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Someone said, "Some men take good care of a car; others treat it like family." This is due to the fact that our vehicles are assets that demand quite considerable annual expenses in auto insurance and maintenance, so we cannot afford to be careless. Even having very cheap car insurance with no deposit, the yearly spending on your coverage will be mandatory. The maintenance of our car is then a vital task.


Having traveled 6,000 miles, you've indeed covered many of the more safety-oriented maintenance items and the regular wear inspections. Further, you may have noticed that most of the preventative maintenance thus far has been concentrated on the engine and transmission. But horses don't do much good if the chariot's broken. Or if the chariot's weatherstripping leaks and you wind up ruining your favorite toga. Some of these things, like tire rotation, are household terms. You may be surprised to learn that others are actually part of scheduled maintenance for many automobiles.

Tire Rotation

DIY vs. Pay for It

There's no question that rotating tires will extend the tread's lifespan – estimates range from 25 to 50 percent or longer, depending upon the tires and vehicle. So, assuming that a single set of tires will last 40,000 miles without rotation, then by the time you get to 400,000 miles, you've purchased 10 sets of tires instead of seven or eight.

So you know you should rotate your tires regularly, at least if you want to get your money's worth out of them. The only question is how to go about it. If you're a big, strong beast of a thing that takes every opportunity to work on his/her deltoids and shoulders, then there's no reason not to spend the 30 minutes rotating your own tires. If you don't want to spend that same amount of time picking up and moving 40 or so pounds worth of rubber and metal, then you've got a couple of options.

Options to Rotate your tires

First, you can pay $20 every 6,000 miles to have your tires rotated at a shop. This is, quite frankly, a sucker's bet unless you've got costly tires. If you've got $60 tires and get 60,000 miles out of them when rotating, you'll end up investing between $180 and $200 in a $240 set of tires. That's just not worth it when you're only extending the life by 50 percent, max. So, unless you've got very expensive – $150 and up – tires, that leaves you with one more option.

Lifetime rotations

Many tire places offer rotations any time you want them for the tires' life when you buy a set of four tires. Some retailers charge between $50 and $60 for the package. But no matter how you slice it, lifetime rotations are the best approach if you can't rotate the tires yourself. Just bear in mind that, while it is worth going out of your way to finding a retailer that offers free rotation, it's probably not worth driving 40 miles out of town to find one. If you wind up spending $10 in gas to get your "free" rotation, then it's not very free, is it?


Rotating Your Tires

The hardest part about rotating tires yourself is getting all four wheels off the ground and not destroying your car in the process. Start by loosening the lug nuts a half-turn with the vehicle still on the ground – this will keep the wheel from spinning and spare you potential damage to the transmission's parking pall. Next, lift one end of your car, preferably the rear, and place it on a set of jack stands set just ahead of the rear wheels. Many manufacturers provide some kind of central rear jacking point, but if you can't find one, then the rear axle's underside is a safe bet.


Next, slide your jack under your car's center-front jacking point on the frame. Exercise extreme caution here; you do not want your car's weight resting on the radiator support, the engine/transmission oil pan, or the suspension. You'll want to center the jack on the underside of your front cross-member, which is the part of the frame that runs under your engine and connects the left and right sides of the suspension. Once you have the car up, it's just a matter of removing the lug nuts, moving the tires as indicated by the chart, and putting them back on. Again, snug the lug nuts, but don't attempt to torque them until the wheels make a touchdown.


Bear in mind that if you've got directional tires – tires that only rotate in one direction – you have to keep them on the same side of the car. That means you're doing a simple front-to-rear swap instead of the standard rotation shown below. Four-wheel and all-wheel drive vehicles use the same rotation pattern as rear-wheel-drive cars.


Tire rotation is just one of the maintenance tasks that you need to do every 6000 miles. However, it is indispensable to avoid car accidents. Stay away from tarnishing your driving record to keep getting good plans from reputable insurance companies. It depends only on you.

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