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If you haven’t recently had your tires rotated, you shouldn’t skip this step. Read on to learn exactly why.
In the long run, a near miss can cause as much trouble as a full-on fender bender. Each time you slam on the brakes, your front tires take a hit, and, already bearing the brunt of the car’s weight, they wear down a little faster than their rear counterparts. But by rotating tires every 5,000 miles or with every oil change, car owners can maintain an egalitarian workload and ensure that each tire takes a crack at all four wheel positions. This even distribution will pay off in the long run, as it reduces tread wear across all the wheels and keeps drivers from hydroplaning—which they can do even at moderate speed given as little as 10 millimeters of water on the road.
Not all cars and tires are the same, so mechanics exercise caution when performing a rotation. They should always start by checking the owner’s manual as well as the tire manufacturer for recommendations and requirements for rotation patterns. For instance, staggered wheels—or those with bigger front tires—cannot be moved from front to back, and unidirectional wheels can’t shift from side to side. But, no matter the make or model of the car, tires need to be rotated regularly, if not for the sake of safety, then at least to preserve the validity of tire-mileage warranties.