Many car owners are great at taking care of huge maintenance issues with cars. But oftentimes, car owners may forget or neglect tire rotations. Let’s explore the importance of keeping tires rotated during the winter and the importance of rotation when it comes to winter car care.
Winter Car Care Tips – Reasons That You Need to Rotate Your Tires
Tire rotations are one of the best ways to extend the life of your tires and your car. So, why are tire rotations important in the first place? We have good reasons that you need to keep those tires rotated!
- More Even Tire Tread– Perhaps the biggest reason as to why you want to get those tires rotated is the fact that doing so will help to keep the tire treads as even as they can possibly be. Over time, that tread can become unbalanced, uneven and can even jeopardize even the quickest car trip. Lots of factors will place strain on the wheels and the tires. If your tires are not rotated, you run the risk of wearing out the tread quickly, resulting in damage to other car components.
- Safety– As the tread on your tires wears out, you run the risk of damaging other car parts. Should your tire tread get unevenly worn out, the tires will not grip the street surfaces consistently. This of course, presents a danger to anyone riding in the car.
- You Will Extend the Life Of Your Tires– Thanks to a good tire rotation job, you will extend the life of your tires. The more even you keep those tire treads, the longer your vehicle tires will last. If you put those tire rotations on the back burner, you risk one, two or even all four tires wearing out faster. You may even have two or three tires that will have uneven tread- causing you to have to replace them far more often than normal.
- Better Performance – Did you know frequent tire rotations can help your vehicle perform better? Similar to safety, the performance of your vehicle will be directly affected by how even the tread on your tires is distributed. Tire rebalancing is also a task that is often overlooked by car owners- but it definitely impacts the performance of your car.
- Better Working Components– As we stated earlier, tires that are constantly rotated will help other components of your car work better. With tires that are rotated you will have better performance from your brakes, axels, suspension system, wheels and wheel bearings.
Winter Car Care and Tire Rotations- Three Most Common Tire Tread Patterns
Driving on roads that are covered in snow, ice, salt and sleet requires tires that are balanced and have even tread. For tires that lack such, you run the risk of the tire not adequately gripping the road and getting into an accident. Various issues can result in tread patters that are unusual as well as unbalanced. Thanks to complete inspection of tires and their tread wear patterns, car owners can learn about the tread patterns and get those tires rotated ASAP.
So, what are the most three common tire tread patterns?
- Edge wear
- Center wear
- Outer and inner edge wear.
Center wear is typically caused by tires that are overinflated. With that over-inflation, just the center of the tire makes contact with the road. Wear on both the outer and inner edges is a sign of underinflated tires. These parts of the tire come in contact with roads the most. Should you experience severe inner and outer wear then you may have a tire misalignment issue. Other common tire issues also include blistering and cupping of the tire’s sidewall. Often referred to as tire scalloping, tire cupping, results in an uneven tire wear pattern, due to bouncing or up-and-down motions of the wheels- that are irregular.
Generally, older vehicles will have suspension systems that have age on them. This means that they need more attention. If you drive an older car, you don’t want to ignore any suspension issues that you may have. Issues with your suspension will cause the tires to wear out quickly and far more unevenly. With that uneven tread, your tires will not make direct contact with the road. If you leave your suspension system untreated, you will also begin to develop issues with vehicle handling, braking and steering. Sidewall tire blistering is another issue. This means that you can see building or bubbling from the tire’s sidewall. Typically, tire bubbles or bulges result in some sort of physical impact – i.e., the tire hitting a pothole. The liner in the tire’s inner frame can become damaged and create a small tear or hole in the tire’s sidewall. Air could also enter into the structure of the tire- helping to form a blister on the tire. If you leave a tire bubble or blister untreated, then you risk a blowout while driving or even a flattened tire.
Importance of Tire Rotation
Whether you have rear, front or all wheel drive, each tire will form wear at a different rate and have various levels of usage. For example, a vehicle with front wheel drive will have front tires that may have more wear on them because they work harder than the rear tires. Your tire rotations will allow for all of your tires to have even wear, resulting in extended life, better drivability and safety for you.
How Often Should Tires Be Rotated?
While many vehicle experts state that tires should be rotated every 5,000 miles, must auto specialists state that your tires should be rotated each time to go in for an oil change. Many oil change services even offer free tire rotation. Each car expert will offer a different schedule for tire rotations. So, you want to get with your mechanic and get on a tire rotation schedule, depending on your driving habits. For most drivers, a tire rotation should take place every six months. The only way to know how often to rotate your tires, will be to have your tire specialist view your tread and place you on a schedule for tire rotations.
The Factors That Impact Your Tire Tread and Wear
The kind of driver you are and the kind of roads that you drive on, will impact the condition of our tires. Let’s look at these factors and more– that play a role in you tire rotation schedule and your tires.
