Tire maintenance is critical to your on-road safety. One maintenance task that should be done regularly is tire rotation. However, this job leaves many people wondering – how much does a tire rotation cost?
In this guide, I cover the price of tire rotation. I also look at the reasons to get the tires rotated and discuss if this is a job you can do yourself. Finally, I examine how a spare tire might affect the way the others are rotated.
How Much Is a Tire Rotation?
The average tire rotation cost should be less than $50. However, the cost will depend on where you are having the service performed and whether or not you are having other jobs done at the same time. In some cases, it’s possible to bundle it with other maintenance, such as an oil change.
Some repair shops also provide free rotation services if you have purchased the tires there. Tire shops also sell packages that cover a lifetime of tire rotation with each set.
However, you can probably perform tire rotation by yourself at home if you are mechanically inclined. All you need is a solid car jack, jack stands, and a lug wrench.
What is Tire Rotation?
During a tire rotation, each is removed and placed at a different location on the vehicle. As you drive, the four tires incur different levels of force. As power is applied, braking occurs and you turn the vehicle, each tire takes on different pressure.
Tire rotations are done so that the tread wears evenly, even though they are in different locations. By helping the tires wear uniformly, the service life is prolonged.
There are different methods to rotating the tires. On vehicles that contain directional tires of the same size, the front tires are moved to the rear while the rear tires move forward. However, rear- or four-wheel drive vehicles require a different pattern. While the rear tires will move forward, the front tires crisscross to the rear. There are also methods to incorporate the spare tire into the rotation.
Signs that Tire Rotation is Needed
1. Uneven Wear
The most obvious sign that tire rotation is needed occurs when the tread wears differently. As pressure is applied differently, wear is going to be affected in a pattern that isn’t uniform.
If you rotate the tires before they become too worn, you can increase the service life. However, if you wait until the wear is too severe, you might need to replace some of the tires instead.
As you drive down a smooth road, you shouldn’t feel an excessive amount of vibration. If you do, the problem could be from uneven tire wear.
In many cases, uneven tire wear becomes most noticeable when traveling at speeds above 40 mph. However, vibration can be caused by other issues. It’s also possible that your vehicle requires a wheel alignment or there are suspension parts failing.
3. Loss of Pressure
If there was recently a puncture to the tire, it could have lost air pressure. Running tires without the right amount of pressure can lead to uneven tire wear as well.
If the wear isn’t too severe, you could rotate the tires to correct it. However, you must first fix the issue that is causing the tires to lose air pressure. Otherwise, you will end up in the same boat.
When Should You Get a Tire Rotation?
There are different guidelines as to when you should have the tires rotated. In general, most manufacturers agree that it should be between 5,000 and 8,000 miles. However, it’s always best to confirm this with the tire manufacturer.
There are some times when tire rotation isn’t possible at all, such as when you run different sizes between the front and back.
READ MORE: How Often Should You Rotate Your Tires?
Is it worth rotating the tires?
If a tire rotation is possible, you don’t want to prolong the vital service. While it should cost less than $50 to rotate the tires, the benefits are priceless. Regular tire rotation extends the service life, ensuring you don’t have to purchase new tires frequently. If you have priced new tires recently, you know that this can become expensive.
Plus, tire rotation doesn’t take long, so you aren’t giving up a lot of time to have the service performed. In some cases, you can bundle the service with other maintenance tasks already being performed to save even more time.
Is Spare Tire Rotation Required?
If your vehicle has a spare tire, you might wonder how this works for rotation. In some cases, it makes sense to include the spare tire during rotation. The only time you want to do this is when the spare is the same size and contains the same capabilities as the other tires.
If your spare tire has a “T” marking on the sidewall, this tire is only designed to be used temporarily. You don’t want to put this tire on your wheels for regular use. These spare tires are smaller than the normal variety and are referred to as a donut. The only time you should use this spare is in an emergency situation when you need to drive to the nearest tire repair shop.
Many people choose to use a smaller spare because it is compact and takes up less space. It is also lighter, which is important if you want the maximum space and capability from your vehicle. However, if your vehicle contains a full-size spare, you could place it in rotation. The tire needs to be capable of carrying the same load and contain the same speed rating. It must also be the same size. By rotating the spare tire, you can keep all five lasting longer, thereby reducing the frequency of purchasing new tires.