How to Do a Tire Rotation at Home

Rack of Tires

Tire rotation is a crucial part of getting the longest life possible out of your tires, as well as improving your tire traction—something you know is especially important on rainy days in Santa Cruz! Many Watsonville drivers choose to bring their vehicle to a nearby service center, but if you’ve got the right equipment and the desire to learn how to do a tire rotation, you can save money by doing the job yourself at home! If you think you might want to give it a shot, check out this guide from the staff at Santa Cruz Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram for how to rotate tires at home.

Why Tire Rotation is Necessary

All four tires tend to wear differently due to driving habits, your vehicle’s drivetrain, and other factors. Normal driving simply stresses the tires unevenly, too. For example, turning corners causes extra wear on the outer edges of the front tires. In addition, each tire will wear differently on its inside and outside edges. If you leave your tires in the same positions without rotating, your car will have less traction navigating Scotts Valley, and the uneven wear will be exacerbated. As a result, you’ll end up needing to replace the tires much sooner.

How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?

Based on whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive, you’ll follow a different tire rotation schedule. As always, before setting out to rotate tires at home, we recommend you check your owner’s manual first to learn about any special requirements for your particular make and model.

  • Front-Wheel Drive: Rotate FWD tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
  • Rear-Wheel Drive: Rotate RWD tires every 5,000 to 7,000 miles.
  • All-Wheel Drive: Because all tires are actively engaged, they will wear more quickly. Experts recommend rotating AWD tires every 3,000 to 5,000 miles.

Tire Positions

Once again, the question of FWD, RWD or AWD will impact how to do a tire rotation on your vehicle:

  • FWD Tires:
    • First move the front tires to the back, keeping them in the same left/right positions.
    • Then move the rear tires to the front, this time switching their right/left positions.
  • RWD Tires: For RWD vehicles, it’s the opposite.
    • First move the back tires to the front, keeping their left/right positions.
    • Then move the front tires to the rear, switching their left and right positions.
  • AWD Tires: Rotate your AWD tires the same way as RWD tires.

How To Perform Your Tire Rotation

  1. Find a level work surface to rotate your tires safely.
  2. Engage the parking brake to keep your vehicle stable.
  3. Raise each corner of the car off the ground with your jack, and place the jack stands one at a time.
  4. Remove the hubcaps and loosen the lug nuts on all four wheels, but don’t take them all the way off. This step makes it much easier to unscrew the tires when the car is elevated.
  5. Use four jack stands or wood blocks to elevate the entire vehicle off the ground. Then use your jack to raise each corner of the car, and then install your jack stand. Consult your owner’s manual for the correct placement of the jack.
  6. Remove the lug nuts from all four tires and roll them to their new locations. Keep track of the lug nuts!
  7. Place your tires on the studs and hand-tighten them into their new spots.
  8. To lower the car, raise each corner up with your jack and remove the jack stands one at a time.
  9. When the car is back on the ground, tighten the lug nuts as much as you can by hand. It’s best to work the lug nuts diagonally from one to another in a star pattern to ensure even tightening. The brake rotor could begin to warp If the lug nuts aren’t tightened evenly.
  10. Use a torque wrench to finalize tightening lug nuts to spec. For most cars it is somewhere between 80–100 ft/lbs. For trucks, 90–140 ft/lbs.
  11. Put the hubcaps back on by replacing the lug nuts. Now is a good time to check tire pressure and add some if necessary.
Tire Change

Visit Santa Cruz Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram for Expert Advice on How to Do a Tire Rotation!

If you’d prefer to leave tire rotation in the hands of an expert, or you just want a few tips for getting it done yourself, stop by our Service Department. Our expert mechanics are happy to help you out and answer any questions you have about removing dents or keeping your Dodge Durango or Ram 3500 running perfectly. Get in touch to schedule service, and check out more car care guides on the Santa Cruz Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram blog, like how to reset your tire pressure. We hope to see you soon!

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