Why should I rotate my tires?
Tire rotation should be part of your regular tire maintenance routine to achieve uniform wear and to maximize tread life. Rotating your tires helps equalize front-to-rear and side-to-side wear rates while enhancing wear quality and pattern noise ultimately saving you money and headaches down the road.
Should I rotate all four tires?
The tires on each wheel position accomplish different tasks and thus different wear rates and different types of tire wear will be experienced. For example, a front-wheel drive car will wear tires differently than a rear-wheel drive car. And tire wear on a performance vehicle will usually be more severe than tires on a four-door sedan. It’s certainly an advantage when all four tires wear together as a result of regular tire maintenance and tire rotation. As wear reduces a tire’s tread depth, it allows the four tires to respond to a driver’s input more quickly. In turn, this maintains the handling of the vehicle and helps increase the cornering action of the tire. By wearing all four tires together, you can replace all four tires together allowing you to maintain the original handling balance.
It’s important to note that tire rotation cannot correct wear problems due to worn parts or incorrect tire inflation pressures.
Don’t forget the spare!
Full-size spare tires (not temporary spares), of the same size and construction as the ground contact tires, should be included in the tire rotation. And you should always check and adjust the inflation pressure of the full-size spare when incorporating it into rotation.
What pattern do I follow?
Follow the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for the rotation pattern and interval. Unless otherwise specified by the vehicle manufacturer, rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles (10,000-12,000 kilometers) or sooner if uneven tread wear begins to appear. If tires start to show uneven tread wear, ask your service person to check and/or correct any vehicle wheel misalignment or other mechanical problem that may be causing the uneven wear. Remember to adjust the tire inflation pressures according to the vehicle manufacturer’s recommendation for the new wheel position (specified front and rear position tire pressures may be different).
Please note: Do not reverse the rolling direction of directional tires.
Why is my TPMS now on?
Rotation of your tires may affect the Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS). Consult your vehicle owner’s manual or a qualified service professional to make the proper adjustments or recalibration of the system.
How about rotating my winter/snow tires?
Just like your summer or all-season tires, winter tires should also be rotated to achieve the best possible performance and longest life. Tire rotation will help maintain tire wear on all four tires regardless of the different driving demands experienced on a vehicle’s steering and non-steering positions. Tire rotation will help keep tread depths equivalent helping to balance traction levels and handling characteristics, extending the life of the tire.
Please note, the rolling direction of studded tires should not be changed. Tires should be rotated from front to rear on the same side of the vehicle. If uneven wear is detected, tires can be remounted inside-out on the wheels to allow them to be used on the other side of the vehicle.
This can be a tough question to answer because so many variables are involved, but for the most part it depends on temperature. Here's a good rule of thumb: If the winter temperatures where you live are regularly below 45 degrees F,you should invest in a set of four snow tires.If you live in a place where it rarely snows and the winter temperatures are relatively mild, like the Southern United States, a good set of all-season tires will generally cover you for year-round use.
How are winter tires different from all-season tires?
All-season tires are built to handle a variety of road conditions - dry roads, wet roads, and in many cases, light snow. Winter tires are built specifically to perform in winter conditions like low temperatures, ice, slush, and snow. The tread compound of all-season tires can harden in low temperatures, so there's less traction between the road and your tires. But winter tires use special rubber compounds that stay pliable in the cold, giving them better grip and improved braking, even in extreme conditions.
I have all-wheel drive (or four-wheel drive) so I don't need winter tires, right?
Sorry...wrong. All-wheel drive and four-wheel drive improve traction by sending power to all four wheels when you accelerate (instead of just two wheels, as in front- or rear-wheel drive). But 4WD or AWD doesn't help at all once you put on the brakes. Winter tires improve traction whether you're accelerating, turning, or braking.
Do I really need to buy four winter tires, or can I get away with just two?
Winter tires should only be installed in sets of four, regardless of whether your vehicle is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or all-wheel drive. Using two different types of tires can give your vehicle a "split personality" where the front and rear are not working together. For the best handling, control, and safety in tough cold-weather conditions, we strongly recommend using four winter tires.
Plus, if you were to put two snow tires on the front of your car, and keep your all-season tires on the back, your all-season tires wouldn't wear evenly.
What's up with "M+S" and the "mountain/snowflake" symbol on the sidewall?
If you want reliable winter traction, make sure this is on your sidewall.
Many people think these mean the same thing - that a tire is good in snow and other wintry conditions. But they actually mean completely different things. A sidewall mark of M+S (or M/S, M&S, MS) means that you have an all-season tire that has been approved for use in mud and snow by the Rubber Manufacturer's Association (RMA). These tires will provide traction in light snow, but we wouldn't want to be caught in a blizzard with a set of M+S tires.
The mountain/snowflake symbol on the sidewall means that a tire has been approved for "severe snow service" by the RMA. These tires are tested to be sure they meet the RMA's standards for snow traction.
We certainly wouldn't recommend it. When used in warm weather, the softer rubber compound can wear out faster than the compound used in all-season tires. If you used your winter tires year-round, it would end up costing you more than switching between two sets of tires.
Let’s say tennis shoes. You could wear them all year round, whether you were on the beach in the summer or in the snow during the winter. But wouldn't it be better to wear flip-flops in the summer heat and boots in the frigid winter.