Why rotate and balance tires?

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Jun 29, 2005
E. Texas
I started a thread a few months ago about the necessity of balancing your tires each time you rotate. Now, I'm wondering, assuming you detect no unusual wear or handling problems, why even rotate tires? I mean if there are things going on like vibrations it is probably indicitive of another problem. Rotating tires is suppose to make the wear even so that when the time comes you replace all four at once, thereby streatching out the replacemsnt schedule. But they will be replaced. So what if you buy two a little earlier than four? Now I can see some rough road situations or various drive type vehicles and those that weigh a whole bunch putting extra wear on but for most situations is rotating tires really necessary or economical (especially if you have to pay for this each time)?
I try my best to wear my tires evely so all four need to be replaced at once. If you don't, you may run into a problem, such as front wheel drive vehicles, where the rear tires hardly see any wear, and can last as long as 100K. They'll rot and become a "come-apart" danger on the vehicle before they're worn out. It doesn't cost anything if you do it yourself. I'll admit that I often only rotate once during the life of the four tires. This usually does the trick. There's also a bit of that "anal" factor of starting out fresh with only one visit to the tire dealer.
One reason to keep tires wearing evenly is handling characteristics. Vehicles just don't handle the same with almost worn out tires on one axle and new ones on the other. Not much of an issue on dry pavement where you have a surplus of traction, but a much bigger deal on wet or slick surfaces.
the biggest reason to do it is that rotation cost nothing at all and it does not hurt anything. it can only help. with that said, i notice that if i dont rotate m&s tyres they seem to develop a sawtoothed wear pattern over the tread. the more agressive the tread, the more this is evident to me. it doesnt seem to happen on summer tyres.
Its much better to wear them out at the same rate, or for the life of the vehicle you will have tires with different tread depths. If you can extend the life of your tires, why not do it? I do it myself at each oil change, but most any place where you purchase tires will include lifetime rotation. I also constantly see a coupon in the mail for free tire rotation at a local tire shop. [I dont know]
BMW says not to rotate tires. imo, it accelerates wear. I don't rotate my AWD or FWD tires on a set schedule, but according to seasons. I'll leave a worn set on front to use them up or to save the better rear ones to put up front in winter. Who wants 50/50 wear? It does not work best on the road when the tires are 50/50, more like 60f/40r or 70f/30r. Something to think about.
All the cars in my taxi fleet are FWD and I don't rotate the tires. When the front ones are worn out, I move the back tires to the front and put 2 new ones on the back. It works OK since I don't run the tires all the way bald before replacing them. I've got enough maintenance items to look after so tire rotations are history. I've never noticed accelerated wear. Average miles/tire is the same as if I had rotated them every 10k.
Tires are so expensive for my car that I prefer to buy only two tires at a time. I drive about 20k a year, and get about 40k of life out of a pair of tires, so it works out perfectly. I bought new front tires in Sept 2004, and new back tires last week. So next fall I'll buy new fronts again, and the following fall I'll buy new rear tires again. I can't rotate, as my fronts are 245-45-17s and my rears are 275-40-18s.
Great! I've gotten a lot of good opinions and experienced based ideas to my original question. I guess if you can get your tires rotated free and you find the time just do it. It might not do a whole lot of good but probably won't do any harm. But if you pay each time (every 7000 miles or so) it might not be cost effective in the long term. Like everything else, it probably will be decided by the bottom line. I like olympics response a lot because it is based on his real life experience with a fleet of hard driven cabs. He has not noticed a whole lot of difference in wear between rotated and non-rotated tires. That experience means a lot - thanks!
A car that carries the same weight on its left and right tires (per axle) will wear its tires quite evenly. You can insure that your tires are carrying the same weight on each side by havein the car corner weighted. Unfortunately, most cars do not have any adjustments for this if it is found that the tires are not carrying the same weight, so fixing the problem may involve the manufacture of shims. Cars designed to be adjusted use adjustible spring perches.
I think the taxi fleet example has one flaw. When tires stay too long on the rear positions of a FWD, they might develop irregular wear, which comes out as noise or vibration. I'm going to guess that either of these would be more acceptable for a taxi than someone's personal car.
Best bet for FWDers, who drive a lot, is just plan on a new set every Fall for the front. Great traction for Winter and put the old ones in rear. You never have bald tires, always have the right set-up for the seasons and no hassle with rotating. btw- keeping the tires on the same side is the best rotation scheme, cross-rotating is only for when there is a problem.
Close to what I plan. The tires on my 02 Cavalier are still right where the factory put them. With 65K, the fronts no longer provide acceptable traction. Time for the rotation plainly father in law liked, fronts to trash, back to front, new on the rear. That way the light back end keeps turning while the fronts stop the car. Otherwise, the ABS shuts off the braking.
I rotate every 10,000 miles. My Golf travels 60,000 miles between tire replacements (on GoodYear tires)and my BMW is a 50,000 miler (on Continental tires) between tire replacements. Neither vehicle wears the tires abnormally. The tires get replaced when they become unstable on the wet surfaces or they have reached the wear bars,, whichever comes first. If I didn't rotate the tires on my Golf then the front tires would last about 2/3'ds the duration of the rears. The BMW would wear the rear tires at approximately twice as fast as the fronts.
The ONLY acceptable traction in snow with FWD is new tires. New tires in the back would be pointless here.
with newer vehicles especially AWD or Auto Four-wheel drive it is very necessary to have the tires rotated/balanced and replaced to maintain similar size all around. with the new Auto 4wd systems, if a vehicle has worn tires on the front and new tires on the rear the tires are moving at different speeds simulating tire slip which will tell the computer to apply power at the front wheels, this will obviously disrupt ride comfort and cause handle problems vibrations and unneeded wear and tear on drivetrain components.
"The ONLY acceptable traction in snow with FWD is new tires. New tires in the back would be pointless here." Bridgestone/Firestone actually suggests that if only replacing 2 tires, to put them on the rear no matter what drive they are. They are more concentrating on stopping traction on wet/slippery surfaces then start out traction. New tires on the rear would increase stopping traction, minmize spin-out and reduce over/understeer
Stopping is a non-issue if you can't get moving. Just another bone-headed "suggestion" to sell you more product. I'll take my traction in front, thanks. Upon braking all the weight transfers to the front, what good is the tread on the rears gonna do? I've seen that new recommendation, it's based on a specific panic turn/brake situation with a top-heavy minivan and a retarded driver. Anyone with common sense and experience will put new tires in front. PS in my cars, I can't induce the rear to come around no matter how bald the rear tires are.
I think tire rotqation is neccesary in AWD and 4x4 vehicles. For single axle driven vehicles it may not be but if the tires are the same size it would estend the overall tire life.
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