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Tires are one of the most important parts of a vehicle, and it’s often one of the most overlooked. Many people don’t even consider the condition of their tires until bad weather hits. By then the tires may be in such poor shape that they need to be replaced.

When this happens, buying cheap tires may seem the way to go, but that can be a mistake. You may have saved some money for the present moment, but it may cost you later on down the road. A simple fix to help you save money and maintain the life of your tires is to get them rotated.

Why you should rotate your tires

Car and Driver explains that the rubber treads on your wheels begin to wear away the more you drive. Less tread means that you have less traction on the road, and less traction means your risk of having a wreck increases drastically.

Rotating your tires decreases the wear on the tread and evens it out. It’s recommended that you get your tires rotated every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, or when you get your oil changed. Getting them rotated often also makes you more aware of whether it’s time to get a new set or not.

DIY tire rotation

If you’re interested in rotating your own tires, there are thousands of YouTube videos and articles that will show you how, but it’s important that tires be rotated properly. Consulting with a mechanic the first few times you do so is highly advised.

Doing it improperly will not only endanger your life but the life of anyone else on the road with you. It will require some time and effort, but if you’re the sort who gets excited by getting your hands a little dirty, here are some tips to help you get started.

Start by gathering your tools. You will need safety glasses, gloves, a car jack, jack stands, lug wrench, and a torque wrench. Depending on whether your car is front-wheel drive, rear-wheel drive, or four-wheel drive determines how exactly the tires will be rotated.

Whether your tires are directional or non-directional also plays a role. Look for arrows or words like ‘This side out,’ to help you determine which side the tire goes on. If you’ve never rotated tires before, it can get confusing, so this will help you make sure you get the correct tire into the correct place.

Patt Goss, a mechanic for MotorWeek gives some great visual hands-on tips for how to properly rotate tires on MotorWeek’s YouTube channel. 

Finding someone reliable to rotate tires

If you decide that the life of a DIYer is not for you, there’s no shame. Some people may not have the time to do it, and if you’ve never done it before, it may be easier and less stressful to let someone else do it, especially if you don’t have the tools. 

Finding a reliable mechanic to rotate the tires, as well as taking care of other repairs may seem like a hassle, but it’s important to get someone you trust. Starting by asking friends and family for recommendations will help save you some time. You can also check reviews online. The internet is a treasure trove for rooting out dishonest business owners, whether you’re looking for a mechanic or a lawyer. 

Consumer Affairs recommends that you start out by asking your potential new mechanic questions. If they aren’t able to give you a simple answer to why repairs are necessary, then it may be time to keep walking.

Checking prices online will tell you if their prices are overinflated. Just keep in mind that the prices may have to do with part brands and not with the mechanic.

A simple question should clear all this up. On that note, automakers design cars now so that only its brand of tools will work properly. Make sure your mechanic has the proper tools to work on your specific car.

Finally, make sure you feel comfortable around them. If you have a bad feeling, give someone else a try. A great mechanic will be able to give you sound advice such as which tires are the best bang for your buck as well as keeping you and your loved ones safe as you travel the highway of life.