Somewhere in the depths of space, several (watermarked) tires "rotate" on a carousel while large red "NO" icons flash above them.

What happens if you don’t rotate your tires?

Effects of Skipping Tire Rotation

Tire rotation isn’t the most inconvenient or expensive service. It’s often coupled with an oil change, and thus is not a big hassle to get done.

Still, you may find yourself wondering, with the hint of a mischievous smile: what if I… didn’t rotate my tires? What would happen?


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The most likely effect of not having your tires rotated is that they will simply wear down faster to the point that you cannot use them anymore. Thus, you’ll be faced with expensive prospect of buying new tires and changing them more often.

Your front and back tires would also likely become unusable at different rates, meaning the times performing tire changes would be staggered instead of being able to change all four in one fell swoop.

Why are tires rotated?

Tires are rotated because the rubber gets worn down in different areas depending on their position on the vehicle. Rotating the tires helps to even the wear across the rubber. As a result, drivers are able to get the maximum possible lifespan from every set of tires.

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What causes different tire wear?

Various factors, including suspension geometry, alignment quirks, and the route you drive on your daily commute all affect which parts of your tires receive the most stress. Furthermore, every vehicle experiences uneven changes in alignment, camber and such things over time; just as the human body ages, so does a vehicle.

Rotating the tires helps compensate for these unbalanced vehicular elements. It’s much cheaper and easier than totally realigning the ride.

How Weight Distribution Affects Tire Wear

Another factor in which parts of tires receive the most wear is weight distribution. If your car is heavier up front, the front tires will wear faster than the rear, and vice versa. If you habitually carry heavy cargo, for example, the back tires will be bearing more of that load and thus be whiled away faster than the front.

Front tires typically receive more wear because every time you apply the brakes, more weight is shifted up front, adding to the pressure on those poor rollers. Drive wheels also tend to wear faster because they shoulder the important burden of accelerating the car. For an all-wheel drive vehicle, the wear brought about by the acceleration element differs depending on how much power is sent to each axle.

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