME, FWD cars cause more uneven tire wear than RWD or AWD. The fronts bear all the forces both acceleration & steering, the rears are just rolling along. So FWD cars need more frequent tire rotations. I'd rotate them because it's FWD, city driving in hilly terrain, and you don't know how long it will be until he returns. It might (or might not) help but it certainly won't cause any harm.

Can you please elaborate? I've only had 2 AWD vehicles, BMW 328Xi and Subaru Outback. My limited experience has been that the AWD vehicles tear up tires much faster than any of the front wheel or 4WD vehicles I've owned.
 

AutoMechanic

Site Donor 2023
Joined
Aug 10, 2020
Messages
9,655
Location
Roanoke Virginia
I think it’ll be fine either way. I like to do my rotates at 5,000-6,000. Also depends on tire brand or series too as I’m aware some tires wear differently and if I have had them wear down fast before I’ll generally recommend a rotate. Generally that’s really bad about happening with OEM tires wearing down fast from what I’ve found. On one of my vehicles I rotate by my interval and not any over because it’s a 4WD and wears the front tires like mad after about 10,000 or so. But I think it’ll be ok this time if he doesn’t want to do it now.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
6,593
Location
Southeast
If they are long wearing tires, it probably doesn’t matter a whole lot. I’m not religious about tire changes and generally go about 10k between them. That’s generally worked for me with the exception of my first experience with a set of UHP all seasons.

Can you please elaborate? I've only had 2 AWD vehicles, BMW 328Xi and Subaru Outback. My limited experience has been that the AWD vehicles tear up tires much faster than any of the front wheel or 4WD vehicles I've owned.

probably depends on the awd, tires used, and driving habits. Keep in my the context will be comparing wear front to rear, not the overall life of the tires. Most AWD is FWD with some on-demand assistance from the rear, except in a few cases like *some* of Subarus transmissions, and other cases where a true center differential is used. I believe the bmw also uses a center differential, with a mechanical limited slip clutch within it which is dynamically tightened/loosened based on throttle and steering inputs. Were you meaning overall tread life, or comparing front and rear wear?

I’ve known 4 awd vehicles, 3 of which were the more common FWD with rear wheel assist. They wore tires just like a FWD, heavier wear up front. I had one AWD subie with a true center differential, and it wore tires extremely evenly, with only a slight nod towards heavier wear on the front.

my current RWD Lexus on softer rubber is wearing the rears 3:1.
 
Joined
Jun 4, 2003
Messages
1,640
Location
98245
Can you please elaborate? I've only had 2 AWD vehicles, BMW 328Xi and Subaru Outback. My limited experience has been that the AWD vehicles tear up tires much faster than any of the front wheel or 4WD vehicles I've owned.
... probably depends on the awd, tires used, and driving habits. Keep in my the context will be comparing wear front to rear, not the overall life of the tires. Most AWD is FWD with some on-demand assistance from the rear, except in a few cases like *some* of Subarus transmissions, and other cases where a true center differential is used. ...
The bold faced was exactly my point. My comment was about the difference in wear between fronts and rears, not the total wear. It's the difference in wear at different corners of the car that makes rotation so important.
 
Joined
Feb 20, 2007
Messages
6,593
Location
Southeast
how odd. I’ve never seen that. i think you’ll find here the common thinking will be that a FWD will eat tires more unevenly in general.

a couple of considerations - the bmw X LSD motor which constantly changes the lsd bias is known to fail - folks have been known to just pull them out to let it be an open clutch to avoid binding. Did you experience binding in turns? And, which year and trans did the Outback have? They’ve gone through several different architectures?
 
Joined
Feb 8, 2011
Messages
976
Location
Canadia
I would let a tread depth gauge tell me if it's time for a rotation or not. If the depth at the shoulders is less on the fronts than on the rears, that difference will only become greater over the next 6000 miles due to steering. Likewise for the centre of the tread due to acceleration and a greater percentage of overall braking.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
370
Location
Iowa
I question the point of tire rotation with each oil change, in my case every 5000-6000 miles. Driving a 2018 Subaru Forester with Michelin CC2's. Thoughts?

They are directional tires, so it is only a front to rear swap each time. Wish I had the option of doing a X rotation.
 
Joined
Feb 27, 2009
Messages
8,071
Location
down in the park
I rotate once ayear, that is to say my front summer tyres of last year will become my rear tyres this summer, they cover about 10k miles this way.

Same deal with the winters.


I'd put the least worn tyres on the front of the civic, it's the best chance of even wear you got. You could swap them left to right though if not directional.
 
Joined
Nov 9, 2008
Messages
20,857
Location
NH
I question the point of tire rotation with each oil change, in my case every 5000-6000 miles. Driving a 2018 Subaru Forester with Michelin CC2's. Thoughts?

They are directional tires, so it is only a front to rear swap each time. Wish I had the option of doing a X rotation.
Depends on how twisty your roads are. Me, if I go 10k I will see feathering and noticeable depth difference on my FWD. My one RWD, same roads, seemed ok after 10k. No idea yet on my awd, but I know its FWD 99% of the time so ots getting 5k rotations.
 
Joined
Oct 10, 2021
Messages
370
Location
Iowa
Most of my roads are fairly straight. But what's the difference between running 20,000 miles between rotations, if all you do is swap front to rear? Same miles on front and rear both ways?

I can understand if you can do the cross pattern, and have all tires rotated between 4 wheels. Maybe I'm missing something? Always willing to listen to another view and learn.
 

hrv

Joined
Sep 14, 2021
Messages
1,263
Most of my roads are fairly straight. But what's the difference between running 20,000 miles between rotations, if all you do is swap front to rear? Same miles on front and rear both ways?

I can understand if you can do the cross pattern, and have all tires rotated between 4 wheels. Maybe I'm missing something? Always willing to listen to another view and learn.
I have always just rotated front to rear on the same side and usually get around 70 to 80 thousand miles out of my tires...Most of the time they have been Michelins on the vehicle...
 
Joined
Feb 22, 2003
Messages
4,289
Location
Somewhere in the US
First, each wheel position not only does different things, but there is a difference in the weight, the camber, the toe, etc. This causse tires to wear in different patterns.

Further, uneven tire wear is a curve that starts off slowly and gets worse more rapidly the longer a tire stays on one corner. Rotating tires tends to reverse that wear pattern by laying a new pattern on top of whatever is already there.

Therefore, frequent rotations are a good thing and the longer the interval, the more likely a wear pattern can become a noise generating permanent pattern. You want to avoid this.

So the issue is how much time, effort, and money are you willing to put out to avoid this. There no such thing as too frequent except for those 3 things.
 
Top