Rotating your car’s tires is like going to the dentist. Nobody likes it, but it’s something that should be done. Depending on where and when it happens, getting a flat tire is similar to teeth issues. If a tire goes flat in your driveway, it’s like a small cavity that has to be filled.

It’s annoying but not that big a deal. If a tire blows in rush-hour traffic, you’re talking full-blown root canal, and who wants that? Here are some tips to prevent tire decay.

Most newer model cars are front-wheel drive, and tire rotation becomes important because the front tires wear faster than the rear. The reason for this is simple: When you make any kind of full turn in traffic or follow the curve of the road, more of the vehicle’s weight is placed on the edges of the tires.

This especially affects the front tires because these are ones that are actually turning while the rear tires stay in a straight line. This turning causes the edges of the tires to wear over time. If your tires wear unevenly, you’re suspectible to spotty braking and poor handling-real toothaches, er, headaches.

Another important aspect to tire rotation is the eventual replacement of your tires. If you don’t rotate your tires, you’ll replace them two at a time, and that means always having uneven wear on your wheels. If you replace your tires four at a time-and keep them rotated regularly-you’ll have even wear on all four.

How often should you rotate your tires? Well, that obviously varies based on the amount of miles you drive each day. Unfortunately, for some drivers, you may need to rotate your tires more often than you visit the dentist for a checkup.


A rotation is often recommended at about 7,500 miles. That’s often the time for an oil change, so do some multi-tasking and get both jobs done at once. Check your owner’s manual to see when it recommends tire rotations for your particular model.

How to have your tires rotated has been subject to debate similar to the discourse over the merits of fluoride. Again, check your owner’s manual to see if there’s a specific method recommended for your model of vehicle. If there isn’t, there are two basic ways for front-wheel drive tire rotation, and both are as simple as flossing.

One method is to move the front driver’s side tire to the back driver’s side and the back driver’s side to the front passenger’s side. The front passenger’s side then moves to the back passenger’s side and the back passenger’s side to the front driver’s side. Another method is to swap the front driver’s side and the rear passenger’s side tires with each other, and then swap the front passenger’s side tire with the rear driver’s side. Either method seems to help the tires achieve more even tread wear,and that’s what you’re after.

Keeping your tires rotated on a regular basis can prevent an ill-timed flat tire and that can prevent grinding and gnashing your teeth-which is a whole different dental problem.

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