Tires do a lot of work: They transfer engine power and braking forces to the road; they handle steering control; and they cushion all those bumps and jolts. They also support the entire weight of the vehicle, including you and your passengers. With such critical work to do, you want your tires to do their job well. And since replacing tires is fairly expensive, you want them to last as long as possible.
There are three keys to long even tire wear:
- Proper tire inflation
- Proper wheel alignment
- Regular tire rotation and balancing
The front tires on a car take the brunt of the steering forces. As they push through turns, the shoulders of the front tires wear down more quickly than the rear tires. Rotating front and rear tires allows them to all wear at about the same rate. That’s especially true of front wheel drive vehicles whose front tires steer, and put the power to the road.
SUVs and pick-ups, especially four wheel drives, also tend to wear their tires more unevenly than cars because of their suspension and drive train set-up. Your owner’s manual will likely contain a schedule for tire rotation. It’s usually every 5,000 miles or so.
Also, there are different rotation patterns for different vehicles. Your service center will know which is right for your vehicle. That brings us to wheel balancing. When wheels are balanced, they spin on the axle evenly. When they are out of balance, they wobble a bit. That makes the tires wear unevenly and may transmit a vibration to the car. Your service technician puts weights on your wheels to balance them out so that they turn true and smooth.
Tires are a big investment for any vehicle. They’re critical for keeping you safely on the road. The cost for regular rotation and balancing is more than made up in extended tire life. And, can you really put a price on your safety and that of your passengers?