With National Tire Safety week coming to end we finish up with one way to make your tires wear even. We reached out to Don Sneddon of Mickey Thompson Tires to get the low down on rotating and aligning your tires.
For most of us, this will involve a trip to the local mechanic to get done – at least for the alignment. How often do you need to rotate, why do you need to rotate your tires, and what do we need to know about aligning a vehicle are all questions we would get the answers to.
Rotating the tires can be confusing for someone who has never done it before. Which tire goes where can be the worst part. Keep in mind, some vehicle with staggered wheel sizes cannot be rotated front to back and if the tires are directional that changes everything as well.
The weight on the front and rear axles are different in all vehicles and because of this, it causes uneven wear. With most of cars having the engine in front, the front tires have more weight over them than the rear.
For most of us DIYers, a tire rotation is the last thing that we want to do in the driveway after climbing under our vehicle for an oil change, but shouldn’t be thought of that way. Rotating your tires should become second nature when doing your oil change, if not sooner.
“Rotate tires every 5,000 miles to maintain even wear,” Sneddon explained. “The rotation pattern is typically moving the back wheels to the front, but more complex rotation patterns are required if the vehicle has a full-size spare tire that is part of the rotation.”
Making sure your wheels are balanced can help the ride of the vehicle.
In addition to properly rotating your tires keeping your vehicle properly aligned along with checking wheel balance are also important. Aligning a vehicle can be an art, but every alignment looks at the same three areas: camber, caster, and toe.
Camber angle is the angle between the vertical axis of the wheels used for steering and the vertical axis of the vehicle when viewed from the front or rear. Caster is the angle between the pivot line, which is an imaginary line that runs through the center of the upper ball joint and lower ball joint, and vertical. Toe is the angle of how far pointed in or out the tires are from the centerline.
This chart easily shows how camber, caster, and toe can affect a vehicle’s tires.
Every vehicle has a set of factory alignment specs, but in motorsport and off-road applications, angles can be adjusted well beyond what the factory calls for, for a variety of reasons from handling to cornering ability. Whether your vehicle is your daily driver or your track machine, be sure to rotate and align when appropriate.
For more tire care and safety tips, visit Mickey Thompson Tire’s website, and stay tuned for more tire safety tips!