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Is It Bad To Not Rotate Your Tires?

There are definitely benefits to rotating tires, but it can be inconvenient. Is tire rotation worth the time and effort? The answer is yes, for several reasons.

Is It Bad To Not Rotate Your Tires?

It isn’t necessarily bad to not rotate your tires but there are many benefits that are missed if you don’t have this tire maintenance service performed.

Due to tire warranty requirements, improved tire life, smoother ride, better traction, and the fact that tire rotation can often be done for free, make having your tires rotated worthwhile.

The main downside to tire rotation is the time it takes you to have the service performed.

Tires are expensive. Getting the most life out of them seems makes sense. You also want them to perform their best so that you and your passengers are as safe as possible if the tires are ever put to the test.

Tires are probably the single most important part of your car or truck. As the only component that comes into physical contact with the road surface, we demand a lot from them.

Let’s dive into the pros and cons of tire rotation.

does tire rotation cause shaking

Do you really need to rotate your tires?

There is no law requiring tire rotation, but it is required if you need to claim the tire manufacturer’s mileage warranty. Rotating the tires of your car or truck will spread the tread wear more evenly across the tread and help you use more of the tread so that your tires will last longer, ride smoother, and ultimately save you money.

Tire Mileage Warranty

Mileage warranties provided by tire manufacturers require tires be rotated before a certain amount of miles for a warranty claim to be approved. You will need to be able to provide documented proof that the tires have been rotated regularly according to the manufacturers requirements.

Mileage warranties can save you a lot of money by covering the cost of the unused miles claimed by the warranty toward a replacement set of tires. Whether a mileage warranty is worthwhile to you depends on many factors. Driving style, vehicle type, suspension modifications, how well the tires, wheels, and suspension are maintained, and more.

You may be a very conservative driver with a mild suspension or an aggressive driver with a very aggressive suspension and the same warranty will apply. A conservative driver may never have a need for the warranty while an aggressive driver may be able to recoup quite a bit of unrealized guaranteed mileage, saving them quite a bit of money.

Tire Life

Tires last longer when rotated. The reason is that your tires don’t sit perfectly flat and square against the road surface. Each tire has slight adjustments to the angle that it comes into contact with the pavement that help improve stability and handling.

These alignment adjustments are called toe, camber, and caster. Each of these angle adjustments will cause the tire to shift how it contacts the road and cause the tread to wear unevenly but for the benefit of making your car or truck safer to drive.

There is usually a large difference between how front tires wear versus how rear tires wear. A front wheel drive car will wear front tires very quickly compared to the rear tires. Rear wheel drive vehicles usually wear out the rear tires more quickly. Swapping front and rear tires can drastically improve the life of all the tires.

If tire rotation isn’t performed regularly, the area with the most pressure on your tire tread will wear more quickly than the surrounding tread since it is never getting shifted around to the lesser used portions of the tire.

Eventually, this point of contact will wear out and make the tire unusable despite there being healthy tread still left on some portions of the tire.

Smooth Ride

Poor alignment or out of balance tires can cause uneven wear that can cause vibrations and shaking. Unevenly worn tires can even reduce traction and handling ability.

By having tire rotation performed regularly you will have more balanced wear across the face of the tire tread. This will create a more quiet ride and improve performance.

Save Money

Ultimately, tire rotation leads to money in your pocket. The primary requirement for tire warranties to be honored is that you rotate your tires by the amount of mileage they specify. Tire manufacturers require this because it extends the life of the tires. And as long as you follow through on this requirement, you can cash in on that warranty despite even having a vehicle with a sports suspension that wears through tires more quickly.

boys waiting to get tires rotated

Time And Effort

Tire maintenance is easy to ignore. Most of us don’t like sitting in a waiting room while we have our tires rotated. I myself am a professional procrastinator so I empathize with this mindset.

Cars and trucks do need maintenance. Having a tire rotation performed along with other maintenance services being performed can allow you to kill two birds with one stone as they say. This is my best suggestion for dealing with the only true downside of tire rotation.

Reduce time sitting in waiting rooms by scheduling as many services at once. Don’t exceed the mileage your tire manufacturer requires to maintain your tire warranty, but try to time services so they can be grouped together.

How many miles can I expect from a set of tires?

Different types of tires will wear down at different rates. Also, different types of cars and trucks and driving style can make a big difference in how long tires will last.

The best way to gauge how many miles you can expect to get from a set of tires is to look at the mileage warranty. This is the amount the tire manufacturers recommend you to expect and the amount they are willing to guarantee a refund for the unrealized amount if not met.

The catch with tire warranties is the tire manufacturers expect you to perform proper tire maintenance in the for of having the tires regularly rotated.

Final Thoughts

Tire warranties usually require that you keep your tires regularly rotated. If you can’t provide proof that your tires have been rotated according to the specifications your tire manufacturer requires they will deny any mileage warranty claim.

Tire rotation is also important to ensure even tire wear and get the most life from your tires. Uneven wear can create vibrations and noise, or even prevent your tires from handling as well as they could if the the tires had worn evenly.

All this said, you don’t have to rotate your tires, but it will help you get the most out of your tires and help you save money in the long run.

Not rotating tires regularly will shorten tire life and can allow alignment and balance problems from going unnoticed until the effects have ruined your tires and require the purchase of a new set.

The only real disadvantage of tire rotation is the time it takes to have the service performed. Tire rotation is often performed as a free service or is very inexpensive. I recommend having your tires rotated at the same time as other services to limit the inconvenience.


Below are some links you may find helpful when learning about tires

About The Author
Will Creech
Will has been an automotive enthusiast since he was old enough to make engine sounds. Formerly a member of the contract training team at Discount Tire, he is unusually knowledgeable on all things related to tires. He is now the owner of and main contributor to TireGrades.com.
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