Rotating your tires periodically is an essential part of tire maintenance. The main purpose of regularly rotating tires is to achieve more uniform wear for all tires on the vehicle. If no rotation period or pattern is to be found in your owner’s documentation, rotate your tires at least every 6,000 miles and follow one of the patterns suggested below.
However, rotate your tires earlier if irregular or uneven wear develops, and check with a qualified tire dealer or alignment shop to determine the cause of the wear problem. Remember that a hard impact such as hitting a pothole can cause misalignment, which then causes uneven tire wear.
Don’t include your temporary spare in any tire rotation; it’s for emergency use only. But do take the opportunity at this time to check the air in the spare (remember this unit typically requires a much higher air pressure than the other tires and may fail to serve its purpose if it isn’t up to pressure). If you do have a full size spare and wish to include it in the rotation, use one of the patterns shown and insert the spare in the right rear position. Place the tire that would have gone on the right rear in the trunk as the new spare.
Remember that certain tires cannot be rotated in the patterns described. These include tires with asymmetric or uni-directional tread designs. Also, some vehicles are equipped with different size tires on the front and rear axles. Check the owner’s manual for the proper rotation in these cases.
Finally, check the inflation pressures and have them adjusted for the tire’s new positions. Under-inflated or over-inflated tires may result in poor handling, uneven treadwear or poor fuel consumption. Also check that the lugnuts have been properly installed and torqued.