Used Car Maintenance 101: Tire Rotation & Alignment

Used Car Maintenance 101: Tire Rotation & Alignment

When you spend your hard-earned cash on a vehicle, you want it to last as long as possible. To accomplish this, you’ll have to put some time, effort, and a little expense into vehicle maintenance. The good news is that taking care of your car up front can save you money on expensive repairs and parts replacement down the road.

One area that you want to keep in top shape is your car’s tires. Not only is replacing an entire set of tires expensive but failing to maintain your tires could lead to a dangerous blowout on the road. Here is what you need to know about tire rotation and alignment to keep your used car moving down the road safely.

The Importance of Regular Tire Rotation

Tires have a tendency to wear unevenly, which is the primary reason for moving them from one wheel to another periodically. When you turn a corner, your front tires will wear on the outside edges, making them wear down faster than your rear tires. When you rotate your tires, you ensure that all four of your tires wear evenly over time which will make them last longer.

The Importance of Alignment and Balancing

No one buys a car that they hope will give them a rough ride. Instead, you want a well-running vehicle that delivers a smooth ride down the road. You can achieve this goal through alignment and balancing when you do your vehicle maintenance.

Even brand new tires come with some imperfections that could cause your wheels to wobble at high speeds. When you have unbalanced wheels, your tires will wear out more quickly. And at speeds above 40 mph, you may feel a vibration in your steering wheel if the front tires are out of balance; through the seat if it’s the rear tires. Wheel balancing is done by spinning your car’s wheels on a machine that locates the heavier part of the wheel. A counterweight is then added to “balance” the wheel.

When your car is out of alignment, it might drift away from a straight line due to the misaligned angles of your vehicle’s wheels. An alignment will diagnose the problem and make adjustments to three areas called the camber, caster, and toe. This will make both your tires and your suspension last longer.

How Often Should Tires Be Rotated and Balanced?

No matter the year of your vehicle, it’s important to have it regularly serviced to extend its life. Tires should generally be rotated between 5,000 and 8,000 miles, depending on your tire manufacturer. Tires can be balanced at the same time that you rotate. If you feel that your vehicle isn’t driving smoothly, however, you should get the balance checked out. Most manufacturers recommend that an alignment be done at least every 10,000 miles, or sooner if you feel the car pulling to one side or if you have been in any kind of accident.

Regular vehicle maintenance is just another part of car ownership, but it’s one that can prevent costly issues in the future. Not only are you protecting your investment by taking care of tire rotation and alignment, but having all of your tires heading in the same direction could help your fuel economy as well.

Check out Part 2 of our Used Car Maintenance 101 series: Tire Rotation and Alignment.

11 Replies to “Used Car Maintenance 101: Tire Rotation & Alignment”

  1. Stacy Kelly

    Many people ignore the importance of tire rotation and wheel alignment which is really essential to prolong the lifespan of tires. Tire replacement is really expensive. So, regular maintenance of the tire is really essential like other components of the vehicle. Apart from this, tire pressure and tread depth should be inspected regularly and tires with little or no tread depth should be replaced with suitable substitutes to get better control over the vehicle.

  2. Hazel Owens

    That’s good to know that your car will drift to the side when your car is out of alignment. My car keeps going to the right, so I’m trying to figure out why. I’ll have to find an auto service I can go to to have my tires realigned.

  3. Kathy Scott

    Thanks for pointing out the importance of tire rotation and wheel alignment which are some of the basic aspects of tire maintenance. Tires play a critical role in the performance of the vehicle and any sign which indicates that the wheels are improperly aligned shouldn’t be ignored and wheels should be properly aligned to keep the vehicle in working order. Tires should be rotated after a certain time interval to prevent their uneven wearing.

  4. Bree Ward

    Wow, it’s very informative when you said that tires should be rotated between 5,000 and 8,000 miles depending on its manufacturer because it can avoid the tendency of it wearing unevenly. My brother bought his new car last week, and he is now looking for tips to properly maintain every single part of his car. I’ll advise him to read your article and have some consultations to an auto service expert.

  5. David Johnson

    Thanks for explaining that an alignment will diagnose problems, adjust different parts such as the camber, caster, and toe, and that it will allow your tires and your suspension to last longer. In my opinion, an alignment repair would be better done sooner than later, so that you don’t have to get it fixed after you have spent money on tires that have worn out too soon.

  6. Sam Li

    I like what you said about rotating your tires every 5,000 miles in order to keep them aligned. Proper tire maintenance is critical in order to stay safe on the road at all times. My tires are pretty worn, so I’ll make sure to find an automotive company that can take care of my needs.

  7. Randy Chorvack

    I had no idea that tires wear unevenly when you drive your car. I’m glad that we have something to even out the wheels. I’ll make sure to get mine rotated soon.

  8. Luke Smith

    Thank you for explaining how important it is to maintain your vehicle’s rotation and alignment to prevent expenses in the future. There’s an old car in our backyard, and I want to sell it to earn money for my trip. I’ll consider bringing the car to the repair shop to check its tire alignment, balance, and motor, and might as well buy new parts to upgrade it so I can sell it for a higher price.

  9. Ron Booker

    I like that you said that tires need to be rotated between 5,000 and 8,000 miles. My wife told me that her car steering wheel is crooked and she wants to get it fixed. Someone told me that it had to do with alignment, I’m going to look for a place to have it done.

  10. Scott Warren

    Thanks a lot for sharing some useful points pointing out the importance of car alignment which is mostly ignored by the car drivers. These tips will surely help to make my car suspension to last for longer period.

  11. Derek McDoogle

    I like how you explain that regular vehicle maintenance is just another part of car ownership, but it’s one that can prevent costly issues in the future. My mom told me that today when she was driving to get some groceries her car was vibrating and she says that her car didn’t do that before. I will try to take her car to an auto repair shop as soon as possible before any accidents may occur if she keeps driving her car in that condition.

Comments are closed

Vehicle added!
The vehicle is already in the wishlist!