Do you drive on relatively smooth roads or do you drive on roads that are dirt or paved? The condition of the roads that you drive on will definitely affect the condition of your tires. Tires that rotate on smooth roads will definitely last longer compared to tires that drive on rougher terrain. Additionally, tires that travel on highways at consistent speeds with minimal stopping, will also last longer than tires that stop and accelerate due to patterns in traffic.
The Kind of Driver You Are
What kind of driver are you? Are you a motorist who likes to speed down the street? Are you a meticulous driver on roads that are uneven? The kind of driver that you are, will have a huge impact on the condition of your tires. If you are speeding down the street where there are potholes and areas of uneven pavement, then your tires are going to have uneven tread and become suspectable to tears and uneven wear. Take into consideration your driving habits and style. Then, remember that you tires will have to absorb the impact of the roads that you travel on.
Studies show that tires tend to deteriorate quicker in hotter climates. They also break down faster if they are exposed to direct sunlight. If a tire has direct exposure to UV rays, they are more prone to break down quicker, compared to tires that are not exposed to the harmful rays. The UV rays will break down the durability, flexibility and rubber of a tire over time. Additionally, roads that have snow and debris on them can accelerate the wear and tear of a tire. Salt may dissolve ice and snow on a road, but it also causes a tire’s rubber to deteriorate faster too.
Is Tire Balancing and Rotation the Same Thing?
When you balance a tire, you should also rotate the tire at the same time. Many car owners believe tire rotation and balancing to be the same thing- but it’s not.
When a mechanic rotates a tire, he or she is taking that tire removing it from its present location and then placing that tire in a different position. Whether your tires are moved from front to back or back to front, the movement is that of rotating a tire.
Tire balancing is the act of ensuring that the weight of the combined tire and wheel are evenly distributed. Mechanics use machines to position the tire to balance it correctly and precisely. A tire specialist will used specialized machinery to precisely balance tires. If you have unbalanced tires, then you will certainly feel is as your car will shake and wobble when you drive it.
How Long Do Tires Last If You Don't Rotate Them?
If you decide that tire rotations are not for you, then you are taking some serious risks in your hands. Tire rotations are very important, relatively inexpensive and can really make the difference in a safe car and an unsafe one. So, what happens if you decide not to get your tires rotated?
- Wear formations that are irregular– with differences in load pressure and driving habits, your unrotated tires will begin to develop irregular and unbalanced formations. You will begin to experience one-sided wear along your tires too. Soon, you will begin to see visible tread wears. You may even begin to see the white strings or cords of your tires! Those cords are definite sign that your tires need to be replaced, due to no tire rotation taking place.
- Tires That Are Vibrating – If you’re feeling some lackluster performance from your driving, coupled with some vibrations, this can be due to uneven wear. This is an indicator that you needed to get those tires rotated. Soon, you will begin to bounce in your car and your tires will have decreased contact with the road that is underneath them.
- Loss of Air Pressure– It’s a fact that due to pressure changes and weather conditions, tires lose pressure all of the time. Just this fact alone should have a motorist in a shop for regular tire rotations. If you have one tire lose pressure faster than the rest of the other tires, then you are in some serious trouble. That one tire may have excessive pressure it. This results in uneven and unbalanced interaction with the road.
Just like everything in life we value, tires need attention. Regular balancing and rotation help to preserve the life of a tire, while keeping you safe in your car.
Winter Car Care – Should I Rotate My Winter Tires?
Not only should you rotate those winter tires, but you also want to check your tire pressure. Cold temperatures can impact tire pressure. Snow and salt on the streets can impact wear and tread.
There are some great reasons to rotate winter tires too! They include:
- Snow cornering
- Better steering response
- Increased balanced handling
- Greater braking performance
- Enhanced and better traction on roads that are icy, snowy and slippery and more.
Car Care & Rotating Front Tires with Rear Tires
Most vehicles have front tires that experience far more stress than their rear counterparts. From weight, to cornering force problems and alignment, the front tires receive the brunt of tire wear. When a tire specialist takes the time to take the front tires and place them in the back—at regular intervals, your tires will have a chance to wear at a similar rate.
Should You Rotate Winter Tires on AWD & Rear-Wheel Drive Vehicles?
Drivers should get all-wheel drive tires and rear wheel drive tires rotated at the same time. The front tires on AWD vehicles generally wear out faster compared to the back tires. The sensors that track the AWD vehicles will work in overdrive—especially if the tires have excessive wear. When all four tires are rotated, there is far less stress on the sensors and components of your all-wheel drive system. A vehicle with rear-wheel drive exerts more force from the rear tires. Given such, it is important to rotate tires to the front ensuring an even distribution of wear.
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