New car tires aren’t exactly the cheapest repair need for your vehicle, so it’s important to do everything you can to extend their life. There are a few ways to do this, but one quick and simple task is to have your tires rotated.

What It is

A tire rotation service involves the auto technician taking the tires off the vehicle and moving them to a different axle. The pattern of the rotation depends on the vehicle and the tires themselves, which is why it’s best to leave the job to a professional. They’ll know which pattern is best and will keep your tires in good shape.

When to Do it

It’s likely that when you’ve brought your car into an auto service center for an oil change, the technician has asked if you’d also like to get your tires rotated. Unexpected, additional costs can often throw the driver for a loop. Luckily, the cost of this service is actually quite low— it’s typically cheaper than an oil change. You should get your tires rotated about every 5,000 miles, which is roughly the interval for getting your oil changed as well, so it’s easy to take care of both tasks on the same day.

Why It’s Important

Tires wear down over time, and if you don’t get them rotated regularly, they’ll wear unevenly. For front-wheel drive vehicles, the front tires have to do more work than the back tires, leading to more wear. By rotating them and switching the front tires to the back, the tires are getting that opportunity to wear down at the same rate and in the same areas.

Uneven tire wear can cause a loss of traction, the vehicle pulling to one side, and a vibrating steering wheel. These all mean that you’ll need to replace the tires and, although that’s something that needs to be done eventually, you don’t want to have to do it too frequently.

Tire rotations only take about 30 minutes and are rather inexpensive, so it’s a small price to pay for your tires lasting longer and saving you from a bigger purchase too soon.

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